Apply gradient fill to editable text in Illustrator


For a long time I used Type>Create Outlines to turn my text into objects, then applied a gradient fill. This is fine, but means that your text is no longer editable. I usually created a copy of the editable text before creating outlines and hid it in the layers panel, just in case I needed to edit it later down the line.

But there is a way to keep your text editable AND apply a gradient fill.

  1. Select your text box.
  2. Go to the Appearance palette (make the palette visible by selecting Window>Appearance or shift+F6).
  3. Go to the drop down menu for more optionsat the top right of the Appearance palette.

    Select the drop-down menu in the Appearance palette

  4. Select “Add new Fill”.
  5. Now you can select a gradient from the Fill palette.

But wait a minute. That means that there are two fills, one on top of the other. If you look closely you may be able to see the original fill colour behind the new gradient fill. To remove the original solid fill:

  1. Go back to the Appearance palette.
  2. Double-click on Characters, to show the original stroke and fill colours of the text.
  3. Select the Fill colour, and drag it into the trash can in the Appearance palette.

Your text now only has a gradient fill, and is still fully editable.

Found this tutorial helpful? Find out how to apply a gradient across multiple objects.

Other Illustrator tips.

Draw or resize shapes and selections from the centre in Illustrator

Apply a gradient fill across multiple objects in Illustrator

Maintain or scale stroke width while resizing in Illustrator

Creating and exporting a print document in Illustrator CS5

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