Ok, I have a fresh Illustrator document. Pasted some copied text into the "artboard" (the clipboard is severely broken, but that's for another day).

The textbox that gets pasted is one huge line that goes from here to Timbuktoo.

So I need to resize it to 1/3rd of the page. I presume, as happens in every other sensible tool in the world, the text would flow to the width I give the textbox. The text itself will NOT get resized.

However, this is not what happens. THe text gets scaled completely. No exceptions.

I've been googling for the last 2 hours. Nothing works.

  1. Some posts say I must "show bounding borders". Doesn't help at all.
  2. Other posts say some nonsense about main selection tool and direct selection tool. These tools do nothing. Both the arrow-icons, when used to drag the corners of the box, lead to the text getting resized anyway.
  3. Someone suggested that when I copied and pasted text from a text file into Illustrator, this became an object, not actually text. Well, in that case, how should we paste text? Not everyone working on an Illustrator document is always and forever expected to write all the text manually, is it?

Seriously, how does this work? Any preferences I need to change? I used to work with CS4 and I recall it was much easier.

Would appreciate any inputs. Thanks!

  • 1
    See this answer to a similar question: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/a/5261/690
    – Farray
    Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 21:06
  • I strongly recommend that you make yourself familiar with the software manual that Illustrator offers — 2 hours of googling plus asking around in a forum seems a bit excessive for basic info on tool handling. See helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/topics.html
    – TehMacDawg
    Commented Nov 8, 2012 at 20:12
  • 2
    Here is how I solved it using AI CC. I clicked the text and used the following menu: Type > Area Type Options... Once I clicked on the Area Type Options..., it converted text on the Canvas into the format that I can simply resize and the text will wrap/unwrap onto next line automatically, depending upon the space available. Hope this helps someone.
    – Devner
    Commented Jan 1, 2019 at 12:11
  • @Devner, you are a life saver!!! I selected multiple area text boxes and wanted them all to be the same width (without scaling the text and distorting it). The answer was, in fact, to go into the *Area Type Options..." and type in the desired Width there! Commented Mar 15, 2019 at 1:03

5 Answers 5


With Area Text, you need to use the bounding box handles to resize the area text box. Any other scale or transform tool will alter text as well.

resize area text

You can also use the Direct Selection tool (White arrow) to click and drag the side of an area text box.

If you wish to alter the text box numerically then you must use the Direct Selection Tool to select the box (not the type) and then you can enter values for the width and height in the control bar without altering the scale or size of the type. See here.

  • Thanks so much Scott. For taking the time to show it so vividly in video! I woke up this morning and tried Brendan's way and it worked, so I might have to 'accept' his answer, but if I could accept two, I would really thank you too. Much appreciated!
    – PKHunter
    Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 2:45
  • 2
    I've been using Illustrator for ages and now the newest release has hide bounding box turned on lol. I've been wondering why I couldn't resize my text box for the longest lol. WTF
    – John Drach
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 16:58

In Illustrator, there are two ways to control your basic block of text:

  1. Point Type object: Select the Type tool, click on the artboard, then press Paste.
  2. Area Type object: Select the Type tool, click and drag on the artboard to create a text box, and then paste the text into there.

You've been doing number one; number two should get the behavior that you want.

  • Thanks so much. That is very clear, much clearer than so many forums out there, including Adobe's own.
    – PKHunter
    Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 2:44
  • And as far as I am aware, there is no way of converting point type to area type; you have to copy point text into a new type area.
    – e100
    Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 9:45
  • @e100 now you can convert between area and point types with double click!
    – igor
    Commented Feb 10, 2019 at 19:58
  • Is there any way to convert point and area type between each other on CS6? Commented Oct 19, 2022 at 20:11
  • @MicroMachine I don't know about CS6, but in CC 2014 go to 'Type' menu and select 'Convert to Point/Area Type' (when you have what you want to convert selected).
    – Jake
    Commented Jan 24, 2023 at 1:34

It can also be helpful to select the raw text, as in an Excel document, etc., instead of a block of text or cell. Then you should be able to select the text tool, click on the artboard and past the text without boxes. I have worked with text in Illustrator for years and have never found a reason to use a text box.


Don't use the transform handles when you have text boxes... Use the scale tool instead.. this way it will always transform properly...

In this video you can see the difference. Watch the whole thing... Scale Tool


If you want to scale all text in any Area Type box / object, this is what I do:

  1. Select all Area Type objects you would like to scale (either up or down)
  2. Group them together (Ctrl + G / Cmd + G).
  3. In the Transform Panel click the LINKED CHAIN icon at the upper right to Constrain Height and Width Proportionately.
  4. Enter the final size into either the Height or Width box and apply (Press Enter).

That should scale your text and not just alter solely the boxes / frame area.

Hope this is helpful! :)

  • 2
    This is the opposite of what the question asks.
    – e100
    Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 13:45

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