Touch type tool

Learn how to use the touch type tool for Illustrator CC 2018 2017 2015 etc, tutorial for use with fonts, characters and shapes.

Touch type tool for Illustrator

How to use touch type tool for Illustrator fonts
  1. Create some type for use with the touch type tool in Illustrator

  2. Select the touch type tool (beneath the type tool) in the Illustrator toolbar

  3. Select a character

  4. Shift and re-size the individual text characters in seconds by tapping the character with the touch type and then selecting the bounding box and move as well as the corner handles to re-size the artwork (which is a vector)

  5. Tap or click on the character and rotate by using little dot at the top of the character

Obviously, the touch type Illustrator tool is not so useful with a single character but if you have multiple character shapes then you can play endlessly with the position and rotation of the characters. The tool does not do anything more than can be done with careful manipulation of the characters in the standard text panels. As you manipulate the characters you will see the settings change in the panel such as rotation, baseline shift, leading, scaling etc


So where is the tool in the tools? It is at the bottom of the type related tools. It is a pity that the application does not (as of writing this) have any real customization in the same way as other applications but hopefully that feature will be added one day and then I would definitely give more a pride of place for the tool.


Video tutorial on the subject by (youtube)


The tool is a live tool, if you decide that you want to change the text from 'charlotte' to 'desdemona' then you can. Just edit it as you would with normal characters and then contine with the typographical manipulation. You can change any of the characters by editing it with the tool so if you have an A you want to turn into a B character then you can.


The touch type tool also works amazingly well with the font designs that you can find on this website such as the heart font sets etc (not the eps designs but the included TTF). Simply select the TTF file from the dropdown and then type the characters as you would A B C and then you can use the touch type to move the individual designs around to create more pleasing designs than just having them in a standard row of characters. As with other text characters / content they can also be colored and rotated etc in countless ways


Orbital fonts

Overlay and texture fonts

Polka dot fonts


The tool is superb but at some point you will hit the limits and the characters will not move or rotate any further. Sometimes you can get around this by selecting another character and then moving that away from the other (sometimes you may find it seems to be impossible to move one of them and probably the easiest solution is to go to the character panel and try and change the settings there or just undo some of the changes. Another solution around this is to use the object menu and expand and then you can just manipulate all the text / character shapes with the standard path tools that are included in the application. You can then place the characters in all kinds of beautiful as well as weird and wonderful positions. The only problem with the expand is that the type characters are no longer live and cannot be manipulated further as live designs.


Color can be added via the touch type tool in Illustrator as well as opacity etc. Simply select the character using the tool and then go to the color settings and change the color or go the opacity setting for the character and change the opacity - all the other characters will be untouched and remain as before. You can also use the tool to individual change the font and font size etc


The tool is a very quick and easy and very effective for creating some really wow typographical artwork.


You can also use the tool with the color guide to create stunning colorful text themed artwork. Simply select the characters and then apply the color guide to randomly change the color order or select monochromatic or triad etc harmonies or use different swatch color libraries. As the tool is a live tool, you can repeat this at any point so a set of designs with the letter A B C etc can be turned into red and green and blue but it can also rapidly be changed into blue purple yellow etc by using the color guide tool. Other tools can also be used to change the color such as using the powerful plugins from Astute graphics such as Phantasm.


You can also apply effects and then move the characters using the tool such as the 3D extrude effect on the right and the extrude etc will still be applied and modified as you move items or increase the size or change the angle of the work.


You can also add other effects such as blurs and many others but the more effects you add, the more likely you will start seeing some slow down in the changes/ editing of the letters / text. You can add blurs to a single character or all the characters. This is live so the changes to the design will also be live and the effects are always modifiable at any point.


The results can all be saved as a new symbol in the symbols panel simply vy selecting the artwork generated by the tool and then dragging it over into the presets panel and that can be done with all the type creations (sadly they are not stored as live designs that can be edited at a later point). They can also be added to the CC library and the work can then be further tweaked in applications such as Photoshop as well as in the native application.


gradient swatches

frame patterns

flower symbols

flower patterns

heart patterns


The tool can be used to create some truly amazing designs that can then be exported for use in other applications. Even if you could create the designs just by tweaking the various type settings via the standard panels, you will find this tool is super quick in creating all kinds of unique designs and even better is that the tool means all the artwork is still live so it can be changed again and again.


find out more about the tool via adobe



Commercial use. Secure sales by (c) 1995-2018 Andrew Buckle, Maidstone artist, tel: +44 1622 / 688 375 E-mail: support@