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Creating text outlines

From: InDesign CS6 Essential Training

Video: Creating text outlines

In an earlier chapter I've mentioned that I can't draw that well, fortunately we all have a huge library of cool shapes that somebody else drew for us, they are called Fonts. InDesign lets you convert any text from any font into editable paths. In fact, there are two ways to convert text to outlines, converting a whole frame or converting just some selected text. I am going to zoom in on this word ART here and we are going to see what happens when we convert it to text. First, I will double-click on this with a Selection tool to switch to the Type tool so I can select just the letter R.

Creating text outlines

In an earlier chapter I've mentioned that I can't draw that well, fortunately we all have a huge library of cool shapes that somebody else drew for us, they are called Fonts. InDesign lets you convert any text from any font into editable paths. In fact, there are two ways to convert text to outlines, converting a whole frame or converting just some selected text. I am going to zoom in on this word ART here and we are going to see what happens when we convert it to text. First, I will double-click on this with a Selection tool to switch to the Type tool so I can select just the letter R.

Then I'll go to the Type menu and choose Create Outlines. When you do that, you see that the text changes a little bit, the space between the R and that T got larger. That's because back when this R was actual text, it could kern properly with the T, it would adjust the space between the R and the T that was built into the font itself. Now that this R has been converted to outlines, it doesn't know anything about kerning; it can't kern in fact, so the spacing changes. We can see that this is actually an outline by selecting the Direct Selection tool and then clicking on the R.

See all the Bezier points on there, now it's actually relatively rare that you'd want to convert a single letter or a single word into outlines within a text frame but there are times when you want to do it. For example, let's say I want to apply a particular Transparency effect just to that letter. I'll go up to the Effects menu and I'll choose Bevel and Emboss and you can see that now I've applied a Bevel and Emboss just to that one character. The outline text acts like its own object inside this text frame, so you can apply an effect to it without changing the rest of the text in the frame.

Let's see the other way of converting text outlines. I am going to undo this just by pressing Command+Z or Ctrl+Z a few times to go back to the way it was and now I'm going to select the entire frame with a Selection tool. Because I have the whole frame selected when I go to the Type menu and choose Create Outlines, all of the text in that frame is converted to outlines. I will switch to the Direct Selection tool and you can see all three characters are converted to outlines and the spacing didn't change, it stays exactly the same as it was.

People have different reasons for converting text to outlines. For example, sometimes you want to change the shape of text. I am going to deselect this by pressing Command+Shift+A or Ctrl+Shift+A on Windows, and then I am going to use the Direct Selection tool to drag some of these points around. You can see that you can change it to any shape you want. I can also use my Pen tool to add points, remove points and edit this and all kinds of ways. But one of the best reasons to convert text to outlines is to put something inside those outlines.

For example, I will go back and choose this with the Selection tool, go to the File menu and choose Place and I am going to place a picture inside of here. I'll grab one of these pictures and click Open and you can see it immediately fills this with the image. It gives these letters a really interesting texture. I do not recommend people converting a lot of their text to outlines. For example, if your printer tells you that you should convert everything in your document to outlines, I suggest really grilling them on why. It's a very bad practice and almost always unnecessary.

Plus you may lose some really important stuff when converting text outlines. For example, let me pan over here so we can see the text in this frame. If I select this entire frame, go to the Type menu and choose Create Outlines, the text does change, but look what happened. Now all that text changed to outlines, but I lost a lot in the process. The background fill of course disappeared, but even worse the line that was above this URL disappeared as well. That line was created with the Rule Above feature which is a future I will talk about in a later chapter, but because it was part of the text and because those Rule Aboves disappear when you convert to outlines, I've completely messed up my design.

You really have to be careful when creating outlines, but for the occasional letter or word that may be some text that you want to apply some kind of special effect to, Create Outlines is great for that kind of thing.

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This video is part of

Image for InDesign CS6 Essential Training
InDesign CS6 Essential Training

113 video lessons · 84548 viewers

David Blatner
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 23s
    1. What is InDesign?
      1m 23s
  2. 2m 38s
    1. Welcome
      1m 0s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 38s
  3. 21m 19s
    1. Getting started
      3m 33s
    2. Adding or editing text
      3m 23s
    3. Adding or replacing graphics
      4m 31s
    4. Moving objects around
      4m 55s
    5. Printing and creating a PDF
      4m 57s
  4. 26m 6s
    1. Exploring the application window
      6m 25s
    2. Navigating and magnifying pages and objects
      6m 24s
    3. Setting rulers and measurements
      2m 35s
    4. Working with panels
      3m 58s
    5. Setting the view quality of artwork
      2m 31s
    6. Adjusting view and preview settings
      4m 13s
  5. 27m 52s
    1. Creating new documents
      7m 39s
    2. Saving and reverting documents
      4m 2s
    3. Saving for CS4 and CS5 with IDML
      2m 24s
    4. Setting the margin and column guides
      4m 29s
    5. Putting ruler guides on the page
      5m 7s
    6. Bleeding colors or images off the side of the page
      4m 11s
  6. 23m 37s
    1. Inserting, deleting, and moving pages
      4m 32s
    2. Changing page size
      4m 38s
    3. Creating and applying master pages
      5m 18s
    4. Overriding master page items
      2m 43s
    5. Adding page numbering
      2m 22s
    6. Changing page numbering with sections
      4m 4s
  7. 52m 47s
    1. Understanding text frames
      3m 38s
    2. Typing and editing text
      4m 48s
    3. Inserting special characters
      4m 1s
    4. Importing text
      3m 47s
    5. Threading text frames
      3m 12s
    6. Setting text frame columns
      4m 31s
    7. Setting text inset and vertical justification options
      3m 48s
    8. Allowing text frames to grow and shrink
      4m 5s
    9. Putting text on a path
      5m 50s
    10. Using the Story Editor
      5m 10s
    11. Checking spelling
      5m 12s
    12. Using Find/Change
      4m 45s
  8. 28m 19s
    1. Importing graphics
      8m 20s
    2. Using the Links panel
      7m 17s
    3. Editing graphics in their original app
      3m 10s
    4. Fitting graphics to the frame
      5m 1s
    5. Taking advantage of image transparency and clipping paths
      4m 31s
  9. 35m 49s
    1. Selecting objects
      5m 2s
    2. Applying basic strokes and fills
      5m 6s
    3. Colorizing images
      1m 59s
    4. Adjusting transparency
      4m 4s
    5. Adding drop shadows
      3m 33s
    6. Using other transparency effects
      5m 15s
    7. Copying and formatting with the Eyedropper tool
      5m 59s
    8. Finding and changing object formatting
      4m 51s
  10. 18m 34s
    1. Creating color swatches
      4m 33s
    2. Understanding the danger and power of unnamed colors
      5m 46s
    3. Creating gradient swatches
      3m 53s
    4. Applying gradients
      4m 22s
  11. 15m 27s
    1. Editing frame and path shapes
      5m 8s
    2. Adding rounded corners and other corner options
      4m 8s
    3. Making polygons and starbursts
      1m 59s
    4. Creating text outlines
      4m 12s
  12. 37m 56s
    1. Positioning objects with the Gap tool
      3m 54s
    2. Stacking objects
      2m 5s
    3. Creating and controlling layers
      5m 27s
    4. Managing objects in the Layers panel
      3m 33s
    5. Grouping and locking objects
      3m 10s
    6. Nesting objects
      3m 23s
    7. Aligning and distributing objects
      4m 20s
    8. Understanding text wrap
      5m 51s
    9. Using anchored objects
      6m 13s
  13. 26m 16s
    1. Duplicating objects
      5m 37s
    2. Collecting, conveying, and placing content
      8m 58s
    3. Rotating objects
      2m 22s
    4. Scaling objects
      4m 21s
    5. Skewing objects
      1m 8s
    6. Mirroring objects
      3m 50s
  14. 24m 19s
    1. Applying basic character styling
      7m 31s
    2. Applying advanced character formatting
      4m 28s
    3. Changing case
      3m 23s
    4. Using Find/Change for text formatting
      5m 3s
    5. Using Find Font
      3m 54s
  15. 32m 51s
    1. Applying formatting to a paragraph
      4m 4s
    2. Spanning a paragraph across multiple columns
      2m 10s
    3. Splitting a paragraph into multiple columns
      1m 52s
    4. Using drop caps
      3m 26s
    5. Setting tabs
      7m 36s
    6. Adding rules (lines) above or below a paragraph
      3m 23s
    7. Adding automatic bullets
      4m 10s
    8. Numbering paragraphs
      6m 10s
  16. 19m 47s
    1. Creating and applying paragraph styles
      6m 10s
    2. Using character styles
      4m 45s
    3. Editing and redefining styles
      2m 20s
    4. Using object styles
      2m 47s
    5. Applying styles with Quick Apply
      3m 45s
  17. 39m 59s
    1. Creating a table
      4m 29s
    2. Adjusting rows and columns
      4m 36s
    3. Adding and deleting rows and columns
      3m 0s
    4. Formatting a table
      4m 32s
    5. Formatting cells
      6m 2s
    6. Applying table styles
      5m 33s
    7. Placing graphics in cells
      3m 1s
    8. Importing Microsoft Word and Excel tables
      8m 46s
  18. 16m 45s
    1. Building a multi-document book
      7m 27s
    2. Creating "continued on..." jump lines
      3m 51s
    3. Constructing a table of contents (TOC)
      5m 27s
  19. 23m 8s
    1. Exporting EPUBs
      6m 12s
    2. Creating an interactive PDF
      12m 49s
    3. Building a Flash SWF
      4m 7s
  20. 28m 1s
    1. Checking a document with the Preflight panel
      5m 26s
    2. Packaging for output
      3m 34s
    3. Using the Print dialog box
      4m 52s
    4. Printing a small booklet
      2m 46s
    5. Exporting a PDF
      7m 56s
    6. Exporting text
      3m 27s
  21. 1m 25s
    1. Next steps
      1m 25s

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