How to Fill a Shape with Text in Adobe Illustrator

Have you ever created a shape in Illustrator but wanted to put text inside of it? It can look complicated but once you understand how to work the type and distortion tools, it’s pretty simple to do!

My name is Aly, and I have been a graphic designer for over five years. I work with text in Adobe Illustrator on a daily basis, including putting text in a shape. 

In this article, I will be showing you two easy ways to fill a shape with text in Adobe Illustrator. 

Method 1: Using Type Tools

Use the type tools to create text inside of your shapes without distorting any text. 

Step 1: Select the shape you want to fill in the text and choose the Type Tool (keyboard shortcut T) on the toolbar. 

Step 2: With the type tool selected, hover your mouse over a part of the outline of your shape until you see it highlighted and say Path. Once you see that, go ahead and click. 

Step 3: Once you click on the path, a bunch of default lorem ipum text will fill your shape, make sure the text is highlighted and replace it with your own text. It’s that simple! 

Method 2: Envelope Distortion 

By using the envelope distort tool, you can fill text into any custom shapes. Adobe Illustrator’s Envelope Distort tool is used for wrapping text or other items to fit the contour of another object. This means that your text will be distorted if you use this method. 

Step 1: Have your shape created or have a vector ready on your artboard. For example, I’m going to fill this star shape with text.

Step 2: Select the Type tool from the toolbar and add text. 

Step 3: Make sure that the object is on top of your shape. To arrange the position, select your text and go up to the overhead menu Object > Arrange > Send to Back. You will see your text disappear for now. 

Step 4: Click and drag to select both the shape and the text. Go to the overhead menu and choose Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Top Object

Step 5: You will now see your text inside your shape to fit it! 

If you would like to change any of the settings for the envelope distort, just click on the Envelope Options button under the quick actions menu. The colors of the final form can be changed. If necessary, you may also use the  Direct Selection Tool to adjust the points of the top object.

If you want to remove the Envelope Distortion effect, you can go to Envelope Distort > Object > Release. After the effect is eliminated, the item is returned to its original state.

If you want to fill letters with text, you can first create an outline of your letter and convert it into a path. Then you can use the Envelop Distort to fill a letter with text. 

Final Thoughts

Creating shapes, and putting text inside of them is always something that’s fun to do in Illustrator since there are a few different ways you can go about it. I love to play around with the Envelope Distort tool with text because it’s so manipulative and customizable.

Be sure to try both methods on your project to see which way works best for you and your designs. 

Any questions about how to fill a shape with text in Adobe Illustrator? Leave a comment and let me know.

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