Sunday, October 10, 2010

How to Outline Text in Pages (Cover Design Tips)

Text outlined in Pages: two boxes
Text with characters that have coloured outlines is an attractive design feature. It is often used for covers, posters and headings on coloured background or when superimposed over photos. 
But can it be done in Pages? 
The quick answer is no, that option is not available, but there is a simple, if a bit fiddly workaround.
Here is how it goes, assuming you want a white outline to darker text to make it stand out on dark background.
- Create two text boxes in your Pages document, in Wrap inspector uncheck ‘object causes wrap'. 
- Type text in one of the boxes, then in Text Inspector select the colour you want for the main text – the one to be outlined. Then copy all text and paste it in the second box.
- Give the second box dark colour background – in Graphics Inspector click on colour fill and choose colour, then select all text, change its colour to white and enlarge the text size by three or four points. In my example (image above) reddish brown letters are 24 points and white letters are 27 points. Next, click outside the box, click on it again to select and make it larger than the first one – so that you can 'slip' it under the first one.  
- Move the box with white text ‘under’ the one with dark text. If it goes over, go to Arrange menu and Send it to Back. Continue moving the second box around until darker text slips ‘inside’ the white. This is the fiddliest bit of the whole work. Characters may not superimpose correctly, so go to Text Inspector and try ‘spacing’ (also called kerning), i.e. increasing or decreasing the space between characters.
- When you are satisfied select both boxes and Group them under Arrange menu.

Note how text outline is used 
If you are not satisfied and eventually give up, then check your Applications folder, you may already have another programme that allows outlining text. For instance, between 2005 and 2007 Apple bundled ComicLife with its basic installation package. In ComicLife you can give text several outlines. The programme is very simple to use. Click on 'Lettering' at the bottom of the page, type your text, then click on Details tab on the right and change the number and colour of outlines, colour of text, gradient etc.  

In the example below there are three outlines. When you are finished in ComicLife just copy-paste outlined text straight into your Pages project. It imports as a PDF.  If you don't have ComicLife download it from

Text outlined in ComicLife

This post is a follow-up to the article 'Cover Tricks: Making Text Stand Out',
read a later article on how to make text stand out against the photo in the background (see the semiopaque box in the bottom left corner of the cover above).

Read more tips on cover design in 'How to Separate People from Background' and how to use 'patches' to make photos work better in this article.  

1 comment:

  1. Pierre4:43 pm

    Many thanks, Alexander.

    I'm also trying Art Text. It's very easy to use. And I can import the outlined text directly in Pages with a simple Copy/Paste...

    Au revoir !

    Pierre Pellot


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