I can't figure out how to convert a text to a graphic.. but I
remember that I was once able to create a text, then fill a
background, then remove the text, leaving a cut-out of the letters
of the text in the background. Then I could fill the colorless
cut-out of text to another color, and there- I would have the text
as a graphic.
You can make text into a graphic by clicking on the text
field to highlight it, press F8 to convert to symbol, name it,
choose graphic if that's what you want.
To do a text cutout effect, hit Ctrl+F8 to create a new
symbol, name it, choose graphic, hit "ok" (now you will be inside
the new symbol), draw your background shape on layer 1 frame 1,
type static text on top of it (same layer), place the text where it
needs to be, hit Ctrl+b twice to convert the text to vector, you
should be able to hit delete at this point to erase the text and
leave a cutout. Before you hit delete, make sure only the text is
highlighted and not the background shape.