Import and export text

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Importing text

You can import text into your artwork from a file that was created in another application. Illustrator supports the following formats for importing text:

  • Microsoft® Word for Windows 97, 98, 2000, 2002, 2003, and 2007

  • Microsoft Word for Mac OS X, 2004, and 2008

  • RTF (Rich Text Format)

  • Plain text (ASCII) with ANSI, Unicode, Shift JIS, GB2312, Chinese Big 5, Cyrillic, GB18030, Greek, Turkish, Baltic, and Central European encoding

    One advantage of importing text from a file, rather than copying and pasting it, is that imported text retains its character and paragraph formatting. For example, text from an RTF file retains its font and style specifications in Illustrator. You can also set encoding and formatting options when importing text from a plain text file.

    Note: When importing text from Microsoft Word and RTF files, make sure that the fonts used in the file are available on your system. Missing fonts and font styles—including fonts that have the same name but different formats (Type 1, TrueType, or CID)—may cause unexpected results. On Japanese systems, differences in character sets may prevent text that was entered in Windows from appearing on-screen in Mac OS.

Import text into a new file

  1. Choose File > Open.

  2. Select the text file you want to open , and click Open.

Import text into an existing file

  1. Choose File > Place. Select the text file you want to import, and click Place.

  2. If you are placing a plain text (.txt) file, do the following, and then click OK:

    • Specify the character set and platform that were used to create the file.

    • Select an Extra Carriage Returns option to determine how Illustrator processes extra carriage returns in the file.

    • Select the Extra Spaces option if you want Illustrator to replace strings of spaces in the file with tabs. Enter the number of spaces to be replaced by a tab.

Exporting text

Export text to a text file

  1. Using a type tool, select the text you want to export.
  2. Choose File > Export.

  3. In the Export dialog box, select a location for the file and enter a filename.
  4. Choose Text Format (TXT) as the file format.

  5. Enter the name of the new text file in the name box, and click Save (Windows) or Export (Mac OS).

  6. Choose a platform and encoding method, and click Export.

Tag text for export to Flash

You can export text from Illustrator to Adobe Flash in a variety of ways. You can export text as a static, dynamic, or input text. Dynamic text also allows you to specify a URL for the site that will open when a user clicks the text. For more information about dynamic and input text, see Flash Help.

Flash text can contain point text, area text, or text on a path; all text is converted to area text in SWF format. Bounding boxes remain the same and any transformations applied to them are preserved in SWF format. Threaded text objects are exported individually —if you want to tag and export all objects in a thread, make sure that you select and tag each one. Overflow text is imported into Flash Player intact.

Once you tag text, you can import it into Flash by either exporting the text from Illustrator or copying and pasting the text.


Tagging or untagging text does not change the original text in Illustrator. You can change the tag at anytime without altering the original.

  1. Select a text object and click Flash Text in the Control panel.

  2. In the Flash Text panel, select one of the following from the Type menu:

    Static Text

    Exports text to Flash Player as a regular text object that cannot be changed dynamically or programmatically in Flash. The content and appearance of static text are determined when you author the text.

    Dynamic Text

    Exports the text as Dynamic text, which can update programmatically at run time through Action script commands and tags. You can use dynamic text for sports scores, stock quotes, news headlines, and similar purposes in which you want the text to update dynamically.

    Input Text

    Exports the text as Input text, which is the same as Dynamic text, but also allows users to edit the text in Flash Player. You use input text for forms, surveys, or other similar purposes in which you want users to input or edit text.

  3. (Optional) Enter an instance name for the text object. If you do not enter an instance name, the default name of the text object in the Layers panel is used in Flash to manipulate the text object.
  4. Specify a Rendering Type. The Use Device Fonts option converts glyphs to device fonts (anti-aliasing is not available for device fonts).


    Font names are normally used verbatim and passed directly to the playback platform’s font system to locate the font. However, there are several special indirect font names that are mapped to different font names depending on the playback platform. These indirect mappings are hard-coded into each platform-specific port of Flash Player, and the fonts for each platform are chosen from among system default fonts or other fonts that are likely to be available. As a secondary consideration, the indirect mappings are specified to maximize the similarity of indirect fonts across platforms.


    Optimizes text for output to animation.


    Optimizes text for readability.


    Lets you specify custom values for Thickness and Sharpness of text.

    Use Device Fonts

    Converts glyphs to device fonts. Anti-aliasing is not available for device fonts.

    _sans, _serif, and _typewriter

    Map western indirect fonts across platforms to ensure a similar appearance.

    Gothic, Tohaba (Gothic Mono), and Mincho

    Map Japanese indirect fonts across platforms to ensure a similar appearance.


    For more information on indirect fonts, see the Flash specification document, which you can find on

  5. (Optional) Select any of the following:


    Makes the exported text selectable in Flash.

    Show Border Around Text 

    Makes the text borders visible in Flash.

    Edit Character Options 

    Opens the Character Embedding dialog box so that you can embed specific characters in the text object. You can choose the characters you want to embed from the provided list, type the characters in the Include These Characters text box, click Auto Fill to automatically select characters that need to be embedded, or do any combination of these.

  6. (Optional) If you tagged the text as Dynamic text, you can specify the URL of the page you want to open when the text is clicked, and then choose a target window to specify where you want to load the page:


    Specifies the current frame in the current window.


    Specifies a new window.


    Specifies the parent of the current frame.


    Specifies the top-level frame in the current window.

  7. If you tagged the text as Input Text, specify the Maximum Characters that can be typed into the text object.

Once you tag text as Flash text, you can select all such text at once by choosing Select > Object > Flash Dynamic Text or Flash Input Text.

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