Text Design Techniques: How to Outline Text in Adobe Illustrator

How to Outline Text in Adobe Illustrator

Ready to take your design skills to the next level? Outlining text in Adobe Illustrator is a skill that every graphic designer should have in their toolkit. In this article, I’ll guide you through the process, step by step, so you can master this technique and create eye-catching designs. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced designer looking to expand your skill set, this article is for you. So let’s dive in and learn how to outline text in Adobe Illustrator.

What is Text Outline?

Text outline refers to the process of converting text into a vector shape in Adobe Illustrator. By outlining text, you transform it into a solid object that can be customized and manipulated further in your design. Whether you want to create a unique logo, add special effects, or simply enhance the appearance of your text, outlining is a useful technique to have in your design arsenal.

When you outline text in Adobe Illustrator, the software converts each individual character into a closed shape. This means that each letter, number, or symbol becomes its own vector object with anchor points and paths. Unlike editable text, outlined text is no longer tied to a specific font or typeface – you have complete control over its appearance.

Outlining text opens a world of design possibilities. Here are a few reasons why you might want to consider outlining your text in Adobe Illustrator:

  1. Customization: Outlined text allows you to modify its shape, size, color, and effects with ease.
  2. Unique Effects: By outlining text, you can apply various effects such as gradients, patterns, or even 3D transformations.
  3. Versatility: Outlined text can be easily scaled up or down without any loss of quality, making it suitable for a wide range of design projects.
  4. Compatibility: Outlined text ensures that your design remains consistent across different devices and platforms.

Why Use Text Outline in Adobe Illustrator?

Enhances Visibility

By outlining text in Adobe Illustrator, you can significantly enhance its visibility. Text outlines create a clear distinction between the text and its background, making it easier for your audience to read and comprehend the message. Whether it’s a logo, a title, or a call-to-action, outlining the text ensures that it stands out and grabs attention.

Adds Depth and Dimension

Text outlines also add depth and dimension to your designs. By turning text into a vector shape, you have the freedom to manipulate it in various ways. You can apply gradients, patterns, and even 3D transformations, giving your text a dynamic and eye-catching appearance. With outlined text, you can create designs that have depth and make a lasting impact on your audience.

Creates Unique Designs

One of the greatest advantages of outlining text in Adobe Illustrator is the ability to create unique designs. Outlined text can be customized in terms of shape, size, color, and effects, allowing you to create designs that are distinct and tailored to your specific needs. Whether you want sleek and modern typography or bold and artistic lettering, outlining text gives you the flexibility to achieve your desired look.

How to Outline Text in Adobe Illustrator

Step 1: Select The Text

To begin outlining text in Adobe Illustrator, start by selecting the text you want to outline. You can do this by using the Selection Tool (V) and clicking on the text object. Ensure that you have the correct layer selected in the Layers panel, so your outline appears in the desired location.

Step 2: Expand The Text

Once you’ve selected the text, it’s time to expand it. Expanding the text converts it into a vector shape, allowing for further customization and effects. Follow these steps:

  1. With the text selected, navigate to the top menu and click on “Type.”
  2. From the dropdown menu, select “Create Outlines” or use the shortcut Shift+Ctrl+O. This action transforms the text into a scalable vector shape, making it an editable object.

Step 3: Apply The Outline

Now that you have converted the text into an editable shape, it’s time to apply the outline. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. With the outlined text selected, navigate to the Appearance panel. If the panel is not visible, go to Window > Appearance to open it.
  2. In the Appearance panel, click on the “Stroke” option. This will open the Stroke panel.
  3. In the Stroke panel, you can adjust the outline’s color, weight, and other properties according to your design requirements. Experiment with different options to achieve the desired look. Don’t be afraid to get creative!


Outlining text in Adobe Illustrator is a powerful technique that allows designers to unlock endless design possibilities. By converting text into a vector shape, outlined text can be customized in terms of shape, size, color, and effects. This flexibility enables designers to create visually stunning typography and captivate their audience.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced designer, mastering the art of outlining text in Adobe Illustrator can significantly enhance your design skills. By incorporating text outlines into your design workflow, you can create eye-catching designs that stand out from the crowd.