VectorFirstAid version 2 is mainly about working with text. The combined text engine has been entirely revamped so that it is more useful that ever. We have added some new features – Alignment of point text, Breaking text apart, Remove text transforms and Unoutline text. So, if you use text you are really going to like this.

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Combine point text function

This function existed in version 1, but it was very primitive. There were cases where we couldn’t combine text, and the function was very sensitive to the amount of space between the various characters in a line. It was not possible to completely combine text similar to the one shown in the picture below.

The feature also didn't work if the characters were rotated. After the combining, we lost the tracking. Text with custom kerning wouldn’t combine completely and we couldn’t combine text with superscripts or subscripts letters and so on.

In VectorFirstAid v2 we have completely revamped the combined text engine and it is very robust. Now we can combine text with any custom settings.

Keeping the custom kerning is optional. There might be instances when you import a file that has very irregular spacing that you don't want to keep. In this case you can just turn off "Retain Horizontal Spacing" in the Combine Point Text dialog box.

 

Now we can even combine transformed type like this.

 

The function can combine separate rows of the table while keeping indents.

Alignment of a point text

Native Adobe text alignment functions keeps the relative location of the editable text line’s origin and moves to position to the text as a result.

 

The first three buttons in the new line of the VectorFirstAid panel fulfil the need to adjust the alignment of a point text without moving. This works with all kinds of transformations except for mirroring.

 

Breaking text apart

The next three buttons involve breaking text apart, some of these are the opposite of combining. You can break text into lines, into individual words and into individual glyphs.

 

Once the type has been broken up, you can always recombine it if you want to. So it provides an alternative to using the Touch Type Tool and moving an individual glyph around. You can simply break it up, adjust the spacing the way you want and then recombine text and it will automatically adjust your base line shift, kerning and so on.

Remove text transforms

The last button in the new line of the VectorFirstAid panel removes transforms of the text. For example, say we have rotated and sheared text. In order to restore its normal appearance, we need to click on the Remove Transforms button and set 100% for Horizontal Scale in the Characters panel. It is almost impossible to do so manually.

 

Converting outlined text to editable text

To convert outlined text to editable you need the exact same font that exists on your system. This function is looking through all the glyphs in all of the fonts, and if the exact match is found, the text can be converted, despite the transformation, similar to rotation and shifting.

If the function had to examine millions of glyphs each time, it would be exceedingly slow. So the very first time you use this function it needs to go through all the glyphs and create data files of all the fonts on your system. This is necessary and does take a bit of time.

The very first time you use this function, it will give you a warning that it will take between three and seven minutes (depending on how many fonts you have and the speed of your system). This is a one-time event and every time you use this function after that it will not happen again. After each launch of Illustrator and for the first time you use the function, it goes through a verification to check that you don't have any new fonts, and if so, it needs to create data files for those fonts and load them from the disc. Together though, these operations take typically only 15 to 20 seconds and it's a one-time thing per launch, so if you keep Illustrator open you won't see it very often.

 

There are two things you need to keep in mind. Firstly, points on paths must be exactly in the places where they were created. If some of the points were moved or deleted by you, then the font might not be recognized, and conversion will not occur.

Secondly, if objects other than outlined text are selected, the function will warn you that some paths are artwork elements and are not outlined text characters. Rectangles and circles can be converted into glyphs, but this is probably not what you want.

 

 

These are the major changes and improvements in VectorFirstAid v2. We look forward to your feedback.

Not ready to move to VectorFirstAid v2? Read our advice on remaining with VectorFirstAid v1.

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