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I got a file that needs converted to curves

a customer sent me a .pdf file and when I open it, it wants to change a couple fonts I don't have to arial, I only need this for a few decals and hate to spend the money for a font i'll never use.

Si Allen

New Member
Seems to me that you have 2 choices:

1. Have the customer send it to you with the text changed to curves.

2. Buy the fonts and add it to the price!


New Member
You could print it out to a desktop printer in black.....or whatever the colors are. Then redraw (yes that is tracing) and scan in the print or the cleaned up drawing and vectoize it.

Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
Me! Me!

The Vector Doctor

Chief Bezier Manipulator
first here is the test file for all you cs2 folks to try it out on. I don't know if this works with cs1, but I guarantee it works on Illustrator cs2.

The PDF uses a free font called Kontrapunkt; nice one by the way. As long as you don't already have this installed on your machine, you will also have problems opening up the pdf file in Illustrator without font substitution. Download it so you can try this out. If you already have Kontrapunkt on your system I can upload another file with a more obscure font.

Now, let me get something else out of the way first and I will give you the step by step


  • test.pdf
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Quit buggin' me
I don't have CS2, but would like to see the steps.
(flexi 7.6 opens the test file with the text converted to curves)

wayne k
guam usa

The Vector Doctor

Chief Bezier Manipulator
1. Create a new file, any size will do.

2. Click on File -> Place and select the pdf file. The dialog box will show link and template. Checkmark on Link but DO NOT check template. Click OK

3. The file should display with the bounding box around it. Now click on object -> flatten transparency in the menu. You will get another dialog box to come up. Make sure raster/vector balance is set to 100% vectors. Also check "convert all text to outlines". All other checked boxes are not of great concern when it is the missing font you are after. I have attached a screen shot of the "flatten transparency settings. Click OK.

4. YOU'RE DONE! You now have a pdf file and you did not need the fonts in order to open. IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that this does not help you out if you want to edit the text. If that is needed, then you must buy the font. This simply allows you to open up pdfs without having the necessary fonts installed.

5. The only thing left may be a bounding box that you can remove. In Illustrator, I click on the direct selection tool (shortcut A on keyboard). Drag across the bounding box only. Hit delete twice, and that is now gone.

Fred, maybe you can put this up somewhere as a tutorial.


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New Member
I loaded the test into my software (signlab) and it askes me if I want to convert text to graphics, click yes and done!!!
this is in no way, shape or form a slam on the method used in cs2 just adding my results to inform others....
thanks, chopper

The Vector Doctor

Chief Bezier Manipulator
Interesting, some software must allow this. Does your resulting file look like this? I know some software will convert curves into hundreds of short straight lines - yuck.


  • outlines.jpg
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New Member
Hey thanks Eric! :thumb:

Just as a 'side car' to all of this I have a small trick. I have Canvas9 which opens PDFs and automatically converts the text....as others have mentioned. In addition to Adobe's stuff, I've always liked the Canvas program by Deneba. I got hooked on it while doing a short stint as a designer at a yearbook publishing company several years ago. Canvas is like the best things of Illustrator and PhotoShop combined. (it also does a little bit of 3D work...not great :wink:) At any rate....I still like to work in the older Canvas7 at times while in "Classic" on my Mac, and what I do is open the PDF in "9" and then just copy to the clipboard and paste directly into open "7" file. It's perfectly shaped....nothing warped or automatically tweaked.