How to Create an Outline Effect in Adobe Illustrator

A simple effect, that has astonishing results.

  1. Open a new document in Illustrator.
  2. Make a closed path or type some text. If you use text, make sure you expand it, by selecting it and going Object -> Expand.
  3. Copy and paste what you just made, and make one white (the one that will be on top), and one black (the one on the bottom).
  4. Select the black one, go Effect -> Path -> Offset Path. Click on the "Preview" check box, and figure out how thick you want the outline to be. Click OK.
  5. Make sure the white one is on top by right clicking on the object and going Arrange -> Send to Front. And make sure the black one is on the bottom by going, right click -> Arrang -> Send to Back. 
  6. Then, make sure your "Align" window is open by going Window -> Align. Select both object and click the "Vertical Align Center" and "Horizontal Align Center" buttons.
  7. Sit back and enjoy your awesome design. 

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15 comments

michelle 6 years ago

how do I add another outline around the solid black??


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jamestedmondson 6 years ago from San Francisco Author

Pretty much doing the same thing, again.


simon fobi 6 years ago

thanks a lot. this really helps


Marc McClain 6 years ago

What font is that?


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jamestedmondson 6 years ago from San Francisco Author


Tonina 6 years ago

Is it possible to set up a preset or actions (ALA Photoshop) to make this automatic?


tatt 6 years ago

thank you for the great tip! :)


Jen 6 years ago

I just want to say, I'm an Illustrator newbie, and I spent TWO hours looking for this explanation. So simple to do. Thank you so much for sharing!!


Wendy 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing!!


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waynet 5 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom

That looks amazing and quite professional too, looks like proper comic book font style, now all I need to buy is Adobe Illustrator!


Joy 4 years ago

This tutorial is the best! Easy to follow and my vectors turned out awesome! Thanks for sharing it!


Steph 4 years ago

Thanks for the help! It saved me lots of time and I learnt something new! Amazing1 ;)


Soni 4 years ago

thanks for this help, really useful


Andrew 4 years ago

nice one, appreciated


icon package 4 years ago

I confirm. All above told thetruth.

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