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Chapter 12. Create Type > Creating outlines

Creating outlines

The Create Outlines command converts each character in a type object into a separate graphic object. As outlines, the paths can then be reshaped, used in a compound or as a mask, or filled with a gradient or gradient mesh, like any non-type object. Beware! Once type is converted into outlines, unless you Undo immediately, you won't be able to change the font or other typographic attributes or convert the outlines back into type.

To create type outlines:

Create type using any type tool. All the characters in the type object or on the path are going to be converted.

Choose the Selection tool (V).

If the type isn't already selected, click a character or the baseline.

Choose Type > Create Outlines (Cmd-Shift-O/Ctrl-Shift-O) .

Figure 1. The original type

Figure 2. The type converted into outlines

Figure 3. The outlines are reshaped and filled with a gradient. The arrows point to sections that were reshaped.


Control-click/Right-click and choose Create Outlines from the context menu.

The characters' original fill and stroke attributes will be preserved, but the path object, if any, will be deleted.

  • Make sure the Type 1 font (screen font and printer outlines) or the TrueType font for the typeface you are using is installed in your system or in the Adobe Font folder (see page 208). Otherwise, Illustrator will use a substitute font to recreate the missing font and font outlines.

  • If the original character had an interior counter—as in an “A” or a “P”—the outside and inside shapes will form a compound path as a result of a conversion to outlines. To release the compound into separate objects, choose Object > Compound Path > Release, then Object > Ungroup; to reassemble the parts, select them both, then choose Object > Compound Path > Make.



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