You can create a sort of live mask effect to wrap text around any graphic, object, or photo in Illustrator and it will automatically update when the text is changed, rescaled, styled, move, or more. In this Adobe Illustrator tutorial, we’ll cover the Text Wrap feature and how to split a text field into multiple columns and then use a second path to wrap it around virtually any object in Illustrator you could imagine. As a bonus, we’ll also cover a little masking to make text look like it’s hiding behind an object on a magazine layout, using the eyedropper to quickly match and style text in a page layout, aligning tricks, and more!
Placing Text from an Outside Editor
I typically do my writing in an application other than Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, etc… or when working with a writer they deliver the copy for the project in a standard text document. To bring this text into Illustrator, simply go File>Place and choose the text file. This will “load” the cursor with the text and allow you to either click and place the text or drag out a text box and have the text dump into that. You just want to get some text into your Illustrator document. TIP: Use a website like Bacon Ipsum to get a pew paragraphs of text if you’re just following along to test out the feature or for fun.
Adding Text Columns to a Text Field
Once we have our text in a text field, select the text box and go Type>Area Type Options and choose to add a second column to our text. NOTE: I like to resize and position my overall text box so the columns VERY roughly would fall on either side of the object we wish to have our text wrap around. In this case, I almost want the gutter between both of my columns to run straight down the body of our model.
Creating a Text Wrap (the easy way)
Grab the Pen Tool and draw a shape around the body of our model. You can make the selection as perfect or loose as you wish. Look to the top control bar with this new shape selected and make sure both of the color swatches off to the left are both set to clear (red slash.) This will get rid of both the fill and stroke of our shape (we really only want a path here.) With the path selected, go Object>Text Wrap>Make. You can move or resize the shape and the text will automatically reflow around the text wrap object. Check out the full video at the top of the post to see how I do everything!