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How to make text columns in Illustrator

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#1
Hans van der Maarel

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Follow these steps to create a number of text columns in Illustrator and fill them with texts. I find that this is very useful when creating an index with MAPublisher. MP writes the index to a text file which, after some optional processing, can easily be placed in the main document.

1: Create a rectangle in the place where you want the columns to go. Simply use the rectangle tool for this. Don't worry about stroke and fill settings, you'll lose them anyway :D

2: With the rectangle selected, go to Object - Path - Split To Grid. Set the number of rows/columns desired and their dimensions.

3: With the columns selected, go to Type - Threaded Text - Create.

4: Select the text you want to show in the columns and copy it to the clipboard.

5: Select the text tool and move the cursor to the left-top part of the columns (which should still be selected) so that the cursor changes in the small i-beam without the dotted square.

6: Click so that the text cursor is placed at the top of the first column.

7: Paste.

If your text is too big, you'll see a little red icon at the bottom right corner of the rightmost column. You can either change the font settings or repeat the process witha larger area and/or different column settings.

-- disclaimer --

This is written for Illustrator CS on Windows. I know that the split to grid option is in the Type menu on Illustrator 10. In other versions, it may be somewhere else.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#2
margaret

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Hans, I just gave this a try in CS2 and had much fun. this is cool! thanks

#3
EcoGraphic

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Just a note:

If your text is too long you can also create another column beside the last one and just click the little red + symbol at the bottom on the right then click inside the new column you have created, and keep repeating this until all your text fits. No need to go back to square one as they say.

When you are bored with columns, this trick also works with any closed shape you want to dump text into. You can also dump text into huge letter shapes (by converting your huge letters into outlines first ) or create 'steam' coming off a coffee cup for example made out of text by just creating the shape of the steam then dumping in the text. You use the Area Tyoe Tool for this. These are just some common tricks you see in magazines.....................you know.....you'll see the word 'Design' filled with text at the start of an article.

Cheers,

Gillian
Gillian Auld
EcoGraphic Design
www.EcoGraphic.ca

Design is the intermediary between information and understanding
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#4
franciscocartographer

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Thanks for the mini-Tutorial.

I do not know much about MapPublisher but this feature alone (Map index) makes it very attractive.

... the price tag of the software is a little bit scary, though. Maybe the investment is worthy after all.
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Francisco Jimenez, GISP
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#5
Hans van der Maarel

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... the price tag of the software is a little bit scary, though. Maybe the investment is worthy after all.


They do offer a download-only option for purchase: Avenza Download & Save which saves you some $.

Just to rave a bit about it... Creating an index of a map generally takes about a minute or two (set up grid, run Make Index filter, check results).

Hans, I just gave this a try in CS2 and had much fun. this is cool! thanks


Margaret,

I'm glad you find it useful. I have to admit I posted this for my own sake as well, I often forget exactly how to do this and now I have a nice little reminder ;)
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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