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Creating Text on a Path in Illustrator

By Melissa Scroggins, Shutterstock Submitter

Often a designer needs to have text follow an open path or a closed path (shape) to create a design element which involves type. Text-on-a-path can be used to create stickers, emblems, and awards. In this beginner level tutorial, we’ll examine how to have text follow a path or shape using Adobe Illustrator (AI).

Method 1: Text on an Open Path

Draw a straight line using the Pen Tool (P) from the Tools Panel. Then, select the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift + C) and drag the handles of one anchor point to a 45 degree angle. This will create a small arc.

Next, hold the mouse down on the Type Tool (T) in the Tools Panel to view the flyout menu. Select the Type on a Path Tool and click on the top of the arc in the artboard.

From the top menu, choose Window > Type > Paragraph. In the Paragraph Menu, selectAlign Left. Type a phrase and the text will begin on the left side of the arc and follow the path.

To move the text on the path, select the Direct Selection Tool (A) from the Tools Panel and click on the left bracket (near the anchor point). A small perpendicular icon will appear.

Hold Cmd (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) and drag the bracket to move the text along the path. To flip the text to the opposite side of the path, drag the perpendicular icon to the other side of the path. This time, don’t hold down the Cmd (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) keys.

*Note: In the example, the font size has been changed to a smaller size to give room to move the text on the path.

The alignment of the text on the path can also be changed. Choose Type > Type on a Path > Type on a Path Options. In the Type on a Path Options window, there is a drop down menu for Align to Path that includes: Ascender, Descender, Center, and Baseline. TheAscender (1) option moves the text below the path and aligned with the top of the text. TheDescender (2) option moves the text above the path and aligned with the bottom of the text. The Center (3) option has the path running through the halfway point of the text. TheBaseline (4) option is the default and aligns the text to the base path.

Method 2: Text on a Shape

Draw a circle using the Ellipse Tool (L) from the Tools Panel. Select the Type on a Path Toolas before in Method 1.

Click on the top center of the circle and begin typing. Again, use the brackets and perpendicular icon to drag the text along the circle or flip the text inside the circle.

Almost any shape will work! Repeat the same steps to create text on a square, polygon, or even a spiral (hidden tool on the flyout menu for the Line Segment Tool (\) in the Tools Panel). Adjust the size of the font based on the shape and have fun experimenting!