changing text into vektors in indesign

gege04's picture


i sent a pdf created from an indesign file with embedded fonts to a printer and he sent back a screenshot that shows that text in some fonts were completely altered and illegible (see image before/after). as we could not find the cause of the problem (thankful for hints), the printer asked me to change the texts to vektors. this way we could avoid the letterscramble but some other problems occured:

1. i texts formated with bulletpoints the bulletpoints vanished
2. i had created paragraph formats and letter formats using the underline function to create a coloured background for emphasised text. the coloured background (i.e. the underlining) vanished and left white text on white background...

as more and more printers (especially online printshops) ask to change texts to vectors in order to garantee quality - has anybody suggestions on how to change my formats in indesign so i won't loose bullets and texts when changing to vectors?

gerhard donauer

J Weltin's picture

Hallo Gerhard,

Yes, this is a strange behaviour of InDesign. Illustrator does convert the underlining into a path. You can also just copy the InDesign textbox into Illustrator and convert it into paths there and reimport the whole thing into InDesign.
And the bullet as inherent in the font itself is being converted into paths by InDesign either way.

gege04's picture

hallo jürgen,

thanks for the tip. this will at least keep me from using underlines in indesign as textdecoration in the future.
unfortunately the project where the problem came up is a regular magazine of several pages. copying every textblock to illustrator to reimport it after the transformation is not a very nice prospect. on the other hand i would rather not have to change the whole text design concept to get rid of this underlineing issue.

for the bullets: i used the function "unordered list" from the text tool palette to creat the bulletpoints. after converting the text to vectors the bullets were gone... is there a better way to create a format with bulletpoints? one that will keep the points after the change?




riccard0's picture

You could tell InDesign to convert bullets from list to bullet characters plus tabs.

gege04's picture

thanks riccardo,
could you give me a more detailed instruction how to do this?


JamesM's picture

I did a quick test (using InDesign CS4) and found that if the bullets were made with a style sheet or using the bullet button on the control panel, then the bullets do indeed disappear when the type is outlined. Weird.

However if the bullets were made manually by typing option-8, they convert to outlines just fine.

So if you can't find another workaround, you might just make each bullet as the option-8 character, then tab over for the indent and insert the "indent to here" invisible character (command-backslash, or use Type > Insert Special Characters > Other > Indent To Here) so the text aligns at the tab.

You also might want to assign a character style sheet to the bullets so you can more easily modify their appearance.

To save time you can just type that series of characters once and then copy it to clipboard, and then just paste the 3 characters (bullet, tab, and indent-to-here character) as a unit in front of paragraphs that need bullets, and that will make it go faster.

gege04's picture

thank you james,
at least this looks like a sensible workaround. although that means, that the bullet is not part of the paragraph format and will not be easily substituted throughout the whole document lateron. - i will not need this for the current project, just thinking ahead...

riccard0's picture

I'm sorry, I only have the italian version, but it's just a matter of selecting the list and right-click (also useful if you need to style the bullets differently from the text).
I don't remember if it's possible to do it at style level.

JamesM's picture

> the bullet is not part of the paragraph format and
> will not be easily substituted throughout the whole
> document lateron.

If you assign a character style sheet to the bullets you could later change attributes like size and color easily, but I agree that it's certainly not as flexible as the method you've used in the past.

Florian Hardwig's picture

Hi Gerhard,

do not use InDesign’s ‘Convert to outlines’ command. As reported, you will lose text properties like bullets, paragraph lines etc.
A much better method is to use a ‘Transparency Flattener Preset’, and convert to outlines on exporting the PDF.

You will find the details in this thread at the Hilf Dir Selbst forum (or in this PDF by Sascha Heck (both German language). See also these comments for potential bugs in CS5. A step-by-step tutorial in English can be found at


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