Want to know: Is Drop Cap In Illustrator Like In Indesign?
Sorry to wipe out all optimism and deliver the bad news, but no, there’s no way to do a drop cap in Illustrator like in Indesign.
There’s also no drop cap function in Illustrator. But you can create a drop cap manually, similar to how to superscript in Illustrator, which you will learn to do very quickly in this article.
If you have been using Indesign, you would have known that adding a drop cap is as easy as clicking one button. Adobe is a smart company, but it didn’t provide a drop cap function in Illustrator. This may have left you wondering how to drop cap in Illustrator.
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Luckily, Illustrator offers a simple and effective way to achieve this effect. By using the Type Tool and some text alignment magic, you can easily create visually stunning designs that will capture your audience’s attention. Let’s dive in!
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.
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.
Is Drop Cap In Illustrator Like In Indesign?
How to Make a Drop Cap in Illustrator
You can make a drop cap in Illustrator 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. If there is a way to make a drop cap in Illustrator like in Indesign, then you won’t discover the other ways to create more intricate and aesthetic drop cap designs.
Let’s explore the different ways you can make a drop cap in Illustrator.
1. How to Make a Drop Cap in Illustrator 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Then open the Tabs panel by using keyboard shortcuts Shift + Command + T for Mac.
Or Shift + Ctrl + T For Windows.
Or select Window > Type > Tabs from the top bar 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.
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.
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.
2. How to Make a Drop Cap in Illustrator 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.
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.
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.
You will see a second text box appearing around the first text box.
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.
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.
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.
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 Adding a Drop Cap in Illustrator
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.
Final Thoughts: Drop Cap in Illustrator
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.