The question really says it all. I want to apply brush effect on the stroke once it looks like text. All my tries have resulted in stroke being outline of the text.

  • 1
    This would normally be called "monoline" text
    – e100
    Dec 11, 2012 at 13:14

9 Answers 9


A single-stroke typeface or script are going to be your best bet, but you can kind of do it through Image Tracing with some fiddling if you'd rather use the tools already present in Illustrator.

  • First, rasterize the text (Object > Rasterize)
  • Next trace the image (Object > Image Trace > Make)
  • Set Paths, Corners, and Noise to 100 and under Create, select only Paths.
  • Mess around with the value for stroke. I find that 100 gets me closest.

Unfortunately, this is not very accurate at all. It's going to give multiple paths for letters like A and H and it typically gives weird bumps and dimples where paths cross. It's really messy and convoluted, but it's an option in extreme cases where you can't install a script and are tied to a specific font. It is easier than starting with the pen.


There's no real accurate way to do this with the default Illustrator tools. Illustrator is simply incapable of any intelligent minimization in order to achieve only single stroke characters.

However, Jongware over at the Adobe forums did write a script to create single stroke text. You can view the Adobe forums thread at this link. Or download his script via this link.

  • doesnt work for cs6
    – user8795
    Dec 10, 2012 at 18:48
  • 1
    Works just fine in CS6 here.
    – Scott
    Dec 10, 2012 at 19:20
  • Works fine in Creative Cloud (CC) 2015 as well!
    – Pwdr
    Feb 22, 2016 at 18:40

Search for single stroke font or something similar. Years ago I stumbled across an application for single stroke fonts (laser engraving or something like that). The only ones I've seen were developed for particular software and had issues in Illustrator. But, iirc, you can convert to outlines and all is well. Sorry I can't remember where I found them (or if I even have copies lying around still).


I know this is an old question, but this is the first thing that comes up in Google when you search for "illustrator text single stroke" so I thought I'd answer.

Anyway, a pretty easy way to do this is using strokes. First, convert your text to outlines using Type > Create Outlines as before. Then, set your stroke color to something different than the text color and turn up the stroke size until you have the thickness you want. Next, use Object > Path > Outline Stroke and ungroup and delete the outer regions.

Now, your text looks like it's only a single stroke (until you zoom in), but if you really want a single stroke (for laser-cutting, for example), you can achieve this by simply deleting half the lines, either the lower or the upper half. And I'm sure there's an even better way to do this last step that makes the resulting lines perfectly centered (though this will produce perfectly centered text with most fonts depending on the letters and special characters used), but it's a very minor difference anyway. This answer would probably work better with pictures, but oh well.


The best way to do this is to type your text then rasterise and image trace with line art. I just posted a video on YouTube showing how to do this.

  • Why can't he just Create Outlines with the text, why does he need to rasterize and image trace?
    – Welz
    Nov 8, 2017 at 1:51
  • @WELZ : Coming late to the party, but: Because that results in the Outline which will be a double stroke, not a single stroke.
    – Honeybear
    Mar 19, 2019 at 12:46

So for whatever reason, your font has to be extremely thin in order for the rasterize > image trace > line art option to work. So what I have been doing is adding a white stroke to my font to make it really thin before I rasterize it and this seems to work.


I have a good way to do it:

outline strokes the text

object > rasterize

image trace > preset - line art - view - outlines


  • Please add a screenshot showing what you mean ...
    – Mensch
    May 22, 2016 at 18:45

To accomplish getting a font to become outlined and include the strokes I do this:

  1. type the font you want with the stroke, kerning ,etc to get it how
    you like.
  2. ctrl + shft + o to outline the font (type > create
  3. object > path > outline stroke
  4. pathfinder toolbar - unite
  • Hi @ShadVick, welocme to GDSE and thank you for your answer. Could you explain what this does different drom other answers and why you think yours is better. Also, some screenshots always help to get a better idea of the process.
    – PieBie
    Jul 19, 2016 at 18:54
  • This isn't what was asked and creates an outline of the type, not a centerline.
    – Scott
    Sep 29, 2021 at 22:25

Select text, then go for Type>Create outlines, then Object>Expand Appearance, and then Object>Path>Outline Stroke

  • 1
    "All my tries have resulted in stroke being outline of the text" so this does quite obviously not what was asked.
    – Jongware
    May 25, 2015 at 12:04

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