How To Edit Text In Adobe Illustrator

In this Adobe Illustrator tutorial, I’m going to share all my tips to edit existing text from changing text to adding colors, glyphs, and more, so you can enjoy your work as I did.

how to edit text in adobe illustrator

How to Edit Text in Adobe Illustrator

To edit existing text in Adobe Illustrator, double-click on the text box or placeholder text to make changes.

Or you can use the keyboard shortcut by pressing T on the keyboard to change the cursor to the Type tool.

Then, bring the cursor to the text object and click once in any of the areas inside the bounding box where you wish to edit the existing text.

You can press the delete button to remove text, or type to add more text. Other ways to edit text in Adobe Illustrator include using Character panel, Glyphs, and more.

Before editing text, you will have to either add new text or import a design template with existing text or open an existing Illustrator file with a text-based design.

Illustrator provides various tools for you to add text in as many orientations and styles as possible. This gives you many easy ways to add text to your designs.

If you go to the toolbar and right-click on the Type tool or the text tool button, you will see various ways to add text:

right-click type tool on toolbar in illustrator - how to edit text in adobe illustrator
Right-click on Type Tool to open drop-down menu
  1. Type Tool,
  2. Area Type Tool,
  3. Type on a Path tool,
  4. Vertical Type tool,
  5. Vertical Area Type Tool,
  6. Vertical Type on a Path Tool
  7. Touch Type Tool

Read on for a deep dive into the methods of how to edit text in Illustrator.

Method 1: Add, Delete, Or Change Text

This is a simple text editing process in AI where you can choose to add, delete, or change text in your designs. In fact, it’s the simplest you can go and the easiest way to get started with text elements in Illustrator.

Step 1: Type Tool

To start editing a basic text in a text box, select the Type tool with the T icon from the toolbar. Or use the keyboard shortcut T on your keyboard.

select Text Type tool from toolbar in Illustrator – how to edit text in adobe illustrator

Step 2: Highlight The Text

Now that your cursor is changed to the Type tool, bring it over to the text box, and click once, anywhere you’d like to make changes to your text. You will see a thin vertical line blinking in the text box. That is called a text cursor.

text cursor at the end of the word Edit – how to edit text in adobe illustrator
Text cursor at the end of the word “Edit”

Start typing if you wish to add more text, or delete text to remove words.

Alternatively, if your cursor is already the Selection tool with the black arrow. You can edit text by double-clicking anywhere inside the text box and the text cursor will appear immediately for you to edit the content.

Method 2: Edit Text Styles

If you wish to edit text styles, you could be looking to change the font size, font weight, and change font in Illustrator and more.

Both the Character and Paragraph panels have everything you need to edit text with basic styles and formatting, especially when it comes to differentiating headers, body text, and quotes.

In this example, I would like to edit the text in my artwork such that it’s more engaging than how it looks now.

Here are the steps:

Step 1: Open the Character Panel

The first step is to open the Character panel by selecting Window > Type > Character. Or access it via the Control panel and Properties panel.

Open character panel from window type menu - how to edit text in Adobe Illustrator

Or, use the keyboard shortcut Command + T on Mac.

Open Character panel with keyboard shortcuts command and T - how to edit text in Adobe Illustrator

Or Ctrl + T on Windows.

Open Character panel with keyboard shortcuts ctrl and T - how to edit text in Adobe Illustrator

Step 2: Edit and Style Your Text

In this example, I want the title of this infographic to stand out from the other text.

sample infographic about best teas – how to edit text in Adobe Illustrator

In this case, you can change the font of the title to something different from the sub-title and increase its font size. To do this, select the title text box, then, go to the section where you can “Set the Font Family“.

Click the button with the arrow pointing down, then select your preferred font in the drop-down menu.

select set font family and change font in Illustrator – how to edit text in adobe illustrator

For the body text, I figured it would look better if the spacing between sentences can be wider. In this case, you can give more room between lines by increasing the value in the field that says “Set the Leading”. I’m not doing this for the title since it only has one line of text.

increase body text leading in Illustrator – how to edit text in adobe illustrator

Step 3: Increase Text Size

After changing the style of the title text, it looks like the size can be bigger. Select the text so that the bounding box can be seen. Then, select the Free Transform tool from the toolbar. Or use keyboard shortcut letter E.

select free transform tool from toolbar in illustrator – how to edit text in adobe illustrator

Then, go to any of the corners of the bounding box, until the cursor shows 4 arrows. Hold down the Shift key and drag the corner outwards to increase the text size.

click corner and drag bounding box with free transform tool in illustrator – how to edit text in adobe illustrator

Although now the size looks great, it may not look like it’s in place. To adjust it, select the Selection tool to change the cursor to the black arrow.

Then, click on the title text box and align the text, such that it makes the infographic design look better.

text in infographic has been edited in illustrator

Method 3: Change Text Colors

The text color will follow the latest color in the Fill and Stroke section. You can find that in the toolbar. You may or may not wish to leave your text in that color because you should use the color that works for your design.

In this example, my default text color is black. I would like to add a stroke color to the outline of the title text and change the fill color to blue.

Here are the steps to change text colors:

Step 1: Use Appearance Panel

Refer to the Appearance panel in the Properties panel by selecting Window > Properties in the top menu bar.

open properties panel from window top menu – how to edit text in adobe illustrator

Step 2: Change Colors

Select the text, then in the Appearance section of the Properties panel, click on the square color box next to Fill. Change the color of your text by selecting any colors from the pop-up color palette.

change text color in the appearance panel in illustrator – how to edit text in adobe illustrator

Then, if you like, select the arrow pointing up next to Stroke to give the edges of your text some color. Change the Stroke color by clicking the stroke icon on the left.

Method 4: Use Glyphs

Glyphs are individual characters or symbols within a typeface that can be used to add unique, creative elements to your designs.

In this method, we will explore how to edit text with glyphs in Adobe Illustrator, including accessing the Glyphs panel, selecting and inserting glyphs, and customizing your designs using these special characters.

By harnessing the power of glyphs, you can elevate your designs, adding flair and personality to your text and creating visually appealing, professional projects.

Step 1: Open the Glyphs Panel

First, open the Glyphs panel by selecting Window > Type > Glyphs.

open window > type > glyphs in Adobe Illustrator – how to edit text in Illustrator

Step 2: Select Glyph

In this example, I find that the letter “G” from the word “Green” is quite hard to read. I’ve decided to change it to a glyph so that I can still keep the same font for the whole title and only change the style for “G” to something readable.

To do that, highlight the letter with the Type tool cursor, go to the Glyphs panel. The letter I want to change is “G”, and you can see there is a right-pointing arrow on the bottom right of the “G” button. This means there are more options.

Click on the “G” button and hold down your cursor. A drop-down with more options appears. Make sure the cursor is still held down as you drag the cursor to the glyph you want and release the cursor once the glyph is highlighted.

select glyph character in Adobe Illustrator – how to edit text in Illustrator
Hold down cursor on the glyph button for more options

Here’s what the text looks like after it’s edited with a glyph:

the best green teas banner text edited with gylph in adobe illustrator

If you want to select a glyph without more options or the arrow, just double click the glyph button, and your selected text changes.

Edit Text In Illustrator: FAQs

Why Is Text Highlighted In Illustrator?

If you click on a text frame and see that the text is highlighted, it’s normal, and it’s just a way for Illustrator to help you reduce your steps to remove text.

I’m guessing you may have selected the Type tool to double click the text inside the text box and that highlighted a portion of the text. Or you may have used the Type tool to draw a box and now you see some placeholder text appear and highlighted.

Not to worry, this is part of how Illustrator works. Just select the ESC button on your keyboard. This will deactivate the highlighted text and you can edit it as normal.

How Do I Edit Text In Illustrator PDF File?

​Let me guess, a PDF file is all you are given and you wish to edit the text inside with Illustrator. You can do that by simply opening the file with Illustrator first. If you are using a Mac, you can drag the PDF file to the Illustrator app in your dock.

How to Stretch Text In Illustrator?

The easiest way to stretch text in Illustrator is by first selecting your text box. Then, use the Free Transform tool from the toolbar, go to any corner of the text box, click, and drag it away from the center. Hold down the Shift key as you drag so that your text will stretch proportionately.

What Is Editable Text?

Editable text refers to text that retains its properties as text that allows you to change its letters by typing with your keyboard. You can also change its fonts in bulk with a click of a button.

If you’ve used “Create Outlines” for text, your text is no longer referred to as “Editable Text“, but they can be edited manually. You edit it by using the Direct Selection Tool to shift and modify anchor points.

When working with editable text in Adobe Illustrator, you can:

  1. Type or edit content: Use the Type tool (T) to create new text objects, type or paste content, and modify existing text.
  2. Format text: Utilize the Character and Paragraph panels to adjust font family, style, size, leading, kerning, tracking, and other text formatting options.
  3. Apply text effects: Apply various effects and appearance attributes to text objects, such as fills, strokes, gradients, or blending modes, using the Appearance panel or the Effects menu.
  4. Manipulate text in Illustrator: Use the Touch Type tool to move, scale, or rotate individual characters within a text object while retaining the ability to edit the text.

Your actions include adding, changing, and deleting text, changing fonts, font sizes, font weight, colors, spacing, and any property that involves the appearance and style of the text.

Can You Edit Outlined Text?

Yes, you can edit outlined text. But once the text has been converted into outlines or shapes in Adobe Illustrator, it loses its properties as text and becomes a set of vector objects.

While it’s not considered editable text, you can still edit it by manipulating and modifying the outlines or shapes in various ways. Here are steps on how to manipulate text in Illustrator:

  1. Move or transform: Use the Selection tool (V) or the Direct Selection tool (A) to move, scale, rotate, or skew the outlines or shapes, either as a whole or individually.
  2. Modify paths: Use the Direct Selection tool (A) or the Pen tool (P) to add, remove, or adjust anchor points and handles, altering the shape of the outlines.
  3. Apply appearance attributes: Change the fill, stroke, gradient, or other appearance attributes of the outlined text using the Appearance panel, the Color panel, or the Stroke panel.
  4. Apply effects: Add various effects, such as drop shadows, 3D extrudes, or distortions, to the outlined text using the Effects menu.
  5. Combine or divide shapes: Use the Pathfinder panel or the Shape Builder tool (Shift+M) to create compound shapes, and merge, subtract, or divide the outlined text with other vector objects.
  6. Align and distribute: Use the Align panel to align or distribute the outlined text objects relative to each other or to the artboard.
  7. Use layers and groups: Organize the outlined text objects in layers or groups for easier management and manipulation within your design.
  8. Create Clipping Masks or Opacity Masks: Use the outlined text as a mask for other objects or images, creating visually interesting effects and compositions.

How To Change Font In Illustrator?

The easiest way to change the font in Illustrator is to select the text, then, open the Character panel in the Control panel. Click the downward pointing arrow of the “Set the font family” section and browse the font you want to change to. Click the selected font and your selected font will change.

Final Thoughts On Editing Text In Illustrator

There’s never an end to editing text in Illustrator. Whether you wish to create the next brand logo for yourself or your clients, start from here and you can do more with Illustrator.

Before You Go…

Need more tips on editing text? Editing text in Illustrator is essential, but it’s just one of the basic steps. Even with the best text-based design, you will have a problem if you can’t save your file. Read my next article to learn what to do if Illustrator won’t save your file…

What To Do When Illustrator Won’t Save My File [9 Easy Ways]

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