Converting Type to Outlines in Adobe InDesign

Make Vector Paths from Any Font, to Use As a Frame or Graphic Element.
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  • Lectures 12
  • Length 38 mins
  • Skill Level Intermediate Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 3/2015 English

Course Description

This course is a hands-on demonstration of how fonts are converted to vector paths in Adobe InDesign, using the Create Outlines command, which you may also know as outline type, converting type to outline (or outlines), vector type, or converting type to paths.

After a brief overview of how fonts are made, you'll learn how to convert them to vectors, and then through the exercises, use the results as a frame for graphics and text. You'll also see how this technique can be used when preparing materials to be printed.

Resource files and links are included in the course, too.

This fun technique will help you see how type can be used creatively as a graphic element, beyond just communicating the written word, and it will help you hone your Adobe InDesign skills.

Students who want to complete the exercises must have beginner InDesign skills. Fundamental techniques may be shown, but not explained.

©2015 Joseph Caserto. All rights reserved. No part of this presentation may be reproduced without express written permission from the creator.

What are the requirements?

  • Install Adobe InDesign in order to follow along and complete the exercises. The techniques shown will work in any version from about CS3 on, for Mac or PC.
  • Understand how to create a new InDesign file.
  • Be able to draw a text frame and add type.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Convert any font active in Adobe InDesign to vector paths, as if drawn with the Pen Tool, to be used as a custom frame or shape.
  • Use vector type to streamline prepress production.

Who is the target audience?

  • Students familiar with the basics of InDesign.
  • InDesign users who want to create frames that are more complex than the simple rectangular or elliptical ones drawn with the Frame Tools.
  • Students who want to explore how layers can help organize their files and streamline their workflow.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Introduction

Meet the instructor, and learn what to expect from this course.


See the fundamental concepts behind how a font is created, and use the Convert to Outlines command to create vector paths from any typeface loaded in your system. (See External Resources for links to websites in this lecture.)

3 questions

How well do you remember what was covered in this section?

Section 2: Preparing to Do the Exercises

Create and set up an Adobe InDesign file to use as the basis for the Exercises in this course.

Note: If you don't have the fonts shown—OLNewsbytes for the NYC type, and Gotham for the Neighborhoods Black paragraph style—substitute ones that you have loaded in your system. There's also a template with the NYC type already converted from OLNewsbytes to outlines, in the resources for Lecture 5, if you want to match the example of the frame exactly.


Copy your type to a second layer, which will store it as a backup before it's converted to vector paths.

4 questions

How well do you remember what was covered in this section?

Section 3: Exercise 1: Graphics Frame with Drop Shadow

Read these instructions and download the resources before starting the exercise.


Using type converted to outlines as a frame to hold an image.

Note: Download the Resource Files from the previous lessons, first. Included are the .jpg shown, and an InDesign .idml file to use if you don't have the font shown, available in your system.


Using the Effects Panel to a drop shadow to the frame.

3 questions

How well do you remember what was covered in this section?

Section 4: Exercise 2: Text Frame with a Drop Shadow

Read these instructions and download the resources from Lecture 5 before starting the exercise.

Converting Type to a Text Frame
Converting Type to hold a Text Frame
3 questions

How well do you remember what was covered in this section?

Section 5: Outlined Text and the Printing Process

We'll use InDesign's Package command to see how a greeting card gets prepared for printing, and how converting type to vector paths can be integrated into the prepress process. (See External Resources for links to websites in this lecture.)

Section 5: Outlined Type and the Printing Process
3 questions
Section 6: Course Wrap-Up
Review and Closing

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Instructor Biography

Joseph Caserto, Design Professional :: Educator :: Consultant

I'm Joseph Caserto, a design professional, educator, and consultant. I have over 20 years of experience as a publication art director and designer, and worked on the staffs of several national magazines before starting my own business. Since then, I've worked with many publications, including BusinessWeek, Marie Claire, PC, TV Guide, and Vibe. My projects have included helping to produce several issues of the iPad edition of Fortune, and consulting on the launch of Parents for iOS (Apple iPad) and Android (Samsung Galaxy).

I'm also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Digital Communications and Media, at New York University, School of Professional Studies, Center for Advanced Digital Applications, Department of Design Digital Arts and Film. Formerly, I was an Adjunct Lecturer at the City College of New York, in the Art Department's Electronic Design and Multimedia Program. I have several online tutorials published, and have been a guest critic and speaker at Cooper Union, and SUNY Fredonia.

I've consulted with clients including FP Design, The Archdiocese of New York, and The Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York to help them learn and maximize the potential of their software, and to explore graphic design principals.

I earned a BFA, with Honors, in Graphic Design from Pratt Institute, where I completed one of the first classes that explored graphic design produced with a Macintosh. I'm a member of AIGA, Freelancers Union, the Graphic Artists Guild, and The Society of Publication Designers. A lifetime resident of New York State, I've lived in Brooklyn since the late 1980s.

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