How to Work with Type in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator has six different type tools: Type, Area Type, Type on a Path, Vertical type Vertical Area Type, and Vertical Type on a Path. There are three tools for horizontal type, which goes across the screen. Then, there are three tools for vertical type that goes top to bottom on the screen. This article will teach you how to work with type in Illustrator.

The Type Tools

The Type tools are located in the toolbox. You will find them here, . You can click and hold on the Type tool to see all the type tools grouped with it.

Type creates type that is not associated with a path. With it, you can type along the edge of an open path or inside a closed path.

  • Area Type creates type that is inside an open or closed path.
  • Type on a Path will create type along the outer edge of an open or closed path.
  • Vertical Type works like the Type tool except the type is vertical.
  • Vertical Type Area works like the Area Type tool except that it is vertical.
  • Vertical Type on a Path works like the Type on a Path tool except it is vertical.

    Create Type with the Type Tool

    Let us use the Type tool to start with. Click on a blank area on an artboard. You will see a flashing vertical line, just as you would in word processing programs. This means that you can start typing.

    Once you are finished typing, you can use the Selection tool to move the text to another location if you want. Simply click on the text. A bounding box will appear around it.

    Now, the text above is small. Before we learn about the other type tools, let us learn how to format text in Illustrator.

    Formatting Text

    To format our text, we are going to use the Type panel. Go to Window>Type. You will then see these menu options.

    Let us go through these one by one to learn how to format our text. First, let us select Character.


    Fonts and Font Sizes

    Here is where we can change the type of font. Myriad Pro is the font type that we are using. However, we can change that to a different font. Perhaps Times New Roman.

    Let us change the font in our type.

    First, drag your mouse over the type to select it. You should still be using the Type tool for this.

    Now, go to the Character panel and select a new type of font.

    We have selected Arial. (We are also going to change the size to 18, which you will learn about momentarily.)

    The font is now changed. Click in another area of the artboard to deselect the text.

    Next, we can change the font style, as shown below. We can change the type to bold, italics, or back to regular.

    In the bottom part of the Character panel, we can change the font size. It is currently 12 pt. We can also change the spacing between lines of type, or the leading. Right now, it is 14.4 pt.

    Then, we can change the kernel (bottom box on the left). The kernel is the space between characters. We can also change the tracking (bottom box on the right). The tracking is the adjustment of space for groups of characters or blocks of text.

    Now, click the Paragraph tab at the top of the Type panel.


    Justify and Indent Type

    In this panel, we can format our paragraphs, including indentions.

    If you have ever used a word processing program before, then some of these buttons may look familiar to you.

    The first button aligns all text to the left.

    The next button centers text.

    The third button aligns text to the right.

    Justifies all text so it is in a block with all lines even; however, the last line is aligned to the left.

    Justifies all text so it is in a block with all lines even; however, the last line is centered.

    Justifies all text so it is in a block with all lines even; however, the last line is aligned to the right.

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    Justifies all text so it is in a block with all lines even.

    Look at the rest of your options in this panel.

    Sets the left indention. This will indent all lines. Enter a number to set the indention.

    Sets the indention for the first line of text. It is indented from the left.

    Sets the right indention.

    You can also specify an amount of space before a paragraph.

    Alternatively, you can specify an amount of space to be left after a paragraph.

    If you leave the Hyphenate box checked, Illustrator will hyphenate words that break from one line to the next.



    Tabs are used to advance to a sequence of set positions within type. There are four types of tab stops: left, right, center, and decimal (for numbers). Let us see how they work.

    To set tabs, go to Window>Type>Tabs.

    Let us go to our text in our document and add an insertion point between the words Adobe and Illustrator. The insertion point is where our cursor is located.

    Now, go to the Tabs panel that we just opened.

    If you want to use default tabs, then press the tab key on your keyboard to shift text to the next tab stop.

    You can see the tab breaks inserted in our text.

    To move the Tabs panel next to the text so that you can create your own tab stops, click Position Panel Above Text on the panel. Your panel is now above your text:

    Now, you can,

    Insert. Click one of the tab stop buttons, and then click inside the ruler where you want to place it.

    Here are your tab stop buttons.

    From left to right, you have,

  • Left justified tab.
  • Right justified tab.
  • Center justified tab.
  • Decimal Justified tab.

    As we said, click one of those buttons. We have clicked Left Justified Tab, and then click in the ruler where you want to add the tab stop.

    As shown in the snapshot below, we are adding ours where our cursor (arrow) is located.

    Now, the little arrow (that matches our Left Justified Tab button) is inserted on our ruler.


    Working with Glyphs

    Glyphs are hieroglyphic characters or symbols, such as the @ sign. To work with glyphs in Illustrator, go to Window>Type>Glyphs.

    You can then see the Glyphs that you can use. Scroll down within the panel to look at all of them. You can also set the font type and style for your glyphs or scroll in or out to get a closer look at the glyphs shown in the panel by using these buttons.

    Click on the place in your document where you want to insert a glyph.

    Double click on the glyph (in the panel) to insert it.

    We added an exclamation point from the Glyphs panel.

    The Area Type Tool

    Now that we have learned how to format text, let us learn about the rest of the Type tools that you can use, starting with the Area Type tool. Remember, the Area Type tool is grouped with the Type tool. It looks like this, . With this tool, you can add text inside the path of any object.

    Let us add text inside the path of a rectangle.

    Click on the Area Type tool.

    Now, click on the edge of the rectangle's path, as shown below.

    Your cursor now appears inside the object and you can start to type your text.

    The Vertical Area tool works in the same way, except that the text is vertical.

    Select the Vertical Area tool, .

    Click on the edge of the path, and then start to type.

    Click the path next to where you want to type.

    Type on a Path Tool

    The Type on a Path tool allows you to type on a path. Select the Type on a Path tool, .

    Now select the edge of the path that you want to type on.

    The cursor will appear and you can start to type.

    The Vertical Type on a Path tool works the same way, except that the text is vertical.

    Remember, to edit text, select it with the Selection tool.

    Import Text

    You can import text from a document such as from MS Word into your Illustrator document. You use the Place command to do this.

    Go to File>Place.

    Find the file that you want to place, and then click Place.

    Now, you can select the information from the document that you want to include. You can also remove text formatting if you want, by checking the box Remove Text Formatting.

    Click OK.

    The text from the document is now placed in Illustrator:

    You can select the text to edit it:

    Using the Selection tool, you can shrink or expand the object that the text is in.

    If we click in a blank area to deselect everything, the text appears in our document just as if we had used Illustrator to add it: