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- Understanding the three type objects in Illustrator
- Importing text from Microsoft Word
- Using the Glyphs panel
- Converting text into editable vector paths
- Kerning and scaling characters
- Setting indents and spacing
- Threading text across multiple objects
- Sharing styles across multiple documents
- Understanding style overrides
- Changing text with Find and Replace
- Wrapping text
- Setting type along a path
- Updating legacy text
Skill Level Intermediate
So what happens if you actually get a file from somebody else and they created that file in a legacy version of Illustrator, a version of Illustrator that used the old text engine, and now you want to open up that file to work on it in your version of Illustrator? Let's go through the steps and see what our options are. I am going to choose File > Open here. I just pressed Command+O on my keyboard, Ctrl+O on Windows. And in Chapter 09 of the exercise files, I am going to open up this file called legacy_text.ai. It's actually a file that was created inside of Illustrator 9. Again, that version of Illustrator used the old text engine.
When I choose Open, I am going to get a dialog box that says, "This file contains text that was created in a previous version of Illustrator. This legacy text must be updated before you can edit it." And that's important to realize. Let's focus on those last words, "before you can edit it." Meaning I have the ability to open the file and not convert the text, and this way nothing happens to that text. It doesn't reflow. It doesn't change. It doesn't get converted to the new text engine. In other words, the new versions of Illustrator have the ability to open up older versions of Illustrator files, but they just can't edit the text inside of them, but they can print the text inside of them.
So that's why we have these options here at the bottom of the dialog box. I have this button here called Cancel. That just means, you know what, forget it, don't open the file at all. Then I have this button called OK. OK will allow me to open up the file, but none of the text will be converted; it will just be in the old state, meaning that I'll be able to print my document without having any of the text update or reflow. So if I am just working on an old file, I need to print it out, I don't have to really worry about anything; I could just simply open the file inside of Illustrator, I see that I get this warning, but I will just click OK, and then I can choose to print my document.
Another option that I have is this button here called Update. If I click on the Update but now, all the text inside of this document will get updated to Illustrator's newer and more modern text engine. However, in that process, some of the text might reflow, meaning some of the line endings would be different. Or maybe some of the actual kerning or adjustments to the text will shift. Now, if I know I am just going to open this file, because I am going to end up re-adjusting anything anyway, that's probably the best way to go. However, I really have no way to know exactly what shifted or how much things have changed.
And if I do care about that, I probably don't want to use the Update button. So again, if I am going to be changing my text anyway, go ahead and click the Update button now. Illustrator will convert all the old text to the new text engine and you're good to go. But if you know that you want to see exactly what the old text looked like and then compare it to the newer version of the text engine, well, you'll want to go ahead now and click on the OK button, because this will open up the file. I can actually see all of my text. I can print it. But you'll also see that if you try to select that, it actually is not text; it's these big boxes, which are referred to as legacy text elements.
In fact, if you look at your Appearance panel, I can see that right now what I have selected, or what I have targeted, is something called Legacy Text. Now, inside of the Legacy Text are text elements, but they are not text elements that are compatible with this version of Illustrator. So again, at this point now, my document looks the same way that it was when this file was opened up inside of Illustrator 9, so I can print it and I'll have no issues whatsoever. But let's say the reason why I'm opening this file is because I need to change some of the text. Well, here are a few things that I can do.
I can go to the Type menu, scroll down to where it says Legacy Text, and choose Update All Legacy Text. In doing so, all of my text will now get updated to the new text engine inside of Illustrator. However, if I have a lot of text, or I don't know exactly what that new text is going to look like when it reflows, I am still going to be unable to compare the older and the newer versions of my text. If I know that I just want to make a change to some of this text, I might choose to just select one area, go back to the Type menu and choose Legacy Text > Update Selected Legacy Text. And this way I am just selecting just this one portion without affecting the other Legacy Text elements that may exist inside of this document.
However, if this is some kind of a logo or a tagline and I really need it to look exactly the same way that it did back in Illustrator 9, and I also need to make some edits to that text, here is one final thing that I can do. I could switch to my Type tool inside of Illustrator and click on one of these elements, even though they are Legacy Text elements, with my Type tool. In doing so Illustrator goes, whoa, editing the text may cause layout changes because that text is not compatible with my new text engine, and when I convert it to the new text engine, that text may actually reflow, or some of the kerning may adjust and change.
So once again, I have several options here in front of me. If I click Cancel, that means oops, didn't mean to do that. Just go ahead and cancel the dialog box and wake up in the morning and make believe this never happened. Or I can click on the Update button to update that text now to the new text engine, and if it reflows, it reflows, and if it changes, it changes. I'll just have to find a way to deal with it. But I also have another option here called Copy Text Object, and I'm going to go ahead now and click on that. What Illustrator just did is it converted that text from the legacy version to the new text engine inside of Illustrator.
So now you can see I can press Command+A, for example, or Ctrl+A, and I can select that text and I can move around and edit that text as well. However, if I switch to my Direct Selection tool and I actually move that text away somewhere else, I'll see that behind it is a grayed-out version of what the old text looked like. If I go to my Layers panel, I'll actually see that inside of layer 1, I have a group, and inside of that group, I have these elements here called Legacy Text Elements, but I also have this object here called Legacy Type that now is locked and also has an Opacity value applied to it.
In this way, when I convert my text, I can compare the old version and the new version. And if I have to make adjustments, I can do so manually to make sure that it matches up to look just the way that it did before. Once I am done matching it up and it looks great, I'll simply come up to the Type menu, choose Legacy Text, and then I'll choose Delete Copies, and that will go ahead and remove all of those from my document. So it probably won't happen often, but when it does, when working with Legacy Text documents, you have several options available to you.
Hopefully now, not only do you know what Legacy Text is, but you know how to deal with it when you have to work on those kinds of documents.
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