In basic terms I want to take a font and convert it to a path. You can do this with "Create Outlines" but what I need isn't the path of the font, I need a single path.

I looked into it and found this post How to obtain single-stroke fonts for laser cutting

They talk about using stroke based fonts but I can't find any to use. I tried to use the program that someone made for creating SVGs but it is not smooth. I tried to smooth it but it doesn't come out right.

Simply put I'm trying to make a single path for the letter "S". The font for reference I'm using is San Francisco by Apple, similar to roboto by google.

Is there an easy way to convert the text or and easy way to just create the correct curves for the letter "S"?

This image shows basically what I'm trying to do. You can see how from a font you can take it and convert it to outlines, but what I want is the path on the right. A single path with a stroke not a fill. However you can also see that the curves are not correct in the third one and therefor the third S is slightly off. Text vs outlines vs Stroke


2 Answers 2


I've got a workaround. It's a bit lengthy but if you've only got a few characters to edit it should be fine.

  1. Outline your text
  2. Cut the ends of the text off with the Scissors Tool. Then separate the two lines (select the nodes on one line, cut, then paste in place was how I did this).
  3. Object>Blend Options (set the Blend to Specified Steps = 1) hit OK. Then Object>Blend>Make.
  4. Object>Blend>Expand and delete the two outer lines.

Step Outline Blend Options


Generally unless an engraving font fits the situation, the best way to do this is still to draw the bezier curve with the Pen Tool.

A method that might help is to offset the path of your outlined text (Object Menu > Path > Offset Path). By setting the offset distance to a negative value that is a little under half the weight of the character, you will get lines roughly through the center that can be used as guides. If the font characters vary in weight, you may want to do this a few times at various offset values.

enter image description here

  • Great Idea I'll give it a try!
    – CTOverton
    Commented Jan 18, 2018 at 2:44

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