Digital Art How To Offset Path In Illustrator

How To Offset Path In Illustrator

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The stroke is one of the most obvious ways to outline an object or shape in Adobe Illustrator. An object, shape, or text might be filled with a color or simply outlined with a line. 

The offset option is more precise than applying strokes directly to an object. You will be able to control the distance of the stroke, which you cannot do with the regular stroke from the toolbar. 

In this tutorial, I’ll guide you through a few steps to easily create an offset path around an object or text. 

Let’s get started!

Check out this list of the Most Used Vector Graphics Software.

Why use Offset In Adobe Illustrator?

As the name suggests, the Offset Path creates a copy of an object with the path positioned at a specified distance from the original. You can edit the distance. It looks like a stroke, but it duplicates the original object and adds a path to the new duplicated object. 

Let me show a quick example. I created a circle with the Ellipse Tool (L). When you create an Offset Path, you get another circle around the first one, in the same color as the original. The distance is defined by the value you entered in the Offset Path panel.

You can create the Offset Path option from the overhead menu Object > Path > Offset Path or the Properties panel under quick actions when you have selected the object to offset.

You can also access it from Effect > Path > Offset Path. You don’t need to use all of these methods. Find the most adequate to you. 

This is where the fun begins. Let’s offset some text. 

Start by typing your text with the Type tool (T). For Offset Path to work, you need to create an outline. Right-click on the text you just created, and select Create Outlines. Creating outlines turns your text into an object that you will not be able to edit later. 

Adjust the size and create a compound path from the overhead menu, go to Object > Compound Path > Make. 

Select your text and access Object > Path > Offset Path from the overhead menu. 

 Adjust your values from the Offset Path panel. You can play around with the Joins for a better result. I chose Round. Once you are satisfied, click OK

Turn the copy into a stroke. You should have something like this.  

Here we go! Change the color of your text and the Offset Path. You can ungroup the path to work on the objects individually. 

Add a background color of your choosing. Create more offset paths. 

What to keep in mind 

The Offset Path is very easy. You only need an object (vector or outlined text). You can find it in the overhead menu, Object > Path > Offset Path, or the Quick Actions option in the Properties panel. Adjust the distance and stroke style from the Offset panel. 

Remember to outline your text, before you use the Offset Path. 

Most importantly, you can also apply a negative value to the offset, which makes the new stroke smaller than the original. 

Explore the possibilities! 

Related Article: Creating Patterns in Illustrator