Welcome to Lesson 6 of our Inkscape class. This time we're working with text. Working with text is relatively easy and I'll show you the basics. We won't get into the advanced topics of working with text in this class. But you'll certainly be armed enough to tackle some of your basic word art.
There will be many times when you work with text. You may want to create some word art or write instructions on your pattern. At the very least, you should be signing your patterns with you name and date so other scrollers can give you credit for the design. Inkscape doesn't have many options regarding text, however. Its a little disappointing because text is a major part of graphic arts. I'd imagine in future updates, you'll have many more options. Regardless, we're still able to do a lot with text in our patterns.
Text is easy to add to any document. Simply click the Text Tool from the Tool Bar and click in your document. A cursor will show up, and you can begin typing. When you are done, select another tool, and your text will now become an object. You can edit your text the same way as with any other object. You can scale, rotate and skew. Later, you can change the words in your text by simply clicking the Text Tool and clicking your text. A cursor will show up, and you can edit your text accordingly.
Another option for adding text is by creating a Text Box. Simply choose your Text Tool from the Tool Bar, then click and drag a box. This box becomes a container for your text. Try adding several sentences to your Text Box. You'll notice when you get to the edge of the Text Box, your words will wrap around onto a new line. If the sentences go beyond the bottom of the Text Box, the overflowing words will be hidden. Now try resizing your text box by dragging the small diamond in the lower right corner of the Text Box. You'll notice as you change the size of the box, the word-wrap changes.
This is a handy tool when creating brochures or any document that requires columns. It is much easier to size the text box to the size you need, rather than formatting the text by hand. You can also use this option if you have assembly instructions for your patterns.
When you have your Text Tool selected, you'll notice a bunch of Font Properties that appear in the Options Bar. This works much the same as a word processor. Simply select your text and choose your options. You can choose your font from the pulldown menu, change your size, change justification (left, center, right, or justified), as well as bold and italics. You'll also notice you can make the text vertical or horizontal.
One quirk I've noticed with Inkscape is that the Font Selection pulldown doesn't always work. More often than not, I have to use the Font Properties popup window. You can find this at the top of your screen in the Tool Bar. The icon looks like the letter 'T.' Clicking this will pop up a window with the exact same options you had in the Options Bar. Make your selection, then click Apply, then close the window.
Every once in awhile, certain letter pairs look a bit odd when placed next to eachother. There appears to be much more white space than is needed, despite the fact they are properly spaced. Letter pairs such as TA or VA. You can reduce the amount of space between letter pairs by Kerning. Simply place your cursor between a letter pair, hold down your Alt key and use your left or right arrow key. You'll notice the letters begin to nudge closer or further away depending on which arrow key you press. You can also raise (superscript) or lower (subscript) your letters by pressing the arrow key up or down. Kerning gives you creative control over your text without altering the text functions.
Text To Path
When creating word art, sometimes you want to have complete control over the letters. Unfortunately, the text tool is rather limited. However, you can take the text you created and turn it into a path. When this happens, you no longer have text that you can change, but rather a shape. But this also affords the luxury of editing the nodes and moving individual elements wherever you want them.
To turn text into a path, simply select your text with your Selector Tool. Then go to Path>Object To Path. Now you have full control over the nodes and you can edit your new shape any way you want.
There may be times when you want each individual letter to be separate. To do that, go to Path>Break Apart. This will break apart your object into individual objects. You may notice that some closed letters such as 'a' 'o' 'e' 'd' etc, lose the hole in the center. This didn't really disappear. Remember that Break Apart breaks a complex shape into multiple simple shapes. So the hole in the center is also a shape. To bring those back to what they were before, simply select the letter and the hole and go to Path>Combine. This will combine the two objects into one object. The smaller object will become the hole for the larger object. So now your closed letters are back to their former glory. Now that your word is broken into individual letters, you can now manipulate them any way you want.
Text On Path
This is a fun option you may want to play with. You can make text flow along a path. Using your Bezier Tool in your Tool Box, create a straight line. Then turn that straight line into an 'S' curve with your Node Editing Tool. Select your text (it has to be editable text, not an path like we created in the previous section), then select your path. Choose Text>Put On Path. You'll notice the text now follows the line you just created. If you edit the line, the text will follow suit. If you wish to hide your path, simply choose the path and remove the stroke and fill colors. The path is still there, you just can't see it. If you need to select your path again, use your Tab key to select objects until you find your path.
One note. When creating a path for your text to follow, it will always place the beginning of the text at the first node of the path. So if you created a path that started on the right side of the screen and ended at the left side of the screen, when you place your text on the path your text will be upside down.
To fine tune the location of your text on the path, use a combination of spaces and Kerning.
Play around with the text tool.
Create some text, turn it into a path, break it apart, combine any closed letters, and start manipulating individual letters to create some word art.
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