Illustrator Tutorial: Arching Text and other Warping Options

I worked with Photoshop for years before I did anything with Illustrator.  In fact, for a long time I avoided Adobe Illustrator.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to learn how to use it.  Illustrator was just so different from Photoshop it seemed.  But once I was finally forced to start using Illustrator I learned that it is actually quite similar to Photoshop.  Many of the tools are similar, and most of the tool bars are the same.  There are definitely advantages of each.

There are some things that are way different however.  Sometimes it is frustrating trying to figure out the “new way” of accomplishing a task that seems so simple in Photoshop.  One of these cases is with arching text.  In Photoshop it is easy to arch text using the Text Tool, so that is naturally how I tried to arch text in Illustrator.  It is very different however.  This is how to arch text in Adobe Illustrator.Select the Text Tool from the Tools Menu. 

Text Tool

Write the text you want to arch.  You will need to adjust the font and size of your text now before you arch it, so make the necessary changes now using the Type Menu.  For this example I am going to use Garamond font at 72 pt.  I am also going to stretch the font 140% tall.  You can do this by clicking on Character in the Type Menu.  The Character Panel becomes available with more options for adjusting text.  Generally I have found that arched text looks better when it is stretched taller.

Character Panel

Once the text looks how you want it, choose the Selection Tool which is the black arrow on the Tools Menu. 

Selection Tool

Click on the text to select it.  A blue box with appear around the text.

Selected Text

In the File Menu select Effect>Warp>Arch. 

 Effect, Warp, Arch

The Warp Options Window will pop up.  I am going to Arch my text 20%.

Warp Options

As you can see, there are several other options here for warping your text.  You can Arc, Bulge, Shell, Flag, Wave, Fish, Rise, Fisheye, Inflate, Squeeze, or Twist your text.  If you insert a negative number for the Bend in the Warp Options Window the text will arch downward instead of upward.  You can also distort the arch effect by changing the percentages in the Distortion section.  Again a negative value will distort the text in the opposite direction a positive value will.

If you select Preview in the Warp Options Window, you will be able to see how your warping selection will affect your text before you apply it.  If your text did not turn out how you want it, don’t worry, you can still make changes.  To change the effect simply go to Effect>Warp>Arch again.  You can also select the Text Tool and make changes to your text.

Arched Text


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