How to Bend Text in Illustrator

By Payton Pritchard

Adobe Illustrator, a vector drawing program, offers several features for manipulating text. In addition to providing text columns, Illustrator can transform text into objects or shapes. Vector drawing uses anchor points, lines and curves to make shapes and objects. Because Illustrator is a vector program it can manipulate text in fun and creative ways such as bending text.

Things You'll Need

  • Adobe Illustrator CS3 and later

Use Effects to Bend Text

Step 1

Select the Type tool and click on the artboard. When the cursor appears, type the word "bend." Increase the point size to 40 point (or large enough that it is clearly visible).

Step 2

Use the Selection tool to select the text box. On the menu bar, go to Effect > Warp > Arc. The Warp Options window will open with the option to choose a style that can bend the text horizontally or vertically.

Step 3

Choose "Flag" for style and select "Vertical" for the bend. Moving the slider left will produce negative percentages and bend the text toward the left. Moving the slider to the right will produce positive percentages and bend the text toward the right.

Step 4

Try various styles until you find one you like. You can experiment with bending the text horizontally and vertically while varying the percentages on the slider.

Type on a Path

Step 1

Choose the Ellipse Tool or a different shape and draw the shape on the artboard. If color is applied to the fill or stroke, the color will automatically be removed from both.

Step 2

Click and hold the mouse down on the Type Tool. A fly out menu will appear showing other tools related to the Type Tool. Select the Type on a Path Tool or the Vertical Type on a Path Tool.

Step 3

Place the cursor on the path of the shape you selected and click the left mouse button. Begin typing and the word or words will appear along the shape of the path you drew on the artboard.

Step 4

Use the Selection Tool to resize the shape that holds the text. You can also change the point size, style and even the color of the text you created on the path.

Text Options on a Path

Step 1

Create an ellipse using the Ellipse Tool. Select the Type on a Path Tool and place your text on the path.

Step 2

Use the Selection Tool to select the text. Then, go to Type > Type on a Path > Type on a Path Options. The options window gives four methods of manipulating text on a path: effects, align to path, spacing and flip.

Step 3

Choose Stair Step for the effect. The text will appear as bending stairs along the path. These effects are not available from the Effects menu.

Step 4

Control the spacing between the letters by increasing or decreasing the point size. Manipulating the "Align to Path" options aligns the bent text on the the path or moves the text (while still bent) above or below the path.