View Full Version : Corel X4: How to convert text to single vector line?

Robert Ray
05-06-2008, 6:57 PM
I want to convert text, any font, it don't matter, into a single vector line instead of an outlines font, to engrave simple marks without rastering, or the complete inside and outside outlines that it does to text when you delete fill and turn on outline.

Right now the way I do it is to draw vector lines to build text, but if I could just type text (like the arial font) and convert to single line vector, that would be great!

Anyone know how?

Robert Ray

Joe Pelonio
05-06-2008, 7:34 PM
I think if there was a way one of us would have found it before...

so probably not. There are some single line fonts for vector engraving,
some are in this thread


Since they are used by CNC people and rotary engravers, you can try looking for fonts for those and see if they can be used.

Darren Null
05-06-2008, 8:22 PM
Does the recently reinstated 'centreline trace' not work? I am still on X3, so can't tell from here.

Robert Ray
05-06-2008, 8:41 PM
Thanks Joe, I tried those fonts and there is one that is thin enough, so I will test it.

I posted the question to Corel also, and they said to install the Engravers fonts on the X4 DVD, but they are too thick still.

I tried to do a centerline trace over text, but trace stuff is grayed out because the text is not a bitmap.


Darren Null
05-06-2008, 8:55 PM
Can you convert text to a bitmap in the CONVERT TO BITMAP bit?

Anthony Welch
05-06-2008, 9:05 PM
Maybe not what you are looking for but, I've got the latest flyer from Epilog in front of me now and it lists 10 new Fonts that are single line in x4.

Mike Null
05-06-2008, 11:02 PM
And no, you can't just type a font in older versions Corel and convert it to a single line font.

Robert Ray
05-07-2008, 9:56 AM
I installed those 10 new Engravers fonts last night, and they are thin, but not really single line fonts. To be fair, I have not tried to engrave with them yet, but I will try tonight just to be sure.

What I did do was look over them all, and one of them kind of resembles an arial font. I forget it's name right now, but the font name starts with the letter M, when you view it.

I tried to convert to curves, and it also has an outline.

Now one of the fonts that Joe posted a link to looks like a true single line font. When I try to zoom into it, the text disappears, and the whole line of text turns into a single black filled circle? Weird, but it looks like it will work.

As far as converting text to a bitmap, I did not see that feature yet, so I will take a closer look tonight.

Right now I have to play musical Rofin's, and swap out 3 big lasers. These lasers are 3' x 7' x 6' 3500 watt beasts getting replaced with 4000 watt monsters, and have their own CO2 gas bottles plumbed up to them for their every 72 hour gas change.

-Robert Ray

Rodne Gold
05-07-2008, 11:04 AM
If you have Autocad , which , if you are running large scale lasers , I assume you do, then you have a LOT of fonts in shx format that are single line , if you dont , you can get em off the net.
You can do one of 2 things, either engrave directly off Acad , or use the explode text in Acad to convert the SHX to lines and arcs and export to corel. Whether you can explode the SHX font directly in ACAD depends on what version you have , but there is a LISP routine in bonus files, available to do it from ver 14 called txtexp.lsp
I have a package I wrote called Starfont that allows you to type vector based fonts in acad including a lot of single line ones, I wrote it for very early versions , 9 and below. Havent used it in years tho
Alternatively , you can spend $79 and purchase this
Just be aware that with single line fonts and a laser there are issues, firstly the line width is as thin as a hair , thus they are sometimes unreadable
secondly you will have ramping issues on corners, curves and start and end points , your savings in cycle times using single lines might not be worth it

Roy Brewer
05-12-2008, 12:57 AM
I installed those 10 new Engravers fonts last night, and they are thin, but not really single line fonts. Robert,
CorelDRAW simply can't handle anything but an out line font.
Corel's "engraving fonts" are made to look like the fonts used on a mechanical engraver but they are *not* single line fonts.

I use the Xenetech engraving software when I really need single line font, but I think all engraving programs will run your laser. In case you don't have aCAD(to take advantage of Rodney's suggestion) SignLab, Flexi and other similar programs for signmaking and routing also have single line fonts and will output to a printer(your laser).

Mike Null
05-12-2008, 7:27 AM

I read the same promo on X4 as somebody else and recall the item about single line fonts being included.

Are you saying that was not accurate info?

Roy Brewer
05-13-2008, 2:31 AM
I read the same promo on X4 as somebody else and recall the item about single line fonts being included.

Are you saying that was not accurate info?Mike
While I'm very impressed and appreciative of Corel Corp trying to do something just because engravers asked, they never have quite understood what it is we want. What they are calling Engraving fonts are made to look like they were done with a diamond drag tool; if there was really anyone who needs that, we've got it!

To say that a different way, there are a couple of the Engraving Fonts in X4 that will look like a sinlgle line font done on a mechanical engraver. All of these fonts are outline fonts with the outlines very tight; so we still have the double pass(at best) and at least slightly larger stroke and we still cannot, therefore, use corel to create the text for a router/rotary system (control panel requiring tiny letters deep engraved in SS, e.g.).

Those of us who previously used Designer for this function were ecstatic when Corel purchased Designer because we felt sure that function was one they would integrate into Draw. Instead, they took it out of Designer (so they could say "Must not be possible, because no other Drawing program does it!)!

Rodne Gold
05-13-2008, 4:30 AM
There must be some type of program that can build TT fonts from drawings, if so , it would not be difficult to actually create single line fonts

Kenneth Hertzog
05-13-2008, 8:51 AM
Here is the link from the CNC site that has the link to single line fonts

hope I didn't break any rules by copy and paste.



have not used them myself but Steve has.

Duane Parcells
05-13-2008, 9:29 AM

My machine is down to be moved so I can't check if it runs correctly. (It should) Give this a try......

Convert your text to curves then set the fill to none and the outline to hairline. Use the Smartfill tool to fill each letter. To keep the kerning as it is select each letter with the shift key down and move your new letters away and delete the originals. Reset your new letters to no fill and hairline for an outline. Each letter is now a single curve and should vector just fine. Probably want to group them so the kerning doesn't change at this point. I use this method for working with dxf and eps files to eliminate all kinds of problems. I'll check in a day or so to make sure it works. Let me know if it is successful.

Mike Null
05-13-2008, 1:49 PM

That works but it is still an outline rather than a single line font.

As someone else has said earlier I don't know how much use single line fonts would be for laser engraving. In 10 years I can't think of a time when I needed them.

Robert Ray
05-13-2008, 2:09 PM
I need them to number the vector cut parts on a kit sheet. I forgot to try the suggestions last night. I have a deadline to get a model sample out the door, then I start working on the instructions so some numbering will come then.

-Robert Ray

Ben Levesque
05-13-2008, 9:48 PM
Rob, is this what you are trying to do? If so, I just made those in vector. Arial with (fill color empty, outline color linked to a mapped color with 40% speed and 3% power, so it would just burn the surface, and vector active and rastering inactive)
They don't take much time to burn.
Or maybe I don't understand your needed end results.



Robert Ray
05-13-2008, 10:47 PM
Hi Ben, that's just about what I am trying to do. It don't take that long really, I was just hoping there was a way in Corel to convert any font into a vector line.

Is that another new house kit I see Ben? :D


Ben Levesque
05-14-2008, 7:03 PM
Is that another new house kit I see Ben? :D

I wish! It's the old Billy one. Didn't have time to play on other project for a wile now.

I understand what you want to do now, drawing your numbers by hand in advance is the best solution, I come from Autocad, and going to Corel, I used to draw my numbers beside and always copied them where needed. So by default I do the same thing in Corel. I always keep beside all numbers and letters needed, I am sure it is faster than opening a new text box and type in your letters.


Darren Null
05-14-2008, 7:37 PM
I've needed the facility once so far- someone wanted 'Madeleine' inscribed on a tiny area of a lady-sized watch (somewhat less than 1mm high and about 4mm across).
I ended up getting text the size I wanted, and tracing the centreline manually in red so it showed up. I ended up doing it twice, because CorelDraw does freaky pointy stuff if you change direction suddenly when you're working down at that size.
Being able to Centreline trace the letters would have been much easier...but on the trace quality in X3 I'd probably have ended up doing it manually anyway.

Incidentally, I didn't go over the edge with the inscription- that's the angle the photo was taken at plus the depth of the glass. It's exactly in the centre of the area if you look at it straight on. He shoots! He scores! I couldn't even see it when it was finished- I had to take a photo and blow it up to make sure it was right. Getting old.