Join Mordy Golding for an in-depth discussion in this video The three type objects in Illustrator, part of Illustrator Insider Training: Type and Text.
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If you are familiar with Illustrator, you know that it's sometimes referred to as an object-based application. We look at things, for example, like shapes, like rectangles, and ovals, ellipses. We know that these elements, which are made up of paths are defined by something called anchor points, and we have different kinds of anchor points inside of Illustrator. We have things like corner anchor points and smooth anchor points, for example. Well, a text object inside of Illustrator is another kind of object that you can put onto your artboard, and just like there are different kinds of anchor points, there are different kinds of text objects that you can create.
Now, each of these kinds of text objects have different pros and cons, or I can say maybe different jobs that they have to do inside of your application. I am going to start by creating a new document here. I'll go to the File menu and I'll choose New. Let's just choose a basic Print profile here just to get started, and click OK. It really doesn't make a difference here. I just want to have some kind of document open where I can show you these three kinds of type objects that can exist here inside of Illustrator. I am going to start by going to my toolbar over here and I am going to click on this little T icon, which is my Type tool, and you'll see that I have several different tools here that I can work with.
But upon closer inspection you really see that there are three, not six here. There is the Type tool, there is the Area Type tool, and then there is Type on a Path tool. These three tools are the main tools that we might be using when we are working inside of Illustrator. In fact, we'll soon see that we all really need to use one of these, but these are the three kinds of type objects that Illustrator can create: something here called Type, something called Area Type, and something called Type on a Path. But then if you look over here at these three, these are referred to as Vertical Type, Vertical Area Type, and Vertical Type on a Path.
So these are just variations of the three tools that exist over here, and they're mainly used for applications where I need to have text that's set vertically. If you are somebody from Japan, for example, or Korea, where text is often written vertical, this would make a lot of sense. Or if you have special type applications like if you want to have some kind of text that reads up and down instead of left to right or right to left, then you might use these different options over here. But for the most part they do the exact same things that these three tools do. So I am going to start here with just a Type tool itself.
Now, let's contrast Illustrator here to another program which excels working with text, which is InDesign. Now, as we discussed in the previous movie, Adobe InDesign was built from the ground up to work with text. It can work with a lot of text, and it handles it like nothing. There is nothing out there that can come close to handling text like InDesign does. Now, one of the reasons why InDesign works that way is because InDesign is set to have something which we call structure. Anytime we set some kind of text inside of InDesign, if you're familiar with InDesign, you know that the text needs to sit inside of a frame.
In fact, in general, I like to refer to InDesign as a structured design application. You can do incredible things with it, but there are also certain rules that you always need to follow. For example, every page needs to have frames on it, and then inside of those frames, you can put things like text and images. However, if you're used to using Illustrator, you know that you can drop things directly on the artboard. You don't need to create a frame to place an image inside of your document. You don't need to have a frame in order to put any kind of text inside of your document. And I refer to Illustrator as an unstructured design environment.
Whatever your mind dreams up, you can just throw stuff on the page, just like you did in kindergarten, just dip your finger in the paint and just get busy. Illustrator is kind of meant as some kind of welcoming approach to working with anything that would be creative. So I don't want to have to follow any rules like, oh, first create a text box and then put text inside of it. In Illustrator, we have this rule where we're in this unstructured environment. If I want to create text, I can take my Type tool over here and then just click once on the artboard, and now you can see I have a blinking cursor, and I can start typing some text over here, so let me go ahead and put in the word. Let's say, Hello.
I know, we're being really creative here. So now I have the word Hello. It's really, really small. Let me show you the first most important keyboard shortcut about working with text inside of Illustrator, and that is Command+A or Ctrl+A. That lets me select all of my text. Now, here is the important thing to note: when I am working inside of Illustrator, I right now had a blinking cursor inside of this text object, so if I press Command+A or Ctrl+A to select all, then it's going to select all the text within that one object. It's not going to select everything on my artboard.
Now, I am also going to use another keyboard shortcut here. I am going to hold down Command+Shift, and if you are on Windows that would be Ctrl+Shift, and then while those two keys are held down on my keyboard, I am also going to press the greater than sign. It's also the period on the keyboard, but I like to refer to them as the greater than sign because in a minute you'll understand why. It makes my text larger two points at a time. So I am just going to keep tapping that greater than sign, and you'll see that the word Hello is getting bigger. Excellent! Just so you know, if you want to make the text smaller, again, I am putting my thumb on the Command key and my middle finger on the Shift key--that's on my left-hand here on the lower left-hand part of my keyboard--and that's on a Mac; if you are on Windows, again, you'd be using your thumb on the Ctrl key and your middle finger on the Shift key. And then I am using my right index finger to just tap the greater than sign or the less than sign to increase or reduce the size of my type.
I am going to go ahead now and release my fingers from the keyboard here, and I have this text that's now sitting on my artboard. It's not inside of any kind of frame. In fact, if I switch now to my Regular Selection tool, you'll see that I have an anchor point that exists right over here. In fact, if I mouse over it, the word anchor kind of highlights there on my screen. That's because my Smart Guides are turned on. So right now I am seeing that I have one anchor point, and then I have this line, where all these letters appear inside of it. So now I have this word Hello or this type object that now exists inside of this document.
Because it's defined by this one anchor point that exists right over here, we refer to this kind of text as something called point text or a point text object. This is the easiest way to add text to any document inside of Illustrator and again, it has no structure. The thing that really defines working with point text inside of Illustrator is that if I go ahead now and I switch back to my Type tool and I click, let's say, anywhere inside of that text object, so now I am in the text object and I have a blinking insertion cursor here, I can use my White Arrow to kind of move over to the right end over here of this word Hello, hit a spacebar, and start typing. Let's say, how are you today? And you can see that as I am typing Illustrator is kind of scrolling along.
There is no way that this is going to wrap now on to a second line. This text will just keep going on and on and on until I have no more room left in my overall canvas inside of Illustrator. So point text or point type here is always defined by this one point here. In fact, it's easier to see it if I switch to my White Arrow. Now you don't see the bounding area. We'll talk a little bit more about that a little bit later, but for now you can just see that I have one anchor point here inside of Illustrator and then all my text is now aligned to this one anchor point. So this is what we refer to as point text or point type inside of Illustrator.
Hit Delete here for a second. Now I am going to create a different type of text object or type object inside of Illustrator. I am going to use the same tool though. I am going to click over here where it says Type tool, and instead of just clicking and then releasing the mouse, I am going to click and drag, and what I am doing is I am drawing a rectangle, or more specifically, a frame. Now I have another insertion point here, and if I type in the word hello, and then let's say comma "how are you," notice how the word how just jumped now to the second line automatically.
It didn't just become one line that just went on and on forever. That's because I defined the bounds for this type object by drawing that rectangle or that frame, and now any text that I create is going to be confined within that area. Text can only be within that frame and not anything that's outside of it. We refer to this kind of object as an area type object. And in fact, if I go here to my toolbar over here, and I see that I have the Area Type tool, I could choose that tool specifically to create those types of objects. But I'll tell you that, again, I don't necessarily need to use that tool, because when you are working with the regular Type tool, if I just clicked and let go of the mouse, that creates a point type object.
I'm going to press Undo here for a second. If I click and drag with a mouse, that creates an area type object. I am going to press Undo once again. So I am using the same tool to create two kinds of objects inside of Illustrator: a point type object and an area type object. Now, there is one other kind of type object that exists inside of Illustrator and that's called type on a path, and that's where you have type that follows along a path itself. Now, in order to use this tool, you first need to have a path that exists inside of Illustrator, and then you can specify that text files along that path.
So I am just going to hit Delete on my keyboard to get rid of that shape that I had. I am going to start here by just drawing a straight line. Let's say on an angle, just like that, using the Line tool, and I'll press D on my keyboard for Default, which sets it to a black 1-point stroke. Next, I am going to switch back to my Type tool here. And again, I am not going to change my physical tool to use the Type on a Path tool. I am just going to leave it set right now to my Type tool. And now when I move my cursor here over this path, you can see how the cursor changes now. It has a little bit of a line that runs through it.
That means that Illustrator is automatically sensing that I am now over a path, and if I go ahead now and I click, Illustrator will turn this into a type on a path object. So I am just going to put my cursor right about over here and click once, and now you can see a blinking cursor on that path. And if I type in the word hello now, you can see how the word is following that path. Of course, if this was a curved path, that text would follow that curve as well. Now, this is not the same as working with point type because remember, when I was working with point type, as I kept typingm the type just went on and on forever. But notice over here if I type in, let's say, "hello, how are you," as soon as I type in the word how are, it disappears from my screen.
There's a little red box over here with a plus sign, which we'll talk about much later on inside of this title. But you have to understand that a Type on a Path object is limited to only showing the type on the actual path itself. Likewise, this path here is a real path, which I can actually apply stroke attributes to, which I can't do with a point type object. So we now know that there are three kinds of type objects that we can create inside of Illustrator. We have a Point Type object, we have an Area Type object, and we have a Type on a Path kind of object.
As we go through the remainder of this course, just keep in mind that these three kinds of objects exist, and we'll also see that certain features are only available for certain kinds of type objects. For example, creating text that runs in columns is something that's only available with area type. For now, however, just know that these three kinds of type objects exist inside of Illustrator, and we'll be referring to them constantly throughout the training.
- 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