How to convert text to a shape in Illustrator

Need to convert text into an editable shape in Illustrator?

Converting your text into an editable shape in Illustrator will allow you to easily customize your text, combine the text with other shapes, or even use the text as an image mask.

Outlining the text is also a good idea if you plan to give the .AI design file to a printer or other designer so that they do not need the original fonts installed to access the file.

Fortunately, converting text into an editable form is one of the easiest tasks to perform in Illustrator.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open your Illustrator project file
  2. Type your text in the desired font
  3. Select the text that you want to be converted into a shape.
  4. In the top menu, click on Type > Create contours

Why we turn text into shapes:

As mentioned above, a great advantage of converting text into shapes is to eliminate the need to download fonts when passing a project to someone else. Converting text to shapes in Illustrator also has other advantages.

When text is converted into a shape, you can make adjustments to the shape that would otherwise be difficult to make to the text. For example, manually adjust the font to create something totally unique.

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Saving a line of text as a shape also streamlines your ability to reuse the text in future projects, as you can load the shape quickly and easily without having to retype the text.

How to adjust the shape:

Once you have successfully outlined your text as a new shape, it is time to edit that shape to your liking.

This is how you can edit the shape:

  1. Select the direct selection tool (A)
  2. Click and drag to select a letter or section of the shape you want to edit.
  3. Select any anchor point and drag it to create new shapes from the text.

If you are not sure where an anchor point is or if it is correctly selected, look at this image and see the difference between selected and unselected anchor points.

The letter T in the word «Text» is selected, and the small squares in all corners are anchor points. The anchor point in the lower left corner is filled in blue, showing that it is the selected anchor point that was dragged down to create that unique shape.

Adjusting multiple letters:

As you can see in the image above, we have selected some individual letters and changed their shape. You can make continuous adjustments to multiple parts of your shape by holding down the Shift key and selecting the letter you want to adjust.

You can also move entire letters in the form using this method. We recommend that you play with this method to familiarize yourself with its uses.

Frequently Asked Questions:

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Was my text not correctly outlined when I converted it?

Sometimes certain fonts are difficult to outline and converting them into a shape may not work perfectly. Often, this error occurs because the Smart Guides are not selected. To remedy this, go to the View pane in the Top Menu and make sure that Smart Guides has a check mark next to it.

Can I save several lines of text as a single form?

Yes, you can convert several lines of text into a single form. Just select all text lines and outline them as shown above.

If you have trouble selecting multiple lines of text, make sure they are all on the same layer. If they are not, combine the layers to make them into a shape. If you need help merging layers in Illustrator, click here.

Can I revert the form to text?

Unfortunately, there is no method to revert a form to text after editing it. However, if you have not made any edits to the shape, you can easily revert it to text by selecting Undo (Command + Z).

How can I change the color of the shape?

Using the Direct Selection Tool, select the text or individual letters you want to change the color of.

In the Properties Panel, under Appearance, click on Fill and change the color to whatever you want.

You can also add and change the color of your text outline. Simply select Stroke under the Fill option and choose a size and color.

How can I adjust the overall size of the shape?

If you want to adjust the size of the entire shape, first select the entire shape using the direct selection tool.

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From there, you can right-click and hover over Transform. Then select Scale and adjust the size of your shape.

You can also adjust the scale using the top menu instead of right-clicking. Both achieve the same result.

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