December 14, 2006

ASK MORDY: Stroking Text

Vincent Roy asks:

Is there a way to align a stoke outside live text? With a graphic object, you can choose the Align Stroke to Outside option in the stroke palette, or drag the stroke under the fill in the Appearance palette. But it doesn’t work with text object. I’ve been copying and pasting to back for too long now.

Copy and paste to back no more my friend. Here's what you need to do:

As I explain in my book, a type object is a special kind of container (kinda like a group) where the characters themselves are the components of that container. That's why you'll notice that when you select a type object on your page with the Selection tool, you'll notice the Appearance palette lists "TYPE" as the target. Within the type object is something called Characters, which are the characters themselves (again, just think of the word "type" as "group" and the word "characters" as "contents" if you're familiar with how groups work in Illustrator).



You'll also notice that when you use the Type tool to select text, the target in the Appearance palette becomes Characters (not type). Rearranging the stacking order of the fill and stroke WITHIN the characters themselves won't do much for you. You need to do that at the group level -- or in this case -- the Type level.



So select your text with the Selection tool and choose Add New Stroke from the Appearance palette flyout menu. Then, drag the Stroke beneath the Characters. You should now get the result that I think you're looking for.

8 comments:

d. said...

Wow! Thanks. I've been working with Illustrator for about 10 years now. Sometimes I think I know all there is to know about AI, but then I stumble against something like this. So simple... it hurts.

Gary Spedding, Ph.D. said...

I do not think there is a workaround for gradient filled text is there? I made some gradient filled text (still editable) but it seems this cannot be stroked. When I try - the text reverts back to black.

Mordy Golding said...

Sure you can Gary. Use the same method I mentioned here. Add a new Stroke, color it black and then drag it beneath the Characters. Then select the new fill and choose a gradient. Just make sure the fill stays ABOVE the characters.

Mordy Golding said...

d. - Glad I could help out -- hope it doesn't hurt TOO bad :)

Gary Spedding, Ph.D. said...

Yes you are right - it took a little while to get it right (as I have a complex set of text) but once you have it down you can create some pretty funky (psychedelic) text. Thanks for responding.

Anonymous said...

I'm new to AI, I've been a Freehand and just straight Flash, Quark and PS user and I really wanna get into using AI as my main Vector program. So, I've been reading this awesome blog! Is there anyway someone can post examples of before and after with these alignments. I've been trying to do what was listed here but I can't seem to get it. thanks all!

Anonymous said...

What is the difference in putting below "character" as ossposed to putting in under fill and before character? I have always just plut it under fill.

Anonymous said...

In CS2 you can simply move stroke under fill in character appearance palette but in CS3 it's not possible. This tutorial is the only way to do it.