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Chapter 4. Type > Filling and Stroking Characters

Filling and Stroking Characters

Most page layout programs—at least on the Macintosh—give you the ability to apply an “outline” type style to text. When you do this, you get a stroke around the text that varies in size depending on the point size of the text. But what if you want to apply a stroke of a particular width to the text? What if you want to apply a fill of a different color?

With InDesign, you can fill or stroke text as you would any other path. Once you’ve selected text (you can use the Selection tool to select unlinked text frames), you can set the fill color, or the stroke color and stroke weight (see Figure 4-28).

Figure 4-28. Character Fill and Stroke

You can also select characters using the Text tool, then apply a fill and/or stroke to the text using the same controls you use to apply a fill or stroke to any path.

Format the text using any of the fill and stroke formatting tools. In this example, we used the Swatches palette to apply a tint to the fill and stroke of the text, and then used the Stroke palette to set the stroke weight.

Note that the fill retains the shape of the character as you increase stroke weight. This works because InDesign strokes the characters and then fills them.


You can even apply gradients to the fill and stroke of the type—without converting the type to outlines. However, while gradients are easy to apply, it’s not always easy to get the effect you’re looking for. The reason is that gradients are based on the bounding box of the text frame (the bounding box is the smallest imaginary rectangle inside which the frame will fit). While we think that the gradient-in-text feature is kind of fun, in the real world we usually convert the text to outlines first (see “Converting Text to Outlines” in Chapter 6, “Where Text Meets Graphics”).

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