I'm looking for a dynamic solution where I can dynamically put a background behind a type that is bent along a path. So far I've only come up with the dynamic effect "Convert to shape: Rectangle"-option for straight text boxes. Here's an example of what i am trying to achieve dynamically:

1.) Have text around a circle's path

2.) Have a background applied automatically to cover the underlying circle, and have it the cover-background end up with the right angles so it looks as if cut out of the underlying circle.

  • One method might be to create an opacity mask on the circle, but the mask would need to be manually edited if you change the length of the line of text. It's not dynamic/automatic. Would this suffice?
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 16:04

4 Answers 4


Selecting the path with the Direct Selection Tool add a large Dashed Line with a small gap:


  • while this is easy to edit, it's not dynamic, is it? I think the OP is looking for a solution where the size of the gap automatically updates if the text is changed. Possibly a good workaround because it automatically creates the neat rectangular cut-offs the OP is looking for.
    – cetequ
    Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 13:24

I do not believe it is possible to have a dynamic background for type on a path.

In every instance it would require breaking the link between the type and the path, removing any form of dynamic control. Methods to create the background can be myriad - from envelope distortions, to art brushes, but none of them would be dynamic.

What I typically do is create the background on straight text, using a fill and Convert to Shape as pointed out in the question, then use Envelope Distort to match an arc or curve. This is about as close to dynamic edit ability as I have found.


Here's my "solution". It's not pretty, but here we go:

  1. Draw an Ellipse and add your Text to in with the Type on Path tool: Text on Path

  2. With the text aligned left, add a space and a tab after your text. Then select the tab and hit the Text Strikethrough button in your characters Panel: add strikethrough to the tab

  3. Now, open the Tabs window and adjust the length of the selected tab to fill the entire remaining circumference: adjust Tab length

  4. Next you can select the Tab and – by adjusting the Type Size and the Baseline Shift – control the thickness and position of your Stroke: adjust Stroke

You can tweak Type sizes and the Type on Path Options to refine your results.


You can actually achieve a dynamic background by starting with your type-on-path circle with the text and ensuring the path options have your text aligned by the "Ascender", which will make the text be contained inside its path shape.

At this point you add a new stroke below the characters and apply the Convert To Shape effect as an Ellipse, with the proper relative negative width/height settings to tuck the new stroke below the text as needed.

Then you add a new fill also below the characters and this time do an Offset path on it so it forms a blob behind the text. Enter such an offset setting that will make this background blob engulf all of the letters and then some.

This is where either you'd need to add | pipes | to the text or otherwise be ok with potentially a jagged or different-sloped edge where you wish to have a straight edge. However there could be more ways to deal with this using even more effects - but for now, let's accept the jagged edge.

So once the fill is in place, you may just be ok with the white-on-white background which will produce a similar visual result as your background blob will be the same color as your background - or you may want to turn the opacity of the new fill to 0% and enable Knockout Group option in the whole object's opacity settings. This will knock out any transparent background.

Appearance Styling Dynamic Text!

  • 1
    This is a really nice approach. The Knockout Group option is wicked! ;)
    – dom
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 10:11

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