How To Expand Text In Adobe Illustrator [3 Simple Steps] (2024)

Wondering How to Expand Text In Adobe Illustrator

When you Expand text in Adobe Illustrator, you are converting it from text to a vector object. It gives the same result as creating outlines on text or fonts.

As a shape, it may be readable since they are still shown as letters, but they can’t be edited as text with the Type Tool unless you undo the actions until they are back to their original format.

In this article, you’ll discover everything you need to know about Expanding text in Adobe Illustrator — from the difference between Create Outlines and Expanding text, why you need to expand text, and how to do it.Let’s dive in!

How to Expand Text in Adobe Illustrator

What’s The Difference Between Create Outlines And Expand In Illustrator?

Create Outlines is meant to only convert text to shapes, but not able to do anything on shapes. Expand can be used to convert text to shapes and also convert strokes or outlines into shapes.

If you only want to embed text or convert it to vector format that doesn’t reduce its DPI when enlarged, you can use both the Create Outlines and Expand functions. But if you wish to turn a single path stroke into a shape, you will have to use the Expand tool.

The difference between Create Outlines and Expand text in Illustrator is seen only when you apply them to text with outline strokes. Create Outlines cannot change or do anything to the strokes on the text, but Expand can expand a stroke such that the path becomes a shape. Here’s an example:

How To Expand Text In Adobe Illustrator [3 Simple Steps] (1)
How To Expand Text In Adobe Illustrator [3 Simple Steps] (2)
💡 For a complete guide on how to make text bigger, check outHow To Enlarge Text In Adobe Illustrator.
How to Expand Text in Adobe Illustrator

Why do I need to expand text in Adobe Illustrator?

Similar to Create Outlines on text, Expand text also converts the text to vector format. This allows you to share your Illustrator file with others without having to transfer the fonts to them. There’s also no risk of them opening an Ai file with missing fonts.

Expand text also allows you to apply special effects and styles that cannot be applied to regular text objects. Here are some scenarios that will require you to Expand text:

Scenario 1: Expand Text When Resizing Text with a stroked outline

If you have a text object that has an outline stroke and you want the stroke to change in size proportionately while you change the whole text size, you will want to expand the text first. Expanding the text with single path strokes converts outline strokes to vector shapes.

Otherwise, the stroke thickness will stay the same even if the text becomes bigger or smaller.

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How To Expand Text In Adobe Illustrator [3 Simple Steps] (4)

Scenario 2: Change The Font Design

You will want to convert your text to a path with anchor points so that you can customize the look of the text which otherwise can’t be done when it’s an editable live text. You can use the Pen Tool and Direct Selection Tool (the white arrow) from the Toolbar to select individual path points. This is one of the ways on how to manipulate text in Illustrator.

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Scenario 3: Embed Text With Envelope Distort Effect

You will want to Expand text if you’ve used any effect like the Warp feature from the Envelope Distort option and want to embed the font onto the file. The Expand tool helps to convert it to a vector format.

Create Outlines will be able to convert it, but it will shift the converted text and you will have to adjust it to get it back to the original position. The Expand tool comes into good use here for text to keep it in position.

How to Expand Text in Adobe Illustrator

How to Expand Text in Adobe Illustrator (3 Simple Steps)

Get started by opening Adobe Illustrator on your computer. Then create a new document by selecting File > New from the menu bar. Choose the size and other settings for your document and click “Create.” Next, select the Type Tool from the Toolbar and type out your text on the artboard. Adjust your font size via the Character panel and the fill color from the Swatches panel.

Then, follow the simple steps on how to Expand text in Adobe Illustrator:

Step 1: Select the text

The first thing to do is to use the Selection Tool (the black arrow) to select the text you want to expand by clicking on it once.

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Step 2: Convert Text to Vector

Next, open the Expand options, by selecting Object on the top menu bar, then select Expand. Or select Object > Expand.

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Make sure Object and Fill are selected in the Expand section. Then click the OK button.

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You can also convert the text to vector by using Create Outlines. Select Type in the top menu and select Create Outlines. Or go to Type > Create Outlines.

Step 3: Convert Stroke to Shape

Select Object > Expand one more time. This time, make sure Fill and Stroke are selected. Then click the OK button.

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You have now successfully expanded text in Adobe Illustrator!

Apply Special Effects or Styles

If you want to go a step further to adjust the shape, select and Ungroup the whole object by going to Object in the top menu and selecting Ungroup. Or select Object > Ungroup. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Shift + Command + G for Mac.

Or Shift + Ctrl + G for Windows.

Repeat the ungrouping step once more.

Try moving the ungrouped layers. You will see that you can separate the filled stroke or outline shape from the main object.

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You can now apply any special effects or styles to it. You can use the various tools in Illustrator, such as the Pathfinder tool, to create unique shapes and designs.

How to Expand Text in Adobe Illustrator

Expand Text In Adobe Illustrator: Tips & FAQ

Tips for Expanding Text in Adobe Illustrator

Here are some tips to keep in mind while expanding text in Adobe Illustrator:

  • Always create a backup of your original text before expanding it, because once expanded, it can’t be edited like live text.
  • When expanding text, make sure to ungroup it to edit individual elements.

Why Can’t I Expand Text In Illustrator?

There could be several reasons why you are unable to Expand text in Adobe Illustrator. Here’s why:

1. The text was not selected: If the text is not selected, the Expand option will be grayed out. Click on the text once with the Selection Tool then try to select the Expand option again.

2. The text is part of a group: If the text is part of a group, you will not be able to expand it directly. You need to ungroup the text first. Select the text and then choose Object > Ungroup from the menu.

3. The font is not supported: Some fonts may not be supported by Illustrator and cannot be expanded. Try changing the font to a supported one and then Expand it.

4. The text is already expanded: If the text is already expanded, you will not be able to Expand it further. Check if the text has already been expanded by selecting it and looking at the Appearance panel. If the panel shows no options for expanding the text, then it has already been expanded.

How Do I Stretch Part of Text In Illustrator?

The best way to stretch part of a text in Illustrator is to first convert the text to a vector object by clicking on it once, go to Type > Create Outlines. Then, switch to the Direct Selection Tool (shortcut key is ‘A‘). Click on any of the path points and drag it to stretch that part of the text.

Where is the expand option in Illustrator?

The Expand option in Adobe Illustrator is located within the Control Panel at the top of the application window. You can use it to convert object fills and strokes into actual objects or to convert text into shapes. Here’s how to find and use the Expand feature:

  1. Select the object or text that you want to expand.
  2. Go to the main menu at the top of your screen.
  3. Click on Object. This will open a dropdown menu.
  4. From the dropdown menu, select Expand. A new dialog box will appear.
  5. In the dialog box, you can choose whether to expand the object’s fill, stroke, or both. You can also control the settings related to how your object is expanded.
  6. After making your selections, click OK to apply the changes.

Please note that if the Expand option is greyed out, it means the selected object or text cannot be expanded, probably because it has already been expanded, or it’s a type of object that doesn’t support this feature.

Final Thoughts: How To Expand Text In Adobe Illustrator

The Expand tool in Adobe Illustrator can be a useful technique for creating unique designs and styles for both text and objects. By following the steps mentioned above, you can quickly Expand your text and apply any effect or style to it. Remember to keep a backup of your original text and avoid scaling it after expanding it. With these tips and tricks, you can take your design game to the next level.

To start, discussing Adobe Illustrator's text expansion involves understanding its intricacies, including converting text into vector objects. Expanding text means transforming it into editable vector shapes, offering benefits like retaining design integrity when sharing files without font dependencies. Moreover, it facilitates applying unique effects and styles inaccessible to standard text objects.

When distinguishing between "Create Outlines" and "Expand" functions in Illustrator, it boils down to their capabilities with text strokes. "Create Outlines" merely converts text to shapes but lacks the capacity to alter strokes, while "Expand" not only transforms text into shapes but also modifies strokes, converting them into vector shapes. This distinction is evident when dealing with outlined strokes on text.

Expanding text serves various purposes:

  1. Resizing Text with Stroke Outlines: Expanding text becomes essential when altering text size with outlined strokes, ensuring proportional stroke adjustments.
  2. Font Design Modification: Converting text into paths enables customization via anchor points, allowing manipulation of text appearances.
  3. Effect Embedding: Text subjected to effects like Warp via Envelope Distort needs expansion to embed fonts without shifting the text's position.

The process of expanding text involves three primary steps in Adobe Illustrator:

  1. Selecting Text: Utilize the Selection Tool to choose the text for expansion.
  2. Converting to Vector: Access the "Expand" option under the Object menu to transform the text into vector shapes. Ensure to select the desired attributes for expansion, such as fill and stroke.
  3. Further Modifications: Ungroup the expanded text to edit individual elements and apply additional effects or styles using Illustrator's tools.

Troubleshooting why text expansion might be hindered includes factors like unselected text, grouped elements, unsupported fonts, or previously expanded text.

Stretching specific parts of text involves converting text into a vector object and using the Direct Selection Tool to manipulate individual path points for stretching.

The "Expand" option in Illustrator resides within the Control Panel, accessible by selecting the object or text and navigating through the Object menu. The option is context-sensitive, becoming unavailable if the text or object is already expanded or if it doesn't support this feature.

In conclusion, mastering text expansion in Adobe Illustrator empowers designers to create intricate, scalable designs. It's a pivotal technique allowing for text manipulation, effect embedding, and design enhancement, enabling users to elevate their creative endeavors.

How To Expand Text In Adobe Illustrator [3 Simple Steps] (2024)


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