Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Put text on a path, part of InDesign CC 2018 Essential Training.
- [Instructor] People ask me this question all the time. How do I get text on a path instead of inside it? For example, inside this magazine document from the exercise files I'm going to jump to the last spread by clicking on this little last spread button in the lower left corner of the document window. Now, see this graphic over here, the circle. I'll select that and zoom in to 200% by pressing cmd + 2 on the Mac or ctrl + 2 on Windows. And I want to put text on the outside of that circle. Of course, I already have an image in the frame but I also want to add the text on the outside.
Can I do that? Absolutely! The same frame can have content in it and text on the outside. Now, at first you'd think that I'd want to use the normal Type Tool to put text on a path. But I'll just tell you now, it won't work. The regular Type Tool can only be used to put text into a frame. Instead, you have to use the Type on a Path Tool, at least at first. But where the heck is that? Well, the Type on a Path Tool is hiding. And it's hiding underneath the Type Tool.
What you do is come over to the Type Tool, click and hold for a moment, and then it's hiding inside this pop up menu. There it is, the Type on a Path Tool. I choose that tool and now I'm going to move my cursor over the edge of the frame and you'll see the cursor changes just a little bit. It gets a plus symbol. That means I'm going to be able to add type on a path to this frame. I'll click and it places the text on the path. Can you see that flashing cursor? Now I can just start typing.
I'm just typing some gibberish here. And as you can see the text is going along the outside of this path. Let me go ahead and delete that. I'll press cmd + A or ctrl + A on Windows and then delete that by hitting the Delete key. Now the text that I want to put on the path is actually down below a little bit. I'm going to opt + spacebar drag or alt + spacebar drag on Windows and I'm going to grab this text here. I'll just select it. Notice that I still have the Type on a Path Tool but I'm able to select text inside this frame. Now, I'm going to copy it to the clipboard by pressing cmd + C or ctrl + C on Windows and now I'll scroll back up to put the text on the outside of this frame.
Now at this point, because I've already put text on the path once, I don't technically have to use the Type on the Path Tool anymore. If I wanted to, I could just use the regular Type Tool. You can use either one. For example, I'll grab the Type Tool, come back over here, and you'll see that I can now use that tool to click on the side of the frame. You only need the Type on a Path Tool to put the text on the path the first time. Now I'm back to editing type on the path and you can see that I can paste this text by pressing cmd + V or ctrl + V on Windows.
The type goes onto the path but it wasn't where the cursor was flashing. Why is that? Well, let me show you something. I'm going to switch back to my Selection Tool, the black arrow tool, and when I do that you'll see these two lines show up here where I originally clicked. See, you need to think about text on a path like this: It's kind of like having a text frame wrapped around the edge of the path. Those two lines are the left and right edges of that frame. And the cool part is, I can move those edges simply by dragging them.
For example, I'm going to come over here and place my cursor one of them until I see the cursor change to get a little black arrow next to it. When I see that black arrow, I know I can click and drag. Now, when I do that, I'm actually changing the position of the right edge of the frame that's wrapped around that path. And that means this text cannot go any further than this point. I can do the same thing with this line over here. I move my cursor until I see that little black arrow, and then drag.
That's moving the left edge of the frame. But why is the text over here on this side? Well that's because this text is centered, just like it was centered in this big frame down here, it's centered between these two lines. I'll be talking about centering and other horizontal alignment features in a later chapter. So, you can see I have a lot of control about where the text is going to start and end on that path. Also, see these little white boxes along those edges? Those white boxes are the import and the outport of this frame, so that means I could actually thread from a text frame to text on a path, or from text on a path to a frame, or even one text on a path to another text on a path.
They're just like text frames. Now, there are a few other things we could do here with text on a path. To show you, I'm going to go to the Type menu, scroll down to Type on a Path, and then choose Options. This dialogue box lets me format that text on a path in all kinds of really cool ways. For example, right now the effect pop up menu is set to rainbow. That means it's going to follow the path as it curves around. Here, let me move this dialogue box out of the way. Now if I change this effect to something like Skew, well now I have a very different effect.
In this effect, the text is skewed along the angle of the path. It's pretty cool looking, almost 3D, I like that. But let's go ahead and look at some of the other ones. 3D Ribbon gives me a very different effect. I'm not sure, it's kind of wacky. With this one, Stair Step, each character is not skewed but it's simply rotated so that it's always upright. And the last one is Gravity. Gravity always rotates and skews around the center point of an object.
And when you place text on a circle gravity and rainbow look exactly the same. But if you put the text on a square, or a triangle, or any other shape gravity has a very different effect. Let's go ahead and set this back to rainbow. Now we can also set what part of the text aligns along the path. We do that down here from the Align menu. Right now it's set to Baseline. So the baseline of the text is going to run along the path. If I choose Center I get a very different look. I don't like that, so I'll set this back to Baseline.
Let's go ahead and click OK. Now, of course, the last thing you need to know is if you don't like the look anymore and you want to remove the text from the path, how do you do that? Well, it's easy, just go back to the Type menu, choose Type on a Path, and then choose Delete Type from Path. Poof, it's gone. Now this is just a regular object again. Setting text along a path is a wonderful way to create all kinds of special effects on your page, and as you can see, it's easy to do.
- Creating a new layout
- Inserting pages
- Adding text
- Inserting graphics
- Applying color and transparency
- Drawing and editing frames and paths
- Formatting objects
- Formatting text
- Creating styles for uniform formatting
- Building tables
- Adding links and interactivity
- Printing and exporting InDesign documents