Type on a path flows along the edge of an open or a closed path. When you enter text horizontally, the characters are parallel to the baseline. When you enter text vertically, the characters that are perpendicular to the baseline. In either case, the text flows in the direction in which points were added to the path.

Enter text on a path

  1. Do one of the following:
    • To create horizontal text along a path, select the Type tool  or the Type On A Path tool .

    • To create vertical text along a path, select the Vertical type tool  or the Vertical Type On A Path tool .

  2. (Optional) Set text-formatting options in the Control panel, Character panel, or Paragraph panel.
  3. Position the pointer on the path, and click. (It doesn’t matter if the path has stroke or fill attributes, because Illustrator automatically removes them.)

    Note:

    If the path is closed, rather than open, you must use the Type On A Path tool.

  4. Enter the text.
  5. When you finish entering text, click the Selection tool  to select the type object. Alternatively, Ctrl‑click (Windows) or Command-click (Mac OS) the text.

If you enter more text than can fit within an area or along a path, a small box containing a plus symbol (+) appears near the bottom of the bounding area.

Example of overflow text
Example of overflow text

You can resize the text area or extend the path to display the overflow text. You can also thread the text into another object.

For a video on creating type on a path, see Put type on a path.

Move or flip text along a path

  1. Select the path type object.

    A bracket appears at the beginning of the type, at the end of the path, and at the midpoint between the start and end brackets.

  2. Position the pointer over the type’s center bracket until a small icon appears next to the pointer .
  3. Do one of the following:
    • To move text along the path, drag the center bracket along the path. Hold down Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac OS) to prevent the type from flipping to the other side of the path.

    Moving type along a path
    Moving type along a path

    • To flip the direction of text along a path, drag the bracket across the path. Alternatively, choose Type > Type On A Path > Type On A Path Options, select Flip, and click OK.

    Flipping type along a path
    Flipping type along a path

    Note:

    Tip: To move type across a path without changing the direction of the type, use the Baseline Shift option in the Character panel. For example, if you created type that runs from left to right across the top of a circle, you can enter a negative number in the Baseline Shift text box to drop the type so that it flows inside the top of the circle.

    For a video on creating type on a path, see Put type on a path.

     

Apply effects to type on a path

Path type effects let you distort the orientation of characters on a path. You must first create type on a path before you can apply these effects.

  1. Select the path type object.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Choose Type > Type On A Path and select an effect from the submenu.

    • Choose Type > Type On A Path > Type On A Path Options. Then select an option from the Effect menu, and click OK.

      Note: Applying the Gravity effect to text on a perfectly circular path creates a result that looks like the default Rainbow effect. It performs as expected on paths that are oval, square, rectangular or otherwise irregularly shaped.

    Path type effects
    Path type effects

Adjust the vertical alignment of type on a path

  1. Select the type object.
  2. Choose Type > Type On A Path > Type On A Path Options.
  3. Choose an option from the Align To Path menu to specify how to align all characters to the path, relative to a font’s total height:

    Ascender

    Aligns along the font’s top edge.

    Descender

    Aligns along the font’s bottom edge.

    Center

    Aligns along the point halfway between the font’s ascender and descender.

    Baseline

    Aligns along the baseline. This is the default setting.

    note: Characters without ascenders or descenders (such as a letter e) or a baseline (such as an apostrophe) are vertically aligned with characters that have ascenders, descenders, and baselines. These font dimensions are permanently specified by the font designer.

    Tip: For more control over vertical alignment, use the Baseline Shift option in the Character panel. For example, type a negative value in the Baseline Shift box to lower the type.

Adjust character spacing around sharp turns

When characters flow around a sharp curve or acute angle, they fan out in such a way that there may appear to be extra space between them. You can tighten the spacing of characters on curves using the Spacing option in the Type On A Path Options dialog box.

  1. Select the type object.
  2. Choose Type > Type On A Path > Type On A Path Options.
  3. For Spacing, type a value in points. Higher values remove the extra space from between characters positioned on sharp curves or angles.
    Letter spacing
    Type without spacing adjustment (left) compared to type with spacing adjustment (right)

    Note:

    The Spacing value has no effect on characters positioned on straight segments. To change spacing of characters anywhere along the path, select them, and then apply kerning or tracking.

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