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Adobe Illustrator Fonts Graphic Design Typography

A Guide to Outlining Fonts in Adobe Illustrator

A Guide to Outlining Fonts in Adobe IllustratorTypography is a crucial aspect of graphic design, and Adobe Illustrator provides powerful tools to enhance the visual appeal of your text. One such essential skill is outlining fonts, a process that converts editable text into vector shapes. In this guide, we’ll explore the significance of outlining fonts and step-by-step instructions on how to do it in Adobe Illustrator.

A Guide to Outlining Fonts in Adobe Illustrator

Why Outline Fonts?

Preserving Design Integrity:

  • Outlining fonts ensures that your design looks consistent across different devices and software. It eliminates the need for font installations, preventing potential discrepancies in your layout.

Vector Versatility:

  • Outlined fonts become vector shapes, providing scalability without compromising quality. This is especially beneficial for large-scale prints or projects where precision is paramount.

Avoiding Font Substitution Issues:

  • When sharing files or collaborating with others, font substitution can be a common problem. Outlining fonts resolves this issue, as the text essentially becomes a graphic element.

Step-by-Step Guide to Outlining Fonts in Adobe Illustrator:

1. Select Your Text:

  • Open your Illustrator file and select the text you want to outline. Ensure that the text is finalized and that you have the font files installed if you plan to share the document.

2. Create Outlines:

  • Navigate to the “Type” menu and choose “Create Outlines” or use the shortcut “Shift + Command/Control + O.” This action transforms the text into editable vector shapes.
  • Or right click, select Create Outlines.

3. Adjust Paths if Needed:

  • After outlining, you can further refine the vector shapes using the Direct Selection tool. Adjust anchor points, curves, or any other elements to achieve the desired look.

4. Review the Design:

  • Double-check your design to ensure that all characters are outlined correctly. Pay attention to details, especially if your design includes intricate or stylized fonts.

5. Grouping Elements:

  • If your text consists of multiple elements, consider grouping them for better organization. Select the outlined text and use the “Group” command (Command/Control + G).

Tips for Outlining Fonts:

Backup Original Text:

  • Before outlining, duplicate your text layer or keep a copy of the original text in a hidden layer. This precaution allows you to make edits or adjustments if needed.

Consider the Impact on Editability:

  • Keep in mind that outlined text loses its editability. Save a version of your file before outlining in case you need to make text changes later.


Mastering the art of outlining fonts in Adobe Illustrator opens up a world of design possibilities. Whether you’re working on a print project, collaborating with others, or aiming for scalable vector graphics, this essential skill empowers you to create visually stunning and consistent typography in your designs. So, go ahead, experiment with outlining fonts, and elevate your typographic game in Adobe Illustrator!

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Steve is graphic designer who works at a print shop. He has been in graphic design since high school and continued on to get an Associates of Applied Science degree in graphic design too. He has since worked mostly in advertising design for various newspapers and shoppers. He has also worked for a couple sign companies. He currently works at a print shop. Steve has over 30 lifetime years of graphic design.
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