I have two text objects in my Illustrator file that look the same, but their Appearance properties are showing up differently and I don't know why.

Here they are, with their Appearance properties:

Text 1 is shown to have a black fill, and this makes sense because if I remove it I am left with just the thick white outline. Nothing mysterious here.

Text 2 is shown to have no fill, yet you can clearly see from the screenshot that it is black just the same. It shows "Graphic Style 7", which leads me to believe this lack of a fill may have been inherited from a Graphic Style, but there are currently no Appearance properties showing that indicate what was inherited. And regardless of where the Appearance properties came from, there is still no explanation for why a black fill is showing where no fill is supposed to be.

Have I overlooked something? I would love an explanation for this discrepancy. Thanks.

1 Answer 1


For type objects, the <Characters> item in the Appearance Panel also contains a base fill and stroke for the type.

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Double-clicking the <Characters> item will highlight the text and show it's base fill/stroke. This the same fill/stroke you see in the Color panel if you were to select the text with the Type Tool

enter image description here

Graphic Styles tend to ignore this base fill/stroke when being applied to text objects (which is annoying, but a long-standing issue). In other words, regardless of the Style's configuration, the base fill of type is typically left as it is, by default - black.

Note that graphic styles typically do not alter the fill and stroke under the <characters>. Other than, when applying a graphic stye to text objects in some instances a default base fill may actually be added to type objects. It's very rare that the default fill is removed though. Even if that's how the style was saved.

  • Thank you so much for this in-depth explanation! It would have taken me ages to figure out.
    – Mentalist
    Dec 26, 2018 at 13:45

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