5 Easy Ways To Vectorize Text In Illustrator

There are several ways you can vectorize text in Adobe Illustrator. You will learn all of them here in this guide.

how to vectorize text in illustrator

Why Vectorize Text in Adobe Illustrator?

For graphic designers, the need to convert text layers into vector format isn’t just a whimsical choice — it’s often a necessity. Here’s why:

  • Best Results: Achieve scalable, crisp, and clean edges, ideal for both digital images and print.
  • Font Flexibility: Allows the use of different fonts and even the creation of your own font.
  • Commercial Use: Essential for high-quality commercial projects, especially with the need for variable-width profiles for things like family crests or monogram logos.

Ways To Vectorize Text In Illustrator

To begin the simple process, create a new document by navigating to File > New. This will open a new window where you can set the respective properties of those dimensions.

After setting up your new document, the next step is to create a text box. Select the Type Tool or simply hit the T key. Click on the canvas to create a text box and start typing your text content.

Method 1: Create Outlines

Your text will initially appear as a text layer in the Layers Panel. To convert it into a vector format, here’s what you do:

  1. Right Click & Select: Right-click on the text layer and choose Create Outlines.
  2. Direct Selection Tool: Use the Direct Selection Tool to select specific anchor points, if you wish to tweak the shape of different dimensions in the text characters.
  3. Font Style & Size: Before you convert to vector text, make sure you’re happy with your font style and font size, which can be adjusted from the Character Panel. Maybe you prefer Times New Roman or another specific font; this is the time to decide.
  4. Create Outlines: For editable paths and best results, go to Type > Create Outlines or use the shortcut Shift + Command + Letter O for Mac or Shift + Ctrl + Letter O for Windows.

Your text will be converted into vector shapes, each letter becoming an individual vector object. You can manipulate these shapes using the Direct Selection Tool, altering anchor points to change the shape of different dimensions.

Method 2: Image Trace

This method is particularly useful when you have raster graphics or text that you want to convert into vector format. Here are the steps:

  1. Import Raster Image: Place your raster text into a new Adobe Illustrator document.
  2. Select the Image: Use the Selection Tool to select the image.
  3. Go to Image Trace: Navigate to Object > Image Trace > Make.
  4. Fine-Tune Settings: Adjust the Image Trace settings from the Properties bar for the best results.

While this method is useful, it may not result in clean edges and precise shapes as the Create Outlines method.

Method 3: Pen Tool for Custom Vector Text

This method is perfect when you want to create your text logo or typography from scratch. Here are the steps to use the Pen Tool to vectorize text:

  1. Activate the Pen Tool: Click on the Pen Tool or press P.
  2. Draw Your Text: Manually draw the outlines of your text.
  3. Adjust Anchor Points: Use the Direct Selection Tool to fine-tune the anchor points for your text shapes.

Method 4: Brushes

  1. Go to the Window Menu: Navigate to Window > Brushes and open the Brushes Panel.
  2. Select a Brush: Choose a brush that fits the style you’re aiming for. Illustrator offers different types of brushes, like calligraphic brushes, scatter brushes, and art brushes.
  3. Select the Text Paths: After converting your text to outlines, you will be able to select individual letters. Use the Direct Selection Tool to select the text paths you want to apply the brush to.
  4. Apply the Brush: With your text paths selected, click on the chosen brush in the Brushes Panel.
  5. Adjust Brush Settings: Double-click the brush in the Brushes Panel to access its options. Adjust settings like size, direction, and spacing to fine-tune the applied effect.
  6. Edit Path: Use the Direct Selection Tool to adjust the anchor points for further customization.

Method 5: Expand

  1. Select the Text Object: Use the Selection Tool to select your newly created text outlines.
  2. Navigate to Expand: Go to Object > Expand. A dialog box will appear.
  3. Choose Properties: In the dialog box, you can select what properties to expand. For text, make sure the Object and Fill options are checked.

Final Thoughts: Vectorize Text In Illustrator

By now, you should have a solid understanding of how to turn text layers into vector objects in Adobe Illustrator.

This is essential for creating scalable vector graphics, including text logos suitable for a range of uses—from HD screens to cut files for silhouette machines. The only thing left to do is to experiment and practice.

So, what’s the next step in your Adobe Illustrator journey? Ready to explore vector images in different ways and directions? This step-by-step tutorial on vectorizing images has set the foundation.

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