Set Area Type width to larger than 13.888 inches via Type->Area Type Options... dialog
Though the type tool can draw area type boxes of any size, the width property of the Area Type Options dialog box can only be set up to 13.888 inches. This means that for any wider area type, whenever you change a property within the Area Type Options it will be resized to 13.888 inches wide.
This is not a new problem as seen in this thread started in 2010: https://forums.adobe.com/thread/701249.
I often work on area type larger than this seemingly arbitrary limit. If I adjust the columns, gutters, inset or any other property found within the Area Type Options then Illustrator changes the width to 13.888 inches. Then I have to manually correct the width of these area type boxes by dragging the bounding box handles. This often means making an extra object or guides set at the correct width to which I snap the area text.
The 13.888 inch limit in Area Type Options should be removed!
I tried this fix but my Mac wouldn't let me save over the original .eve file and I can't seem to unlock it. See attached. Any suggestions?
Jon Hendrickson commented
You do need to have administrator privileges to make this change. On a Mac, ensure Illustrator has been exited, then in Finder right click your Adobe Illustrator 201X.app (where X completes the year in the name on your system), choose "Show Package Contents" from the popup menu, then search for the "AreaTypeOptions.eve" within this package (in mine it was here: Adobe Illustrator 2019.app ▸ Contents ▸ Required ▸ Plug-ins ▸ Illustrator UI ▸ IllustratorUI.aip ▸ Contents ▸ Resources ▸ eve). Once you find it, open this file in a text editor of your choosing.
Once you have it open in the text editor, use the search and replace function to find "max_value: 1000" and replace it with "max_value: 10000" for a larger Area Type box limitation. You will likely receive a warning message informing you that the file is locked and you are not a member of the group "wheel" and then ask for your permission to unlock the file. This happened to me In BBEdit when I started "find & replace" and then I needed to type in my local account password.
When you are done replacing the old max value, save the file. When you launch Illustrator the next time, you will now have a maximum AreaType box size of 10000 points or 138.889 inches. If you need a larger size, simply increase that number to your preferred size in points (1 inch = 72 points).
In Windows 7-10, this change should be relatively similar. I don't have a Windows system in front of me right now, but past experience with changing those file showed me that the folder structure under "Program Files" is relatively similar to the folder structure inside the .app container for Illustrator on a Mac. YMMV
Jeff D commented
This is an unbelievable oversight.