Text Formatting in Illustrator

October, 22 2019

The Guru (not me) has come back and has more lessons to share. Some shortcuts that I have learned during his teachings are:

Control + Shift + L = Left Align Text

Control + Shift + R = Right Align Text

Control + Shift + C = Centre Align Text


One thing that the Guru stressed is that there is a difference between:

  • Typing straight into Illustrator
  • Clicking and drawing a text box first and then typing into it.

This is because the latter has greater degree of control over how the text is formatted. In the latter, one can use the above-mentioned shortcuts to get the text formatted in a way that can be aligned to the correct proportions and paragraph styles. 

The only exception to this is for text for a label or single image caption, which would be single line and therefore you may click and type straight into illustrator. The paragraph panel is an extremely powerful tool. The guru stressed that you should highlight the text from top to bottom and left to right, to ensure that you are highlighting all the text so that your formatting stays consistent. The guru mentioned that this is a common mistake that he sees many junior designers make.

When you’re in a text box, click inside the text box and then get the type tool out by pressing the Key “T” on your keyboard. Double-tap the enter key in order to force a hard return which essentially forces Adobe Illustrator to place the text after the cursor on a new line, this is done through a paragraph space, which can separate even a heading from the body text. Alternatively, one could press Alt and drag the text box inwards in order for it to shrink, in order to constrain the proportions forcing the text box to move the existing text onto the second line. This results in less overall control of the formatting of the fonts, however it’s all down to personal preference, as both achieve a similar result.

The line of text that you typed in the text box will give you greater control over that text that’s set on more than one line.

Unless you particularly want to control the way text is formatted, you should set the leading to auto at all times, and keep horizontal scale and vertical scale at 100%, the purpose of this is to avoid the text looking funny or different to the other text on your art-board due to the scaling differences whether they’re intentional or not.

To tell whether text boxes are at the same level you can measure and check using the built-in ruler tool. This is a good and fast method to show and hide the rulers to see if they contain the same dimensions.

  • Keyboard shortcut = Control ;

In conclusion, we sometimes underestimate text and forget how important it actually is. Text has a huge importance on the final output in regards to the way it’s perceived by the user and on the way the text looks and feels. Using these tips you will be armed with the knowledge needed to create some great formatted text-based work.

View all posts
New call-to-action