14 Replies Latest reply on May 27, 2012 11:39 AM by taskerus

    Can Illustrator Vertically Justify Text?


      Does Illustrator have the capability to vertical justify of either area or point text?  Vertical Justification of Horizontal Text, not Vertical Text.

      The basic question is a simple yes or no.  If the answer is yes, then the follow-up question is how.

      I have a reasonable grasp of paragraph justifications, Left, Center, Middle..., but they all seem to apply to horizontal justification only.  I want to justify the vertical flow point also.  From my trial and error experimentation, it seems that Illustrator's vertical justification is limited to the base line of the top line of text relative to the text box, not the center or bottom of the text box.

      For reference, Autocad has nine basic text justification options;  Top Left, Middle Left, Bottom Left, Top Center, Middle Center, Bottom Center, Top Right, Middle Right, and Bottom Right.   I'm transferring text from a multi-layer Autocad layout into Illustrator.  The text is the screen print for a laser cut control panel and sub panels.  It needs to align relative to the various cutouts and devices in the panel.  When I bring it into Illustrator, it looses it's justification, but maintains it's position.  The problem is that when I open the Autocad file with illustrator, all the multi-line text from Autocad is converted to left justified point text.  The text is broken down from multi-line text into individual lines, and the vertical justification of each line is tied to the "baseline" of each individual line.  I can see how to justify the text left and right, but not vertically.

      I tried posting this question on a couple of other forums and also presented it to Adobe Support but the responses weren't on point.  Adobe support (not US) took a tangent that involved using tabs to set the spacing for vertical text.  I'm not using vertical text.  I want to vertically justify horizontal text.  I did experiment with a clunky work-around.  I can align a text "object" to construction lines, which can accomplish the same finished result, but the methodology is very clunky compared to assigning justification, and the outcome is not parametrically associated.  When using a justification, any edits to the text, size, or font will flow out from the justification point.  If the text has been aligned as an object, then it will need to be repositioned anytime the text object changes dimension due to changes in text, font, or size.

      A goal beyond this inquiry, I'd like to retain justification on import, but that question is currently out of sequence.  I'll first need to determine if Illustrator has the capability to do the same basic 9 justifications that Autocad does.  I need to submit my artwork to the screen printer before start of business Monday, so I'm budgeting some time this morning for fundamentals prior to executing the transfer from Autocad to Illustrator.

      If your wondering why I'm using both Autocad and Illustrator: The machine shops only accept Autocad files, but the print shops don't work with Autocad, so I need to convert the registered Autocad text and other artwork (that is registered to physical locations) into illustrator so I can have it printed.  I've only been working with Illustrator for about 6 months.  I wanted to get to it years ago, but didn't have the horsepower to run.  I still run my Autocad, which is resource frugal, on my old 800 MHz Pentium 3 laptop with 512K of memory.  For my Solidworks and Adobe products I'm now using a modern laptop with ample horsepower.  Yes, I carry both laptops through all the airports.  The productivity increase from using 2 is addicting and justifies the additional luggage.

      As a side note, I'd be interested it retaining a consultant for Acrobat, Photoshop, and Illustrator.  My Google searches for a consultant came up empty, only videos and books, and the other forums and adobe support weren't much help.  This forum seems promising.  If your interested in offering your services as a consultant, you can review my business summary at http://tasker.us/biz_summary.htm

        • 1. Re: Can Illustrator Vertically Justify Text?
          JETalmage Level 6
          The basic question is a simple yes or no.


          No, the question is a question. 'Yes' or 'no' are answers.


          The answer to your question is basically 'no'. But it's not that simple, no matter how you try to limit it.


          Illustrator cannot simply and direcly vertically center the content of an AreaType textframe the way most programs with decent text handling do. But (as with so many other things) it provides a ridiculously unintuitive workaround: You use Add New Fill or Add New Stroke in the Appearance Palette, move it below the Characters listing, and then apply the Convert To Shape Effect to that added Stroke or Fill. This works with either AreaType or PointType objects, but is more practical with PointType. (It is otherwise pointless to discuss vertically centering text in a PointType object, since PointType objects, by definition, have no frames in which to center.)




          Now, aren't you glad I didn't just say "No"?



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          • 2. Re: Can Illustrator Vertically Justify Text?
            Wade_Zimmerman Level 7

            First, regardless of what AutoCAD may labels it none of that makes any sense.


            Justify in relation to what would be my first question?


            The do you mean to a specified space or area?


            Yes or no is a questionable criteria.


            So tell us what you want to do and then we can tell you if there is a way of accomplishing it in Illustrator.


            And AutoCAD is not known for typographic savvy and this demonstrates why.


            Regardless of what james wrote in this case it is not Illustrator's method of handling text it is a fundamentally ill conceived notion of justification
            as one has control over leading and point size in typography the question is not about justification but copy fitting and very few layout or art programs I know of have a copy fitting feature.


            A copy fitting feature would allow you to define an area and then give you options for the relationship of text size versus leading.


            there was at one tie a high end program that was dedicated to doing this but I do not know if it still exists.

            • 3. Re: Can Illustrator Vertically Justify Text?
              JETalmage Level 6

              Adobe InDesign:



              Adobe InDesign also cannot auto-fit textframes to their content.



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              • 4. Re: Can Illustrator Vertically Justify Text?
                taskerus Level 1

                Wade, Thank you for your input.  I'm still trying to follow Jet's procedure to see if I can grasp what he is doing.


                For clarification, I'm not trying to promote Autocad over Illustrator.  The reason I'm learning Illustrator is because it can do things Autocad can't.  They both have wonderful capabilities, and each program can address particular activity better than others.  As mentioned previously, you can't give a CNC machine operator an Adobe file, and you cant give most print shops Cad files.  If you are cutting metal, you will work Primarily in Cad and export to Illustrator, but for working with paper and printing, Illustrator has many advantages over Cad programs.  Even within the Cad programs you still need to convert.  I do most of my 3D modeling in Solidworks, but then need to export 2D views to Autocad for the Machine Shops.

                Autocad's text tools don't have as many fine adjustments as Illustrator's text tools, but Autocad's text tools are simple, intuitive and good at basic positioning.  I need to plan my artwork transfer strategy, and that depends somewhat on the capabilities of Illustrator.  For now, it appears that the most effective methodology is to do all my text edits prior to transfer and then maintain the same fonts.  That can be cumbersome because if I need to make a minor edit, I need to start over or loose registration with the primary model.


                In summary, my underlying objective is to transfer the text in Autocad to Illustrator so I can give it to the print shop.  It would be nice if I could move data bidirectional, but that Christmas functionality seems unattainable without a lot of cost prohibitive custom scripting.  As an initial step, I wanted to confirm my suspicion that Illustrator's positioning tools are rather anemic and incompatible with Cad programs like Autocad.  If I was wrong, then I would proceed to the next step of figuring out how to do it, but if I can't do it, then I'll need to live with a cumbersome procedure.


                Regarding my assessment that Illustrator's text positioning tools are "anemic", Illustrator lets you do a lot of neat stuff with text like rotating, skewing, following paths etc, but try something simple like placing it vertically in the middle of a circle and having it maintain symmetry through edits.


                I like the capabilities of the application.  I'm still trying to figure out what I can and can't do within my time constraints.  I'm experimenting by trying to use it for an assortment of task, and I'm sure over time I'll develop a love hate relationship like everyone else.

                • 5. Re: Can Illustrator Vertically Justify Text?
                  Wade_Zimmerman Level 7

                  Well AutoCAD and ID are both using the term justification in a very loose and arbitrary way, and in spite of James belief in what  is the power of the written word ID engineers are creating their own definition.


                  Difference between vertically centering the text and justifying it.


                  And fitting a text frame to the content is not justification either.


                  What he is suggesting in regards to the use of the Effects Convert to Shape also is not quite what you want either.


                  But what you might do is a combination of a paragraph and character style and an alignment. Making it an action and giving the actions a keyboard shortcut.


                  They really should call a spade a spade and not grab at a convenient term to describe something that resembles what they are referring.


                  I suggest an action and with a combination paragraph and an alignment command.

                  • 6. Re: Can Illustrator Vertically Justify Text?
                    taskerus Level 1

                    Wade, I posted a screen shot of the Autocad text dialogue showing the 9 "Justification" options



                    • 7. Re: Can Illustrator Vertically Justify Text?
                      taskerus Level 1



                      Not sure I understand the concept, but I think you mean that I can add a new fill to the text and then convert that fill to a shape, and then specify a dimension for the shape? I tried experimenting, but can't figure out how to make it all work.  I'll need to watch a tutorial.  I've overspent my time budget and need to execute, but the concept looks interesting and I'll revisit the issue at a later date.  The functionality is invaluable in Autocad, so a reasonable work-around in Illustrator will be worth some more time investment.  Thanks Again / Tom

                      • 8. Re: Can Illustrator Vertically Justify Text?
                        JETalmage Level 6

                        1. Text Tool. Click (don't drag) to create a PointType object. Type some text.

                        2. Click the black pointer. (The text object needs to be selected as an object, and not be in text editing mode.)

                        3. Appearance Palette flyout menu: Add New Fill. Apply a different color to the added fill.

                        4. Appearance Palette: Drag the added fill to below the Characters listing. Leave the added fill highlighted.

                        5. Effect>ConvertToShape>Rectangle. The Shape Options dialog opens. Turn on its Preview checkbox. Its settings are fairly self-explanatory.



                        • 9. Re: Can Illustrator Vertically Justify Text?
                          Scott Falkner Level 6

                          6. Appearance panel: If you are unsatisfied with the positioning of the shape around the text, leave the Fill highlighted and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform and enter the necessary transforms to move the shape in the Move section of the dialogue.

                          • 10. Re: Can Illustrator Vertically Justify Text?
                            Asad A.

                            This may be useful for the original query, or it may not. In technical illustration, I often need to put a label over a shaded background, centered vertically and horizontally in a text box (or frame) with a white background.

                            AI in CS5 cannot do it, as the example below will show.


                            On the other hand, ID can do it. So one workaround is to set the text in ID, and copy it into AI. This is what I get:


                            Of course, if you now edit the text in AI, it will no longer remain centered.


                            This is a problem I reported on this forum, oh, at about the time of the CS2 (or even CS) release. It remains in CS5, and is a real nuisance when you have to make many drawings with many, many such text boxes.

                            • 11. Re: Can Illustrator Vertically Justify Text?
                              JETalmage Level 6



                              This thread is a year old. And using the method described in posts 1 and 8 (Added Fill, Convert To Shape) would be hugely more efficient than setting text in InD and copying/pasting to Illustrator. You can create one such object and apply it to other textFrame objects with one click of the Eyedropper. The resulting rectangle would resize appropriately when the text is edited.



                              • 12. Re: Can Illustrator Vertically Justify Text?
                                jay fresno Level 2

                                JET's method works well to center type within a rectangle or ellipse. In Assad's example, there is a stroke on the ellipse. I was able to add a stroke by adding a second rectangle and a third fill.


                                • 13. Re: Can Illustrator Vertically Justify Text?

                                  Using this technique STILL does not center the text within the box!

                                  You can prove this by setting the Rectangle relative offset to 1 px ...


                                  Here is a technique that does work:


                                  Vertical Align Text.png

                                  Vertical Align Text Example.png


                                  Key points:


                                  - Outline Stroke and Rectangle are created using "Add Effect / Path / Outline Stroke" and "Add Effect / Convert to Shape / Rectangle"

                                  - These are then *duplicated* and dragged inside their Stroke and Fill elements

                                  - Rectangle must always appear *after* Outline Stroke

                                  - this works because outline stroke is the text's true black box

                                  • 14. Re: Can Illustrator Vertically Justify Text?
                                    taskerus Level 1

                                    Jet, I was drawn back to this thread by the reply from ChromeWasp and gave it another read and some more experimentation.  I was able to get the text fill thing to work as far the fill box resizing parametrically to follow the text edits, but the "Justification" is still not vertically centered in the sense that edits don't vertically expand or contract symmetrically from the center.  After edits, I still need to realign the center of the object to whatever reference I need it centered about.  I'm also not clear on the advantage of associating a rectangular fill with the text.  It appears I can simply align a text object as needed without going through the fill gyration.   


                                    Since posting the question about vertical "Justification" of text, where edits can flow out from a center point, I have progressed through CS4, 5, and am now using CS6.  I still don't see any vertical "justification" options available.  I've resorted to avoiding edits after importing text from Autocad into Illustrator.  After import I work through the document and set all the text alignments,  I can often do several at once because they typically line up in rows and columns, but it is tedious and if I need to make edits I have to maintain multiple documents or start over from the original source document and export/import/align again. 


                                    I've been using Illustrator for a few years now and love the program.  I started a tutorial for In Design, but didn't follow through.  I use illustrator for my vector artwork and also use it to modify a wide variety of documents created in other applications, typically after normalizing them via PDF (Autocad will directly transfer bidirectionally).  I've progressed with Photoshop and use Camera Raw for critical stuff or when lighting is problematic, but often just use jpg files directly for less critical requirements because it is faster.  There is a lot of back and forth between the programs.  I usually do my raster image markups and notations in Illustrator and then send the paths back to Photoshop.  Solidworks is great for 3D modeling of moving parts, but I still need to output fabrication instructions utilizing other programs like Autocad and Acrobat.  Autocad is unbeatable for 2D flat layered work and is much faster and more effective at positioning text.  Autocad also has a layer state manager, which is invaluable.  It would be nice if the graphic printing shops would work with Autocad files, but most don't.  I sometimes create curvy paths in Illustrator and then import them into Autocad or Solidworks because Illustrator's pen tool is easier to use than the Autocad or Solidworks Spline tools (splines in CAD programs equate to paths in graphic programs). 


                                    Thank you to all who commented.  I appreciate your contributions and insight. / Tom Truax