Select the type with the Direct Selection Tool. Edit > Cut. Select the Type Tool, drag a box, Edit > Paste.
There is no automatic method to swap point text for area text or vice versa. You may find a script somewhere though.
Sounds like you want to convert area type to point type, or point type to area type. There is no quick-and-dirty way, to do this. As with most tasks in Illustrator, there is only a multi-step-unintuitive-and-stupid way. Select the text, either by highlighting with the text tool or by selecting the text object with a selection tool (any arrow). Cut or Copy. Create a new text object by either clicking (for point text) or clicking-and-dragging (for area text). Paste. The same text is now in whichever type of text object you just created.
Thanks for the effort, but in short then the answer is "No."? As copying and pasteing is clearly a work around and not the feature I'm looking for or requesting.
Almost everything in Illustrator is a work-around. We’ve been dealing with its crapiness for so long that we just see it as the only way.
The answer to your question is no.
Long a feature request
There are of course scripts out there that generous users have written and shared that do exactly what you need. (search for MakePointType.jsx and MakeAreaType.jsx)
But for scripts to work in CS5 properly they might have to be revised to account for the change in ruler quadrants and other such volatile changes in AI.
Short answer is No, correct.
Your understanding of the two is also correct.
I agree 100%. You've come from FreeHand haven't you. You and me both (I've been through the pain that was CS2). Nice little tick box in FH properties panel to convert a type container from a fixed one to one which automatically expands contracts and if my whistful memory serves me right, we could fix it to one direction like width allowing it to expand down. Nope, not in Illustrator.
*** I tend to always click drag to create a text box.....
Creating a fixed type container just feels the lesser of the two evils in terms of time then spent messing about ever after with the result and I find I rarely need to cut-and-paste into an entirely new text container created by clicking.
Dunno if that helps as this thread seems to already have been answered fully.
Nice little tick box in FH properties panel
Not even necessary to visit FreeHand's Properties Panel. Simply doubleClick the auto-expand marker on the side or bottom of any FreeHand text object to auto-expand the text horizontally or vertically. Doing so vertically auto-fits a wrapping text object in an instant. (No job-wrecking accidental overset text.) Using the checkboxes in the Properties Panel allows you to do so for any number of selected text objects in one move. (Invaluable for maps.)
Just one of several examples of how a single elegantly-designed tool in FreeHand outperforms the cluttered glut of multiple poorly-designed ones in Illustrator. This particular one has been taken-for-granted by FreeHand users for something like 15 years.
Now I am feeling old. Revelation finding so many people here still holding up FreeHand as The Standard still to be aspired to rather than surpassed an age ago. How many years now, since FreeHand was officially discontinued?
The nice touch about changing it in the properties panel was that it set the default for the type of text container created. The plain common sense sophistication in FreeHand was pretty top notch. To be fair though... Illustrator has moved a long way (boy did it need to) and I think it had such a lot of catching up to do that some structural decisions were probably made that weren't perhaps the best.