Fill in the counters on live text

Here’s another post drawing on the strength of the Appearance Panel (previously explained here, here and here)  This one to help you automagically fill in or close the counters on live text.

What’s a counter?

First off, a counter is the opening in a letter; The center of an “o”, the opening in an “e”, those are counters.  This trick will also serve to fill in any spaces in a fill such as those created when a “stroke” in text meets between 2 lines of text.

What’s the trick?

There’s no trick to it – it’s just a simple trick.  I put stroke in quotes up there because this is one of the places we use the Offset Path effect to fake a stroke to add capability not allowed on an ordinary stroke.

Here’s the file, if you want to play along at home.

Apply all of your attributes at the Type layer, leaving your character level with no fill and no stroke.

Add a fill, in this case a red fill.

Add a second fill, and move it below the red fill.  Apricot, in this example.  With that lower fill applied, apply the offset path effect to it by going to Effect -> Path -> Offset Path… I set mine to 3.5 pt, rounded.  This should get you to the upper version of the text – with all the holes in it.

Next – the trick.  Still on that lower fill, after the Offset Path, apply Effect -> Pathfinder -> Divide to it.  Nothing should happen just yet. Now in your appearance panel, click on that effect to edit it.  UN-check “Divide and Outline Will Remove Unpainted Artwork” so that your Pathfinder Options look like these:


I should add that this will also work in any circumstance where Effect -> Offset Path leaves holes that you want to fill, not just with text, though that is where I see the need most often.