This may be a silly question but...

Im pretty new to Illustrator and I have the number 12 and i need to type text inside each number without it going outside the lines of the numbers. How do I do this? Thanks


2 Answers 2


If I understand your question correct, you want to write letters that are contained within a parent shape, such as a numerical character, the short answer is: use the Type Area Tool.

Here's how you do that:

1. Using the Type Tool, type your number character.

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2. Choose Type > Create Outlines or press Shift-Command-0/Shift-Ctrl-0. (If you want your number shape to remain as a background object in the end, make a duplicate of it now since the shape will disappear in step 5.)

enter image description hereYour text becomes non-editable (path outlines)

3. Choose Object > Compound Path > Release. (Note: Type Area Tool won't work on compound or masking paths.)

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4. Choose the Type Area Tool in the Tools Palette.

5. Click on the number shape and start typing. (Note: if you get a message complaining about non-compound, non-masking paths, try clicking on one of the anchor points.)

enter image description here

  • Thats really helpful. Thank you. What about if I want to have the black outline of the number around the text? If that makes sense?
    – Total
    Feb 28, 2012 at 16:50
  • 3
    Then I would duplicate the number and give it a stroke.
    – Hanna
    Feb 28, 2012 at 19:33
  • I know that this is late, but when I try this with an "o" or zero, either the whole shape fills in or just oval recess in the center, not the outer thin part of the character. How do I correct this? Thanks!!!!
    – user15871
    Oct 9, 2013 at 1:14
  • to handle he inner portion of a "p", "o", "a", etc, simply select the inner shape with the white arrow (direct selection tool), and fill it with white, or whatever background color your working file has.
    – Phlume
    Jun 2, 2015 at 16:57

you have to link the two paths (the inner and outer circles) to make it on continuous shape much like you would with stencil cut-outs.

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