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Add basic formatting to text

Change the color and appearance of characters

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Learn how to use and apply basic formatting options to enhance the appearance of text in Adobe Illustrator.

Understanding how to manipulate and modify text using formatting options helps elevate your design. You can use these powerful formatting techniques in Adobe Illustrator to streamline your workflow and create polished artwork.

For example, you can use Find and Replace to substitute specific text within your artwork. Paste without formatting allows you to paste any copied text into your document while maintaining its properties. 

Once you've mastered the art of basic text formatting, you can use advanced text formatting techniques to add stunning effects to your text.

Read on to learn how to use these basic formatting options to achieve your desired design outcome.

Character panel overview

You can use the Character panel in Adobe Illustrator to finely tune and customize the appearance of text in your artwork. To start formatting individual characters in your document, select Window > Type > Character.

When the Type tool is active or you've selected any text, you can use the options in the Control panel to format any characters.

Character panel
Character panel

A. Panel menu B. Font C. Font Style D. Leading E. Tracking F. Horizontal Scale G. Character Rotation H. Anti-Aliasing Method I. Font Size J. Kerning K. Vertical Scale L. Baseline Shift 

A. Font B. Font Style C. Font Size D. Align left E. Align center F. Align right 

Only the most commonly used options are visible in your Character panel. To show all options, choose Show Options from the Options menu.

Select characters, type objects, or type paths, and apply fills, strokes, and more effects to your text in Adobe Illustrator. The text remains editable as long as you don’t rasterize it.

Underline or strike through text

You can underline or strikethrough text to highlight specific sections within your document.

For example, underlining key points in a document can make your text stand out. Striking through text is also an effective way to indicate deleted or removed content when reviewing or editing text in a document.

  1. Select the text that you want to underline or strike through. If you don’t select any text, the setting applies to any new text you create.

  2. Select Underline  from the Character panel to underline type.

  3. Select Strikethrough  from the Character panel to strike through type.

Format case and capitalization styles

Formatting text in all caps or small caps can be a great way to enhance your text styles. You can explore the various case and capitalization options to create stylish typography in Adobe Illustrator.

Apply all caps and small caps

  1. Select the characters or type objects that you want to change. If you don’t select any text, the setting applies to any new text you create.

  2. Choose All Caps or Small Caps from the Character panel menu.

    Letter cap types
    Regular capital letters (top) compared to small-cap letters (bottom)

  3. Choose File > Document Setup to specify the size for synthesized Small Caps.

Change capitalization styles

You can change the capitalization style of text in your document to quickly modify your text's appearance.

Select the characters or type objects that you want to modify. Navigate to the Type menu > Change Case and choose from one of the following options:

  • UPPERCASE: Convert all characters to uppercase.
  • lowercase: Convert all characters to lowercase.
  • Title Case: Capitalize the first letter of each word.
  • Sentence case: Capitalize the first letter of each sentence.

Pro tips and tricks

  • When you change the color of a type object, Adobe Illustrator overwrites the attributes of individual characters in the type object.
  • The default weight of an Underline and Strikethrough depends on the size of the type.
  • The default value for Small Caps is 70%.

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If you have a question to ask or an idea to share, come and participate in Adobe Illustrator Community. We'd love to hear from you.

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