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Outline text with bullets & numbering

Community Beginner ,
Jun 26, 2018 Jun 26, 2018

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I can't seem to outline bullets and numbering along with text in Indesign cc 2018. Once I click "create outlines" bullets and numbering would disappear. Is it just me? Does anyone else experience this issue?

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correct answers 3 Correct answers

Community Expert , Jun 26, 2018 Jun 26, 2018

Why you would like to outline any text is beyond me.

But if you must, try the following:

  1. Select the Numbered or Bulleted paragraphs.
  2. Under the Options menu of the Paragraph panel, choose either "Convert Numbering to Text" OR "Convert Bullets to Text."
  3. Outline your text and the numbers or bullet will not disappear, they will be outlined.

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Jun 26, 2018 Jun 26, 2018

Like the others who have responded to you, I will note that “outlining text” is an exceptionally poor workflow practice. The exceptions are:

(1)     You need to achieve some artistic effect with some limited text that cannot otherwise be achieved with other InDesign effects that work with text.

(2)     You need vectors for purposes of sending artwork to sign cutting or similar systems that cannot handle text as realized via fonts.

The fact that you are concerned about full paragraphs with bullets a

...

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Community Expert , Jun 25, 2021 Jun 25, 2021

defaultks8d4yvdbu1n said:

"For example Im working within the signage and wayfinding sector, I outline text daily."

Yes. Perfectly doable within Acrobat Pro with a loaded PDF exported from InDesign.

Here are the steps:

 

Open the exported PDF in Acrobat Pro DC.

Go to Print Production > Preflight

Select "Acrobat Pro DC 2015 Profiles".
Then list and select Single Fix Ups > Document > Convert fonts to outlines

 

Now run the single fix up with button Fix.

 

Forgot to add this screenshot from Acrobat P

...

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Community Expert ,
Jun 25, 2021 Jun 25, 2021

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Do you have any idea who you just replied to?

 

There are very few people on this planet with the level of knowledge that Dov has. While you may be a "professional," you are not in his league.

 

You need to find new printers or do the outlining in Acrobat. The right tool for the right job is something that any "professional" should abide by.

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New Here ,
Jun 28, 2021 Jun 28, 2021

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Why would I outline files in acrobat, as a "professional" bob? How do I keep a live working version..

 

I work in indesign, and export as a PDF. As many "professionals" within this sector no doubt do the same. This isn't basic print work, were talking large scale wayfinding projects. Can guarantee every production partner we work with would bat any live files right back at me bob 🙂

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Community Expert ,
Jun 28, 2021 Jun 28, 2021

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You'd still have a live InDesign file and that's what you need if you ever have to make a change.

Converting to outlines in Acrobat is the way to handle this and if you don't want real advice and don't like the answers you get why would you even add your $0.02 to a conversation?

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Explorer ,
Oct 02, 2023 Oct 02, 2023

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You better listen to Bob. I guess he also have a hotline for all the designers that are foreced by the evil printshop owners to outline the text. And yes, Adobe is right for outlining all the text but not the bullets. Adobe is right even when you can't use an app for months just because thay added some new features that makes the app unusable. This while counting the bucks for the monthly subscription.

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 30, 2022 Sep 30, 2022

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If anyone with admin rights is reading this, please do the right thing and mark either Jeff Witchel's or TrapTurkey's reply as the correct answer.

Dov Isaacs's reply is indeed a very useful sidenote but it is NOT the answer to the question asked in the first place.
It's annoying to have to read through so much condescending exhibitionism to get to an actual answer.

See, when I'm making a pie and come to buy sugar, I don't want to hear a lecture about how unhealthy it is, do I.

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Community Expert ,
Sep 30, 2022 Sep 30, 2022

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As it is, it is correct. Never outline text in InDesign.

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Community Expert ,
Sep 30, 2022 Sep 30, 2022

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There was only factual information in Dov Isaac's reply--I see nothing condescending in it (unless one is a Luddite print service provider...). He actually gave the best solution in the last paragraph.

 

Sometimes the best answer is not a direct answer to the question. 

 

David Creamer: Community Expert (ACI and ACE 1995-2023)

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 30, 2022 Sep 30, 2022

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Ok, my bad, I only realized there actually was the Acrobat Pro advice in Dov Isaac's post after I posted mine (I wanted to edit my reply accordingly but I don't have edit rights).

I appreciate you marking Jeff Witchel's reply correct too. Thank you.

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New Here ,
Feb 23, 2024 Feb 23, 2024

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Sorry, you are very wrong, in some industries it is vital that nothing can be altered when sending to an external printer, so outlining files is crucial. If a regulatory body has approved a specific design it must be untampered as much as possible but also able to be opened in Adobe software for the printer, to maybe say for instance, add their own information, without the fear of them fiddling with the main approved design. Adobe should sort this out...to lose underlines, tables and text on top of anchored object is very poor, we end up having to proof read the documents by multiple approvers just to insure this does not cause print errors and errors can cost lives in my industry.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 05, 2018 Jul 05, 2018

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Thank you Dov and Jeff!

I had to outline the text since my file contains a system font (which is not available on Windows) that can't be packaged. The last time I sent my PDF file to the printshop they somehow managed to change all the font, so I decided to outline everything.

Anyhow, it'd be very helpful if Indesign could outline bullets and numbering as part of the paragraph within one click.

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Community Expert ,
Jul 05, 2018 Jul 05, 2018

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I don't want InDesign engineers wasting their time outlining bullets and numbering when there's a perfectly good way to do it in Acrobat. There are much more important real bugs to fix.

99% of InDesign users have no practical use for outlining.

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Jul 06, 2018 Jul 06, 2018

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If you sent a PDF file with all fonts embedded to a printer and the fonts got substituted, it is clear evidence that the printer is not to be trusted. It is possible that the printer is opening up your PDF files in Illustrator (which is not a PDF file editor) and resaving same which would indeed result in the symptoms you are seeing. If this is the case, find another printer; this one can't be trusted.

          - Dov

- Dov Isaacs, former Adobe Principal Scientist (April 30, 1990 - May 30, 2021)

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Community Expert ,
Jul 06, 2018 Jul 06, 2018

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Dov

Unfortunately, "find another printer" is not always an option.

Where I work, all printing is handled through the Purchasing department; they choose the printers and we provide the files. Some of the printers they use require fonts to be outlined, so we are stuck with providing files with outlined fonts. For these printers, we use the Acrobat preflight option.

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Jul 06, 2018 Jul 06, 2018

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That is most unfortunate since quality generally suffers from such outlined mishegoss!

It also means you need to keep both the original PDF file around for screen display and the ruined one for your Neanderthal printers.

Maybe you might try educating “the Purchasing department” that reliable, 21st century print service providers don't have stupid requirements such as outlining text, converting everything to DeviceCMYK, etc.

          - Dov

- Dov Isaacs, former Adobe Principal Scientist (April 30, 1990 - May 30, 2021)

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Community Expert ,
Jul 06, 2018 Jul 06, 2018

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We have had this discussion more than once - but they will always use the printers that give the best price, as long as the quality of the final printed pieces is acceptable. (Screen display is not so much of an issue, since most of what we do is packaging). 

Not every printer they use requires this, but a few of the major ones do.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 06, 2018 Jul 06, 2018

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Indeed! It's quite common among small/start-up companies. The place I work for rely on print shops on Taobao and Alibaba to reduce cost, lots of time their staff aren't trained to handle files properly.

Back to the outline conversation, it's more of an UX issue rather than a bug. I understand that it makes sense from an engineer's perspective, however as a user I'm definitely not expecting a part of the paragraph to disappear - even a pop up window stating certain things can't be outlined would be nice. That's being said, I agree with Steve that engineers should focus on major problems, and this issue is by no means necessary to solve. I might even be the only person who think it is an issue.

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Explorer ,
Jul 09, 2018 Jul 09, 2018

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I have a preflight droplet saved for this very reason. Signage companies often request outlined fonts for Computer Cut Vinyl items so we make PDFs with embedded fonts and if they request PDFs with outlined fonts we drop the PDFs on the Acrobat Preflight droplet and forward them.

You shouldn't need to outline fonts in indesign but like you I often get asked for them. I think older print companies run on the mantra 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' hence this issue. Often these are client preferred (cheaper) suppliers.

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New Here ,
Feb 22, 2021 Feb 22, 2021

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Hi

I'm trying to create a bulleted list of numbers, where the number will always be followed by a thin vertical line.

Can anyone advise how to do this?

Thanks.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 15, 2020 Jul 15, 2020

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Hello ling87007791,

I too encountered an issue with outlining bullets in InDesign. Similar to you, I am working with a vendor that may or may not have access to the typefaces that I am using. Though 2 years after this initial post, in InDesign 2020 version 15.1.1, a solution a co-worker helped me find was to highlight all of the text, go into the text tab > bullets and numbering > convert bullets into text. This should now allow the bullets to be outlined.

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New Here ,
Aug 11, 2020 Aug 11, 2020

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Thank you for your wonderful, short, concise response! You were kind and not demeaning like some of the other people on this thread! Your response helped me the MOST! I really appreciate it. I too have been in the printing biz since 1984 and also graphic design since 1998.....there are many printers that prefer outlines....hence why there is an option to do this. Thank you, TrapTurkey!

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New Here ,
Aug 15, 2020 Aug 15, 2020

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I'm just signing in to say I had the same question as you, found this thread, and was shocked by the condescention and arrogance of some of these responses! I hope not all graphic designers are seen in this light. Thank you Jill5E09 for asking too and TrapTurkey for your kind and helpful response.

 

Let people outline their fonts and bullets if they want to, for goodness sake!

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Community Expert ,
Aug 16, 2020 Aug 16, 2020

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This question comes up a lot, and I think some of the tone comes out of frustration when outlining drifts towards being seen as a best practice rather than a last resort, and Adobe should do something to make it easier. And it’s not just bullets, Underlines and Strikethroughs are also a problem.

 

I often see the boiler plate outline "requirement" coming from state-of-the-art online printers where the system is fully automated, and a missing font would not be caught. In those cases I’m happy to skip the outlining because it’s much easier to simply check the PDF and make sure the fonts have all been properly embedded before I send the job.

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Contributor ,
Mar 04, 2021 Mar 04, 2021

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Now THIS is the reply I have been looking for! This SOLVED the problem for me. Thank you so much!

And yes as other people have stated in an ideal world this would not be needed but when you're contracted by a Government department to create artwork you have no control over who the printer, and trust me in regional areas most printers can't be trusted with live fonts!

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Community Expert ,
Jun 25, 2021 Jun 25, 2021

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This is not the best answer; Bullets and Numbering are not the only text features that get lost when you outline text inside InDesign. You will also lose underlines and text frame colors, to name a few.

The best answer for when you have no choice but to outline text -- use the tools in Acrobat PreFlight to do the outlining.

That way, you will be assured of not lossing any text attributes along the way.

It's under Print Production > Preflight

Screen Shot 2021-06-25 at 8.22.22 AM.png

 

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Contributor ,
Jul 11, 2021 Jul 11, 2021

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I don't have the convert fonts to outlines option in my Prepress, Color and Transparency options in my Acrobat  / Preflight.

Is that something you had to download or should it be included in the standard install/update.

I'm a CC subscriber and my current Acrobat is: Adobe Acrobat Pro DC  2021.005.20048

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