I'm trying to figure out how to use the type on a path tool in Illustrator. I used the curvature tool to draw a wavy line, which I now want to type on. I keep getting a message that I cannot make any sense of. It reads:


I have seen this post, which describes the same problem, but I tried the answers suggested and they're not working. I wonder if something has changed in illustrator since this question was last answered?

  • 1
    Do you want type on a path or type inside a shape? The question you linked to refers to inside a shape.
    – Scott
    Jun 11, 2021 at 8:23
  • 1
    In general, you use the Type on a path tool and merely click directly on a path.
    – Scott
    Jun 11, 2021 at 8:28

2 Answers 2


That message tells that your path isn't a simple path. Type on Path tool doesn't accept anything else. An example:

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A circle isn't accepted. But closer inspection reveals that my circle is a compound path:

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It's made of a circular path by applying Outline Stroke. Expanding a closed path and some Pathfinder panel operations make also compound paths. They are the way to have holes in Illustrator.

Try Object > Compound Path > Release.

Make a copy because if your path happens to have several components you may want to delete the unwanted ones. What's left vanishes when it's used as a path of text.

A path which is clipping mask for another path also cannot be a path of a text. You get the same error message if you try to edit a clipping mask and apply Type on Path.

A path which is made partially invisible with a clipping mask can well be a path of text. Only that part of the text stays visible which fits below the clipping mask.


Other than the path being compound or masking, if it is a sub-layer you will not be able to type text onto it. If this is the case copy the sub-layer into a new layer.

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