Any way to change the background color of a text box without all the workarounds such as placing another shape behind the text.

I need to have a textbox filled with the color of 249, 249, 249 and a stroke of 204, 204, 204 which will be 1px. I also need to have the text kept at a distance of 5px from all four sides from the stroke internally.

Currently, I am doing this by having a rectangle of size say 300px X 500px, giving it a fill of 249, 249, 249 and stroke of 1px of color 204, 204, 204. Then I add a Text Box by using the Type Tool and draging to to "draw" a box of 290px X 490px and placing it in the middle of the above rectangle so that I get 5px distance from all four sides.

It does what I want but it's not elegant. Any better way to do this?


4 Answers 4


To make the text box a different color, select a corner of the text box with the Direct Selection tool (the white arrow). Adjust the color/stroke normally.

To create a margin between the box edge and the text itself, select the box with the regular Selection tool (black arrow), then go to Type > Area Type Options, and adjust the Inset Spacing under the Offset category.

  • Sorry But I must be doing something wrong. Following your steps changes the color of text, not the background of the text box
    – Jawad
    Jul 26, 2012 at 20:54
  • Yes I am using the Direct Selection Tool. I am not making any mistake about it. White Mouse Arrow = Direct Selection Tool (A)
    – Jawad
    Jul 26, 2012 at 20:58
  • 1
    I apologize, I should have said that you must select one of the corner points of the text box with the Direct Selection tool.
    – cheribom
    Jul 26, 2012 at 21:01
  • I've edited the original answer to reflect @cheribom's comment above. Feb 26, 2015 at 16:42

Create the Area Text (text box)

Select the Area Text with the Direct Selection Tool (white arrow)

Color to your heart's content.


To vertically align the text within the background box you may also need to set a negative baseline in the Character > Show Options > Baseline Shift box.


In Illustrator v26, you can create an area text box by dragging out a text box to fit into, "rather than just clicking once to use Point Type". The area text box and the text can thus be filled with different colors with different transparency.

Check out this tutorial for more.

  • This is true for just about any version of Illustrator, not simply v26. In addition, it's simply a repeat of the already selected answer but with a link. Is the link self promotion because it has nothing directly to do with the question?
    – Scott
    Feb 17, 2022 at 22:40
  • guess it's different from the selected answer? No need to promote anyone.
    – Code42
    Feb 20, 2022 at 23:50

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