How to fill in outlined text with transparency-to-color gradient in Illustrator

I’m trying to create a fading effect on an outlined text by adding gradient to transparency. Is it possible to do so?

My idea was to create an object to overlap it, but I cannot make the object of the background color because I already have a slight gradient there and it is impossible to match them.

So I thought that it might be somehow possible to make the overlapping object transparent-to-blue and somehow apply that effect to the text object, but I cannot figure out how to make it. Can someone help me with that please?

To illustrate my thought I’m attaching a picture:


The text should have a gradient from transparent to blue from left to right.

If I just apply the gradient to the text it applies an individual gradient to every letter, I want it to go across all of the letters (one gradient).


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Method 1

You can add a new appearance to the text.

Group the text (Ctrl+G) and open up the Appearance Panel (Window → Appearance)

  • Select the group
  • Click on the dropdown and select Add New Fill

Now apply the gradient:

enter image description here

This also works for Radial Gradients (not only Linear):

enter image description here

Method 2

A couple of tricks:

  1. You can use your text as opacity mask for a rectangle which has a gradient fill:

enter image description here

The top right menu of the transparency panel has “Make opacity mask”. If you use outlined text, group the outlines before using it. But there’s no need to outline the text. You can make edits as soon as you release the opacity mask.

Use white text, because by default white means “opaque”. The text can be black if you select “invert mask”. Clip must be ON.

The gradient can well have full transparency at the other end as you obviously want:

enter image description here

The background is grey to blue, the masked gradient is from opaque blue to fully transparent blue.

  1. You may want to pick colors from a gradient. Make a rasterized or expanded copy to get a color, not the gradient.

Method 3

To apply one gradient to several characters you must first group them.

To get a clean gradient from opaque color transparent you should use a mask. Do not set a gradient stop to 0% opacity.

Make your gradient from blue to white (white will disappear), select the gradient and click “make opacity mask” in the transparency panel.

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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