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Is there any way in illustrator to convert text into curves/ paths automatically when exporting as PDF? I couldn't find any preset option in the PDF export dialog. Are there "Actions" like in photoshop that could automate that for me? I know that Acrobat does something like this in the preflight, but I would need multiple clicks for it and it also doesn't work 100% of the time for some reason.

The need behind this: The printer asks for converted fonts to prevent errors in printing (we had some issues with missing letters because of corrupted font files, at least that's what the printer claims). I have to create around 20 pdfs a day, so it would be really time consuming to convert everything manually.

Also I imagine that it would be really hard to keep all the files organized, because I still want to keep the original file with fonts to maybe change it later. I would need multiple AI files with different versions of the fonts and this would be a horror to keep track on and delete the correct files when changes happen etc.

I hope my problem is clear and that there may be a solution for this!

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  • Select All, then Type > Create Outlines. Done. Just remember to either save a back up first, or work on a duplicate file.
    – Scott
    Nov 17, 2023 at 10:08
  • @Scott You didn't get my problem! With your "solution" I have to be really careful to not override the original AI file when exporting the PDF. I need something that keeps the original AI as it is with all the fonts and does the conversion on export. When I do your method, I have to either be really careful everytime I save, or I need two AI files, one with fonts, one with paths. Please read my question again so I don't have to explain everything in the comment again.
    – jona
    Nov 17, 2023 at 10:10
  • You have to manually save as a PDF anyway. I don't understand the issue with performing 2 steps, then saving as a PDF. It's NOT going to overwrite anything. As soon as you save as PDF, you are then working on and viewing the PDF, not the original ai file. If it makes you feel better... Save as PDF, and then Select All, create outlines, Save. Same thing, just saving first to ensure you aren't working on the AI file. I do not believe there is any automated step which will outline type for you when going to a PDF.
    – Scott
    Nov 17, 2023 at 10:20
  • @Scott I use "Save copy" to create PDFs, because there is no such thing as "Export" like in InDesign. I do this so I can keep the .ai open and make further changes if needed and don't have to worry if I'm actually working in the PDF or the AI.
    – jona
    Nov 17, 2023 at 10:23
  • Well, that.. to me.. is just asking for user error. But, well, I probably don't fully understand the workflow and it's requirements.
    – Scott
    Nov 17, 2023 at 10:24

1 Answer 1

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Create an Action.

  • Start Recording
  • Select > Select All
  • Type > Create Outlines
  • File > Save A Copy...
  • Walk through the PDF options as you need them, and save the PDF.
  • Edit > Undo Create Outlines
  • Stop Recording

I just did this and tested. It will automatically do all the steps without any need for user intervention. If you run the action a second time, when the PDF already exists, the PDF gets overwritten. But you can tick the little box to the left of the save step in the action panel to "allow user interaction" which will allow you input into the PDF dialog windows for that step.

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Just be aware when you create outlines of type you lose all type hinting. Hinting can be imperative for small type, typically anything under 11-12pts.

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  • Yeah thanks, I came up with the same thing just before you posted. Two issues for me: 1. I can't record "Undo" in the action. 2. the loctaion/ name with allways be the same. But actually for the second thing you can tick the small box next to the step to let the dialog open at that step.
    – jona
    Nov 17, 2023 at 10:35
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    @jona In the action, use the Action Panel Menu to Insert Menu Item and insert Undo that way. You may need to randomly create outline of something, then insert Menu Item and choose Edit > Undo Create Outlines It just reads as "undo" in the action here though.
    – Scott
    Nov 17, 2023 at 10:35

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