Create type on a path

You can format text to flow along the edge of an open or closed path of any shape. Apply options and effects to type on a path: Slide it along the path, flip it over to the other side of the path, or use the shape of the path to distort the characters. Type on a path has an in port and an out port just like other text frames, so you can thread text to and from it.

You can include only one line of type on a path, so any type that won’t fit on the path will be overset (hidden), unless you’ve threaded it to another path or text frame. You can add inline or above line anchored objects to type on a path. You can’t create type on a path using compound paths, such as those that result from using the Create Outlines command.

Type on a path
Type on a path

A. Start bracket B. In port C. Center bracket D. End bracket E. Out port indicating threaded text 
  1. Select the Type On A Path tool . (Click and hold the Type tool to display a menu containing the Type On A Path tool.)
  2. Position the pointer on the path until a small plus sign appears next to the pointer , and then follow these steps:
    • To type using default settings, click the path. An insertion point appears at the start of the path by default. If the current default paragraph settings specify an indent, or any alignment other than left, the insertion point may appear somewhere other than at the start of the path.

    • To confine the text to a specific portion of the path, click the path where you would like the text to start, and drag along the path to where you want the text to end, then release the mouse. (For information about changing the start and end position of text, see Adjust the type on a path position.)

    Changing location of type on path
    Changing location of type on path

    Note:

    If neither clicking nor dragging seems to work, make sure that the small plus sign appears next to the Type On A Path tool.

  3. Type the text you want. If you clicked to place the insertion point on the path, type will appear along the entire length of the path. If you dragged, type will appear only along the length you dragged.

Note:

If the path was originally visible, it remains visible after you add type to it. To hide the path, select it with the Selection or Direct Selection tool, and then apply a fill and stroke of None.

Edit or delete type on a path

You can apply character and paragraph options to type on a path. However, paragraph rules and paragraph spacing options have no effect on type on a path. The alignment setting in the Paragraph panel controls the alignment of type on a path.

Edit and format path-type characters

  1. Using the Type On A Path tool, do one of the following:
    • To add an insertion point, click between any two characters in the type on a path.

    • To select characters, drag through the type on a path.

  2. Edit and format the text as needed.

Delete type from a path

  1. Using the Selection tool  or Direct Selection tool , select one or more type-on-a-path objects.
  2. Choose Type > Type on a Path > Delete Type From Path.

If the path text is threaded, type moves to the next threaded text frame or type-on-a-path object. If the path text isn’t threaded, text is deleted. The path remains, but loses any type-on-a-path attributes—all brackets, in and out ports, and threading properties are removed.

Note:

If the path’s fill and stroke are set to None, the path is invisible after you delete the type. To make the path visible, press the D key immediately after you choose Type > Type on a Path > Delete Type From Path. This applies the default fill and stroke to the selected path.

Tighten character spacing around sharp turns and acute angles

  1. Using the Selection tool or the Type tool, select the type on a path.
  2. Choose Type > Type on a Path > Options, or double-click the Type On A Path tool.
  3. For Spacing, type a value in points. Higher values remove the extra space from between characters positioned on sharp curves or angles.
Type on a path before (left) and after (right) applying spacing adjustment
Type on a path before (left) and after (right) applying spacing adjustment

Note:

The Spacing value compensates for the way characters fan out around a curve or sharp angle. It 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.

Adjust the type on a path position

You can change the start or end position of type on a path, slide type, and change the path position in other ways.

Change the start or end position of type on a path

  1. Using the Selection tool , select the type on a path.
  2. Position the pointer over the path type’s start or end bracket until a small icon appears next to the pointer . Do not position it over the bracket’s in port or out port.

    Note:

    Zoom in on the path to more easily select the bracket.

  3. Drag the start or end bracket along the path.
Drag to reposition boundary of type on a path
Position the pointer on start or end bracket, and then drag to reposition boundary of type on a path.

Note:

If you apply a paragraph indent value, it’s measured from the start and end brackets.

Slide type along a path

  1. Using the Selection tool , select the type on a path.
  2. Position the pointer over the path type’s center bracket until a center bracket icon appears next to the pointer .

    Note:

    Zoom in on the path to more easily select the bracket.

  3. Drag the center bracket along the path.

Note:

The text won’t move if both the start and end brackets are at the ends of the path. To create some space for dragging text, drag the start or end bracket away from the ends of the path.

Flip type on a path

  1. Click the Selection tool , and select the type on a path.
  2. Position the pointer over the type’s center bracket until a center bracket icon appears next to the pointer .
  3. Drag the center bracket across the path.
    Drag the center bracket across the path
    Position pointer on center bracket, and then drag across path to flip type.

    You can also flip type on a path using a dialog box. Using the Selection tool or the Type tool, select the type on a path. Choose Type > Type on a Path > Options. Select the Flip option, and then click OK.

Apply an effect to type on a path

  1. Using the Selection tool or the Type tool, select the type on a path.
  2. Choose Type > Type on a Path > Options, or double-click the Type On A Path tool.
  3. Choose one of the following in the Effect menu, and then click OK:
    • To keep the center of each character’s baseline parallel to the path’s tangent, choose Rainbow. This is the default setting.
    Type on a path effects
    Type on a path effects

    A. Rainbow effect B. Skew effect C. 3D Ribbon effect D. Stair Step effect E. Gravity effect 
    • To keep characters’ vertical edges perfectly vertical regardless of the path shape, while letting characters’ horizontal edges follow the path, choose Skew. The resulting horizontal distortion is useful for text that appears to follow waves or go around a cylinder, as on a beverage can label.

    • To keep characters’ horizontal edges perfectly horizontal regardless of the path shape, while keeping each character’s vertical edge perpendicular to the path, choose 3D Ribbon.

    • To keep the left edge of each character’s baseline on the path without rotating any characters, choose Stair Step.

    • To keep the center of each character’s baseline on the path while keeping each vertical edge in line with the path’s center point, choose Gravity. You can control this option’s perspective effect by adjusting the arc of the text’s path.

Add anchored objects to type on a path

  1. Using the Type tool or the Type On A Path tool, click an insertion point in the text where you want the anchor for the object to appear.
  2. Add the anchored object. You can add inline or above line anchored objects or frames to the path. (See Anchored objects.)

Note:

The options available for above line anchored objects in a text path differ slightly from options for anchored objects in a regular text frame: the Alignment option is relative to the anchored object marker and the Space Before option is not available.

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