• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL

Lesson 6. Adding Special Effects > Adding Text to a Path

Adding Text to a Path

FreeHand has tremendous text handling abilities. In Lesson 7, “Page Layout and Printing,” you will explore some of the ways you can flow text on a page. Sometimes though, you may want to manipulate your text to add some pizzazz to your document or drawing. One popular feature in FreeHand lets you make text flow along a path. This means that instead of sitting on a straight baseline, text can follow a curve or circle—and you can even still edit or format the text. In the next task, you will add text to a circle and to a curved path.

Create a new document. Save the file as action.fh11 in your Projects folder. Type the text capturing the action one frame at a time. Format the text as Arial Black, 18 points.

The text will be attached to a circle you draw in the next step.

Draw a circle on the page. Make the circle about 325 points in diameter.

Select both the text and the circle. Choose Text > Attach to Path.

The text flows around the top of the circle.


The initial alignment of text on a path is center alignment.

Note that when you deselect the circle, the path disappears. This is the default behavior, but you can change that option if you need to. You’ll do that in the next step.

In the document window, select the text on the path. On the Object panel, select the Text on a path property and then select Show path.

When you select the text, you see the outline of the circle. When you select Show Path, the path of the circle is displayed.

The placement of the text on the path is controlled by the text alignment and begins at the first point of the path. If your text is left aligned, then the text on the path begins at the left point of the circle. If your text is center aligned, then the text is centered between the left and right points of the path. If your text is right aligned, then the text on the path is right aligned to the right point.


All paths have a beginning point and ending point. If a path is closed, the first point and the last point are the same point. If you ungroup your circle, you’ll see the four points (top, bottom, left, and right) that define the shape of the circle. The point on the left is the first point.

On the Object panel, select the Text property and then click the Center alignment button if you changed the alignment from its default setting.

The text on the path is centered on the circle. There are other options you can change for the text on the path, but first you will change the placement of the text. Notice that the text flows in one continuous path. You can split the text so that part flows along the top of the circle, and the remaining text flows along the bottom of the circle. You’ll do that in the next step.

With the Text tool, click before the word one in your text. Press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac OS).

Adding a Return character forces the second paragraph of text to flow around the bottom of the circle.


For proper alignment for centered text, you would also need to delete the space character after the word action. This is not needed for this task.

Import the camera.fh11 file you created in Lesson 1 and place it in the middle of the circle.

If you no longer have the file, you can use the camera.fh11 file located in the Start folder within the Lesson06 folder. Resize the camera if needed to fit within the circle.

Select the path of the circle. Then, on the Object panel, select the Text on a path property. Drag the small triangle handle that appears on the path.

As you drag the triangle either left or right, the text moves around the circle. The text dims (changes to gray rectangles) as you move the mouse. If you want to see the characters of the text as you move them, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) as you rotate the text. The location of the triangle handle depends on the alignment of the text.

The amount you rotate the text is displayed in the Alignment text boxes on the Object panel. (Select the Text on a path property to view this setting.) You could also type values in the text boxes if you need to align the text precisely.

Drag one of the corner handles of the selected circle and reshape the circle to an ellipse.

You can still reshape the path even though you have already attached text. The text reflows along the new shape.


You may need to move the ellipse to keep the camera within it.

On the Object panel, select the Text on a path property and then select Vertical from the Orientation pop-up menu.

In addition to showing the path as you did in step 4, you can change the orientation of the text on the circle. To see these settings, you need to select the Text on a path property on the Object panel. You may want to experiment with the other settings for the orientation as well.

FreeHand provides four choices for changing the orientation:

  • Rotate Around Path (the default)

  • Vertical

  • Skew Horizontal

  • Skew Vertical

You can also change the way the baseline of the text attaches to the path. Again, these settings are on the Object panel when you select the Text on a path property. Your options are Baseline, Ascent, and Descent. You can also choose None, but that makes your text disappear. There are separate controls for text that is split on the top and bottom of a path.

If you choose Baseline, the baseline of the text sits on the path; descenders (the bottom part of the g below the baseline, for example) are below the path, if you show the path. If you choose Ascent, the ascenders (the top of a capital T, for example) of the text touch the path; this setting moves the text below the path. If you choose Descent, the descenders of the text sit on the path, moving the text slightly above the path.

Deselect the Show path option on your ellipse and save your file.

In this example, the path of the ellipse does not add any interest to the drawing so you want to hide it from view. It does help to show the path as you experiment with the different orientation and alignment settings, however.



Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint