• I want to thank all the members that have upgraded your accounts. I truly appreciate your support of the site monetarily. Supporting the site keeps this site up and running as a lot of work daily goes on behind the scenes. Click to Support Signs101 ...

how to make an outline around letters


New Member
Hi guys
another illustrator question for you connaisseur....how do you make multiple outline of different color around letters. I know there is the stroke but i would like a second and stroke...??


learning the hard way

scott pagan

New Member
i'd highly recommend a copy of "classroom in a book" series or "illustrator bible". they can bring you up to speed very quickly


New Member
Adding a stroke in illustrator is as easy as selecting a color for it & setting the thickness. I tend to copy the text to be outlined and place it over the original then set the stroke thickness and color on the bottom one. Group them.


New Member
would this be a true "noded" outline?
For example, in corel you can make an outline by making the line thickness bigger OR doing a true contour. The contour would be cuttable on a vinyl cutter and the thick outline would not.


New Member
not until you outline everthing.

Here is a sample EPS file. Remove the .pdf extension, that was just to get the upload.


  • Sample_Text.eps.pdf
    404.6 KB · Views: 214


New Member
If you are looking to use strokes instead of vector outlines, you can do it quite easily in Illustrator.

To do this with text, you first need to clear all stroke/fill attributes by first highlighting the text and then on the Color tab click the Clear Color icon (square with slash) for both the fill and the stroke.

Next, go to the Appearance tab and click on the arrow to the right side and select New Fill. You can now see the fill color and stroke color. You can drag the Fill Color up so it is on top of the strokes if you wish.

Now, if more strokes are wanted, you can go back to the arrow to the right and select New Stroke again and drag it to the layering position you desire.

Highlight the stroke you want to color and choose the color and stroke width you want. Do this for any/all other strokes you want to add with different colors and widths.

This works great if you need to change the thicknesses of the stroke(s) rather than having to re-outline the font every time a change is needed.

I hope this help you or anyone else using AI.


New Member
Sweet jesus! I've never knew that, and that will simplify sooo much work. I get quite upset looking at the layer palette when I'm working with multi outline things.

Thanks very much SAI
Last edited:


New Member
...I hope this help you or anyone else using AI.

Great tip! You're my new favorite poster!........ :U Rock:

.................. yeeooooooow, after playing with that a little bit, that trick could really play havoc with a couple designers I know ([insert evil giggle here] hehehehehehehe...)


New Member
Tired of bangging my head agianst the wall. How the hell do you make a simple contour cut with Ilustrator. It's nothing like good ol flexi or maybe I should stick with the BIG stuff.


New Member
Tired of bangging my head agianst the wall. How the hell do you make a simple contour cut with Ilustrator. It's nothing like good ol flexi or maybe I should stick with the BIG stuff.

Are you just looking to make a simple vector outline around an object?

1) Select object, Goto OBJECT menu, then PATH and then OFFSET PATH


2) Stroke your object with a colour and goto OBJECT menu, then PATH and then OUTLINE STROKE

Joker Designs

New Member
Well i have asked this on another forum that i use for sim racing, i copied it from and a post from one of the designers that use adobe illustrator here it goes.

Here is the easy way without using strokes. Select the object you want an outline on . Click on the Object Drop Down, then choose path, then choose offset path. This will bring up a pop-up, you can play with the offset numbers to get what you want. Mainly your going to want to use the miter option, if you click ok and certain sharp points didn't outline correcty raise the miter limit number. For round outlines use the round setting and for a slightly clipped outline, choose beveled.

Once you click ok a new path will appear behind your old one, just change the color so you can differentiate, then select that new object and repeat the offset path proceedure as many times as u would like for more outlines.

Bobby H

Arial Sucks.
I will echo Fred's suggestion to use the Offset Path command for outline effects around letters.

That especially goes very strongly for anything having to do with sign work.

Stroking paths and laying multiple copies of the same path on top of each other invites very disorganized and highly problematic work. Anybody that has ever sent customer supplied Illustrator or EPS artwork to a vinyl cutter without first inspecting the crud out of it knows what I'm talking about.

Sorry, but I have nothing but pure disdain for any artwork that cuts over the same area on vinyl 2 or 3 times or even more until it's cutting a hole clean through the vinyl and paper or plastic carrier underneath it. And even if I know what the problem is, I don't feel like sitting there deleting multiple paths until there is only one left in that spot. Not everyone is going to know that they need to inspect AI and EPS artwork for such problems. I don't feel like doing all the "expand" work when the person who created the artwork should have taken care of that himself.

Anybody doing a "finalized" logo design should have an end result where all strokes have been expanded and any other live effects flattened. There should be absolutely NO duplicate paths laying over the top of each other. It should be clean and ready to sent to a vinyl cutter or CNC router.

I can see the point in leaving certain effects "live" when you're not finished tweaking it. When the tweaks are finished, a properly flattened version needs to be made. When it isn't I'm going to judge the work to be lazy and disorganized in quality. If I have to do extra work getting the art into form where it can be successfully cut or routed I am going to bill extra for the trouble.

The Dotted Line

The Dotted Line
I have to agree with Bobby H. Don't pile up multiple copies of the same thing and set different stroke weights. You are only inviting problems down the road. I too advise the Offset Path.

Another issue that arises with using strokes comes with scaling. If you do have strokes and you scale with the "Scale stroke weight" unchecked the stroke width stays the same while the artwork increases/decreases in size. I've seen this a lot with logos that are poorly (technically) designed. A 1 point stroke width on a logo that is 20" square, for example, needs to be a 2 point stroke width at 40" square. Improperly scaled you will still have a 1 point stroke width. Do this a few times up and down the scale and you've got a mess on your hands.

Offset path: learn it, live it, love it. Good luck.



New Member
I agree with Bobby H. as well. I would have much more time at work if I didn't have to correct customer supplied artwork. Half the "professional" logos we get are hacked in Illy. Trying to bring them into Composer and clean them is a pain in the but. Half the time I end up outlining and whatever to achieve the same stroke thickness that the .eps file has when printed from Illy. Half the designers don't know enough to outline path the strokes on letters and objects so its actually a path.