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How to Outline Text for Print

Kyle Irwin

How to Outline Text

It’s an inevitability that print design will incorporate text in some way or another, and fonts make it easy to change your text to suit your design! When placing text in a design program like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, the actual font file lives outside of the design program. When “reading” the file, Photoshop or Illustrator will actually reference the font file on your computer in order to properly display your font. Great! Right?

Not quite. If you plan on submitting your design file to a print shop, it might be the case that your file will be opened on a computer that doesn’t have the same fonts installed as the ones on your computer. When the print shop’s computer can’t find the proper font file, it will replace it with a generic one, resulting in your design getting messed up.

Thankfully, there is a quick and easy way to ensure that your text stays exactly the way you designed it: outlined text. By outlining text in your print file, you convert the fonts to vector shapes, which preserves their appearance since Photoshop/Illustrator no longer requires the font file.

How to outline text in Photoshop

In Adobe Photoshop, you can outline your text by converting to shapes. Keep in mind that after you’ve converted your text to vector shapes it will no longer be editable. Make sure your copy is finalized before outlining text!

1. In your open Photoshop project, select all text layers (any layer with a “T” logo by the name of the layer)

Image showing how to select text layers in Adobe Photoshop.

Zoomed in image of a text layer properly selected in Adobe Photoshop.

2. At the top toolbar, click “Type > Convert to Shape”.

Image showing how to select "Convert to Shape" in Adobe Photoshop.

Zoomed in image showing that the type in a layer has been converted to shape.

The “T” next to your text layers should now be gone, ensuring they are no longer fonts. Save your project as a PDF and your text is now readable on any computer. That’s it!

How to Outline Text In Illustrator

In Adobe Illustrator, the steps are slightly different but the idea is exactly the same! Again, make sure your text is finalized (and all typos have been fixed!) because you won’t be able to alter the text content once you’ve outlined your text.

1. In your open Illustrator project, click all of the text layers (or simply the text itself on your artboard).

Image showing how to select text in Adobe Illustrator.

2. Click “Type > Create Outlines” at the top toolbar.

Image showing how to select "Create Outlines" in Adobe Illustrator.

Aaaand you’re done, good job! Easy right? Save as a PDF, and your text is no longer interpreted as a font, but rather as outlines. Your local print shop will thank you for it.