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Five Adobe InDesign CS5 Tips in Five Days: Tip 1 - Converting Text in Multiple Frames into Outlines

By  Apr 12, 2010

Topics: Design, Adobe InDesign

If you’re an Adobe® InDesign® user, you’re probably familiar with the Create Outlines command in the Type menu. It lets you convert highlighted text characters into editable shapes. What you may not know is that in addition to working with highlighted text, the Create Outlines command is also available when one or more text frames are selected. In this situation, choosing Convert Outlines will convert all of the text in all selected frames into outlines. (It’s worth noting that the Convert Outlines command does not work with text frames that are part of a group. If you want to create outlines of text in a frame that’s part of a group, you’ll need to ungroup the objects [Object > Ungroup] before you create outlines.)

1. Select one or more text frames.

2. Choose Type > Create Outlines.


After conversion, the characters in each text frame are combined into a group. If you want to ungroup the characters in a group, click any of the characters with the Selection tool, and then choose Object > Ungroup.

After you create outlines, you can use the Direct Selection tool to modify the shapes of individual characters. You can also use other transformation features—such as scale, rotate, and shear—to change the appearance of characters.


The down side of converting text into editable outlines is that the text is not editable after conversion. The up side is that not only can you change the shape of individual characters by dragging anchor points and segments with the Direct Selection tool, the original font applied to the converted text is not needed to print the outlines. If you convert all text in a document into outlines, you remove the necessity of having the fonts installed for proper printing; however, this is usually not practical for long or complex documents.