2 Easy Ways To Drop Cap in Illustrator Like In Indesign

There isn’t a feature or direct way to drop cap in Illustrator like in Indesign. Luckily, Illustrator offers a simple and effective way to achieve this effect.

By using the Type Tool and some text alignment in Illustrator, you can easily create visually stunning designs that will capture your audience’s attention. Let’s dive in!

drop cap in illustrator

What is a Drop Cap?

Before we dive into how to create drop caps in Illustrator, let’s first define what drop caps are.

A drop cap is a design element that is commonly used in books, magazines, and newspapers. Most recently, drop cap fonts have been used quite a fair bit on websites and digital products.

A drop cap is a large capital letter that is used at the beginning of a paragraph and extends down into the first line or lines of text.

The best practice is to use it once in every section or chapter in a book or ebook. Using it every paragraph will be a tad bit too much.

drop cap vs no drop cap in Illustrator

These days, creators like you love to come up with freebies to give away online. Your material may have bits of content made up of text.

In this case, using a drop cap or two in each content can drastically make boring words come alive!

Some say adding a drop cap is just fancy. But I find that drop caps do make your document look more professional, and they can help to break up long blocks of text.

You can say that a drop cap is a text effect or an element to draw more attention and engagement to a set of content.

How to Make a Drop Cap

Within Illustrator, you can make a drop cap by typing the first letter in a separate text bounding box and deleting the same first letter in the main text box.

Select the drop cap text box and go to Object > Text Wrap > Make. Move the drop cap to the main text box and the text will shift to make way for the drop cap.

If you wish to stylize your drop cap, you can make outlines or strokes to the first letter before making it a drop cap. Or simply customize it to look entirely different from your main bunch of text.

You can tell that the sky’s the limit to how your drop cap can be in Illustrator. Adding a drop cap may not be a one-click feature but that helps you discover other ways to create more intricate and aesthetic drop cap designs in Illustrator.

Method 1: Using Tabs

In this method, you get to make a drop cap from the text that is editable. In other words, there’s no need to embed fonts, Create Outlines, or expand text to turn it into a vector object. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Select your letter to become the drop cap

Let’s say all your text in the same bounding box is of the same font size. You will be working towards enlarging the first letter of all the text you see in the same text bounding box.

Select this letter by highlighting only this letter. Use your cursor, double-click the text box, bring the cursor to one end of the first letter, and click and drag to the other end of the same letter.

select first letter by highlighting with type tool – drop cap in Illustrator

Step 2: Enlarge the Font Size

With the first letter highlighted, increase or enlarge the font size by going to the Character panel. Increase the value of the font size to the value you desire.

enlarge font size – drop cap in Illustrator

Step 3: Set Baseline shift

Just enlarging the first letter, you can see it popping from the text. But the other lines of text don’t adjust or align perfectly to the drop cap. I won’t even call it a drop cap at this point, since it’s not dropping below the first sentence. So what do you do?

What you will want to do is to shift all the text up so that the first letter can be made a drop cap. Get started by selecting all the text other than the drop cap letter by highlighting the words.

highlight all text other than drop cap letter in illustrator
Highlight all text other than drop cap letter

Then, increase the value in the field for Set Baseline Shift. In this example, I will increase it until the first line is just slightly below the drop cap letter. You may prefer to set a higher or lower value, it’s up to your judgment and preferred design.

set baseline shift for highlighted text – drop cap in Illustrator
Set baseline shift for highlighted text

Step 4: Align text with Drop Cap

Now it’s in a mess with text and the drop cap overlapping each other. Let’s fix that!

Select the text bounding box by clicking on it once.

Related: Why Is Illustrator Bounding Box Not Showing

Then open the Tabs panel by using keyboard shortcuts Shift + Command + T for Mac.

keyboard shortcut tabs shift command T – drop cap in Illustrator

Or Shift + Ctrl + T For Windows.

keyboard shortcut tabs shift ctrl T – drop cap in Illustrator

Or select Window > Type > Tabs from the top bar menu.

Open tabs panel in window and type drop down menu

With the text bounding box still selected, add a Left-Justified Tab stop along the Tabs Ruler where you wish to align the first few lines of text.

left-justified tab stop on tabs panel – drop cap in illustrator

Then, add a type or text cursor to the front of the second letter. Press the Tab key on the keyboard.

Do the same on the subsequent lines, as many as you want. In this example, I will only do this for the first and second lines.

press tab – drop cap in illustrator

Now it looks much better!

Adjust the Left-Justified Tab left and right along the ruler depending on the spacing you want between the drop cap and the first letter of every line of text.

Method 2: Using Text Wrap

When adding a drop cap using Text Wrap, you can do so with both editable text and outlined text. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Separate the First Letter

First, increase the size of the first letter font to your desired size. Next, since the Text Wrap effect can only be added to one whole bounding box, the first letter has to be removed from the current text box and placed in its own box.

Delete the first letter. Select the Type tool from the Toolbar or press T on the keyboard. Draw a text box with the Type tool on the artboard. Type in the same first letter in the text box.

separate first letter from text bounding box – drop cap in illustrator

Step 2: Text Wrap

Select the letter’s text box and select Object in the top menu bar. Then, select Text Wrap in the drop-down menu. Select Make.

select object make text wrap – drop cap in illustrator

You will now see a notification that says “Text will wrap around all objects in the current selection, including type objects.

Click the OK button.

text wrap notification – drop cap in illustrator

You will see a second text box appearing around the first text box.

letter text wrap - drop cap in illustrator

Step 3: Adjust Text Wrap

In this method, you don’t have to use the Tabs panel to align text to the drop cap. If you move the text-wrapped letter over the first lines of text, you will see the text making way for the drop cap text.

text wrap letter drop cap in illustrator

You may wish to increase or reduce the space between the drop cap and the text. To do that, select the drop cap letter, select Object in the top bar menu, select Text Wrap, and then, select Text Wrap Options… in the drop-down menu.

text wrap options

In the Text Wrap Options dialog box that pops up, make sure Preview is checked to see the changes in real-time. Then, change the distance between the drop cap and the text by changing the value in the Offset field.

Once you are satisfied with the distance, click the OK button.

text wrap options dialog box

Now the shape of the drop cap text box is a regular rectangle. If you want the text to flow with the shape of the drop cap instead of the text box, you can use the Pen tool to reshape the drop cap text box.

FAQ About The Illustrator Drop Cap

Can You Do A Drop Cap In Illustrator?

Yes, you can! Although in Illustrator, there’s no one-click button to add drop caps like in Indesign, you can still do a drop cap by using several options. You can do a drop cap by using the Tab function or the Text Wrap option.

How Do You Format Text in Illustrator?

You can format text using the features available in the Character and Paragraph panels and Text Wrap options. When you first add text in Illustrator by drawing a text box with the Type tool, the leading, kerning, and tracking will automatically be set up for you.

For basic formatting of text in Illustrator, you can set the font, font weight, and font size. You can also use bold, italic, underline, all caps, small caps, superscript, subscript, and strikethrough functions.

For paragraphs, you can align left, right, and center or justify text if you like. If you have a list, you can add bullet points and a numbered list to break up long lines of words.

Related Guides You May Like

  1. How to Add Bullet Points in Illustrator
  2. Ways To Justify Text In Illustrator

Final Thoughts: Illustrator Drop Caps

While Illustrator doesn’t have a dedicated drop cap feature like InDesign, there are still ways to create drop caps in Illustrator using a few different methods.

Whether you use the Type on a Path Tool, create a separate text box, or use a clipping mask, you can achieve a similar effect to a drop cap in InDesign.

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