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A long way is to:
0. Create a copy on top of the original and lock the latter,
1. Release the compound path,
2. Cut the corner points at the ends of the cross and at the top and bottom,
3. Remove the horizontal parts at top and bottom,
4. Lock the cross part,
5. Select the appropriate Reference Points in the Transform palette (lower left and right), extend the outer slanting paths to cross at the top (insert a suitable value for W or H and click Ctrl+Enter), Select Outline in the Pathfinder palette, reinsert Stroke Weight, Ungroup, and remove the surplus part,
6. Delete the intermediate points of the inner slanting parts and join the bottom end points and the top point (Direct Select and Ctrl+J),
7. Create a one step blend of the inner and outer slanting paths, Ungroup, and remove the surplus parts,
8. Unlock the cross part, create a one step blend, Ungroup, and remove the surplus parts,
9. Select the appropriate Reference Point in the Transform palette (centre), extend the cross part past the slanting parts, Select Outline in the Pathfinder palette, reinsert Stroke Weight, Ungroup, and remove the surplus parts,
As in your image, the letter will be higher than the original.
Please avoid posting images of moe than 760pt width.
Jacob, thanks for the answer, but that is a heck of a long technique and I have a load of text to do. Isn't there any other short technique to simply select the outlines of a whole texts and convert it to one line? You see, we're producing the plaques with a small text, and the cutting machine need to cut the letter with a one thin line. Otherwise, the letters are too thick.
On top of what you say, some letters are worse than others; in most cases, letters such as S and O are easy; and your A would be a bit easier if t had been pointed at the top.
See what James says here: James Talmage, "Dotted Line Text Font" #1, 31 Dec 2007 6:20 am
A possible way might be to have a redraw of each letter and to place each instance accurately, that could be relative to a reference point on the original.
Since the letters will be different from the originals in any case, you may consider using a simple thin font and/or redraw with the Pen tool, as I presume you have done with the A here.
A search for "single line font" led to a bunch of hits like the following--
> ...that is a heck of a long technique...
this PDF might help.
Drawing the single-stroke glyphs is the best way for predictability and accuracy.
You can experiment around with LiveTrace with settings that result in "centerline" open paths; but my experiments in doing that have been unsatisfying, except perhaps for a "loosey-goosey" kind of inconsistent special effect.
Back to drawing your own glyphs, idealized for your particular workflow:
> I have a load of text to do...You see, we're producing the plaques...
If I had this to do, and if it were a frequent need, I would:
1. Carefully draw the alpha and numeric glyphs, using an advantageous particular font as the shape/proportion guide.
2. Save each as a Symbol. Name each Symbol according to its glyph name.
1. Set text in the font upon which I based the single-stroke glyph designs.
2. Run the script. The script would select, scale, and position Instances of the appropriate Symbol for each character in the selected textFrame object(s).
By the way: Please keep the images in your posts a reasonable size for the format of this forum.