Creating Type along a Path in Illustrator

When using Illustrator you can easily find yourself frustrated after several hours of fruitless work trying to accomplish what should be a simple task. Illustartor is a very powerful tool, but can be a bit daunting of a program when you don’t have someone to show you the simple little tricks that are almost necessary for a fluid workflow. One such task can be typing along a path.

The first step in typing along a path in Illustrator is having a path to type on.


To type along a path, you need to select the “type tool” for this function. To do so, move your cursor over the “type button” on your “toolbar”. Click and hold the little black arrow on the bottom right corner of that button. A fly-out menu should appear that will look similar to the one in the image below. To type along a path you will want to select the “type tool” that has the “T” on top of a path.


With this tool selected you will want to click somewhere along your path. The location you click is where the type will begin. If your text is left justified, then where you click will be your left anchor point. If your text is center justified, then your click position will be the center anchor point where your text will originate from.  Don’t feel to worried about clicking in just the right spot. Your text justification and anchor points can be moved after you have placed your type. We’ll get to that in another step or two. So, with the appropriate text tool selected, when you click on your path it should change colors and a text cursor should appear.


You can now begin typing.

Picture 5

Now lets say you wanted the text on the other side of the path. You may notice the little thin blue line sticking up from somewhere along the path. Actually, you will see three lines, your left and right margins, along with a control center point. With your direct selection tool (the little white arrow) you can click on the center point. Once you have clicked the line, you can hold it, move it, and flip it to the other side of the path. This control line allows you to move the text and more importantly allows you to control what side of the path you want to your text to be on. The left and right lines can also be moved allowing you to modify your right and left margin areas.


Now as long as you do not outline your text (not stroking, but outlining, removing all text editing capabilities, thereby turning the text into a shape without any font information, CMD-SHIFT-O) you can revisit and modify your text positioning at any point. Once you have your text where you like it, well, you’re done! You’ve successfully typed along a path and modified its positioniong to your needs.


I’ve hopefully made this quite clear and easy to understand. If I haven’t been clear, or if you would like any of the process elaborated on, please feel free to ask.


One response to “Creating Type along a Path in Illustrator

  1. time to update your version of illustrator, ha