Area Type Illustrator Basics

This video tutorial demonstrates some Area Type basics in Illustrator. The topics we’ll cover include: using the Type Tool to create a block of text, selecting type, using the Character and Paragraph panels, scaling type using the bounding box, and using the Scale Tool for scaling a block of text.

Area Type Illustrator Basics

Area Type refers to paragraphs or blocks of text, in contrast to Point Type which refers to individual lines of type, like you would use for a name or title.

Begin by setting your Workspace:

CS3 and earlier versions: Window> Workspace> Type

CS4 and later versions: Workspace Control Button > Typography

Using the Type Tool

To begin creating a block of text with this tool, click and drag out a text box with the tool then begin typing, the type will flow within the bounds of the box you created. You can resize the box by toggling to the Arrow Tool (command/control key) and dragging the bounding box handles. You can also paste type copied to the clipboard from another document into the text box. A red plus sign at the lower right of the text box indicates that there is more text in the selection than fits within the bounds of the text box.

2 Ways to Select Type

Select the text box with the Arrow Tool – this allows you to change all the type in the box.

Drag a selection of type inside the text box with the Type Tool – this allows you to change a smaller selection of text.

Using The Character and Paragraph Panels

Select a text box with the Arrow Tool and use the Character and Paragraph Panels to change the point size, spacing, alignment options, etc. for the text. Temporary Character and Paragraph panels can be accessed on the top Control Bar when you have type selected, by clicking the links for Character and Paragraph.

Scaling Area Type Using the Panels

You can scale the characters and spacing in a selection of text horizontally and vertically using the Character Panel. The options for scaling type are located in the lower section of the panel (select Show Options in the Character Panel Options Menu if you don’t see the scaling options).

Scaling Area Type With the Scale Tool

The Scale Tool allows you to scale a block of text on the fly – changing the scaling of the shape containing the text and the individual font characters and spacing simultaneously. Holding down the shift key while using the Scale Tool constrains everything to original proportions.

Non-Rectangular Text Boxes

Any closed path can be used as a container for Area Type, just hover over the path with the Type Tool, and the Type Tool automatically becomes the Area Type Tool, click to place a cursor. Converting a shape to a container for text will override the fill and stroke settings for the shape, and set them to none.