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Tutorial 13

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Creating Contours with the Pen Tool in CorelDRAW

In our last tip, we highlighted the use of CorelDRAW’s Interactive Contour Tool. But, you may have noted that the tip also showed steps for correcting some random errors that can occur, particularly when contouring text. An error-free, and often faster, way of adding a contour can be done using your Outline Pen Tool, then converting the Outline to an object.

To Illustrate our point, we’ve chosen an example that is particularly prone to error. The year 2001 has been typed in 5-inch tall Helvetica Bold. We then applied a 1/4-inch Outline Contour to it, which resulted in 13 random flat spots (circled). Normally, you would need to manually node edit the outline to correct the errors. But, by applying the same outline using the Pen Tool, the results are error free.

The Pen Tool is obviously superior, in this case. But, it isn’t vinyl-ready (unless you use CoCut Pro, which converts outlines to cutable objects on-the-fly).

Luckily, CorelDRAW has a quick and easy way to make it vinyl ready. Here’s how:
  • First, create some text (we’re using 10” tall Swiss 721 BT)
  • Then, apply a 1/4” Outline by going to your Outline Tool options and applying a 1/2” (Not a typo! The Outline Tool strokes from the center of your line, so you’ll have to double the amount of your desired outline)
  • Enable the the Behind Fill option
  • Apply an Outline color

  • Presto, your text now has a perfect 1/4” Outline
  • But, it’s not vinyl-ready yet
  • To make the outline vinyl-ready, you must first convert it to a vector object (Ctrl-Shift-Q), which will also separate yours Text and Outline elements
  • Next, Cut your text element to the Windows clipboard (Ctrl-X). This allows you to make modifications to the Outline and then replace the Text element, precisely in-place, with a simple Paste command (Ctrl-V).

  • Break apart your Outline (Ctrl-K)
  • Change your viewing options to Wireframe (View > Wireframe) so that you can see the lines of your interior elements (we’ve made them red in the illustration below)
  • Select and Delete the unwanted interior elements

  • Finally, recombine your Outline (Ctrl-L) and Paste back your original Text element (Ctrl-V)
  • You now have a precise, cutable, 1/4” Outline and a separate, cutable Text element: