How to Type Text on a Path in Photoshop

by Nov 7, 2019Free Tutorials, Resources

Typing text on a path is often an extremely important technique, and can be used by designers in many situations, particularly in logo design. By formatting text to follow a simple vector shape or a more intricate, unique curve, you can quickly make your work stand out. 

In this tutorial, we will discuss the ways in which you can use the Pen Tool and Shape Tools, combined with the Type Tool, in order to make and edit text along a path.

The first part will discuss how to make text that follows a path made by the pen tool, whilst the second will explore how to make text that follows a shape. So let’s get started!

NOTE: If you’re a Photoshop beginner and would like to improve your skills with simple video tutorials, we recommend you to check our list of 22 video tutorials to start learning Photoshop.

– Making Text Follow a Path

Step 1: Setting up the Document

Of course, we will need to begin by opening a new document. If you want to work on a plain background, then this can be done by simply heading to File > New, along the bar at the top of the screen.

You should now have a blank document open, ready to create the path.

 

If, instead, you want to work on a photograph like the one used later on in this tutorial, by Markus Spiske temporausch.com from Pexels, then head to File > Open and select the relevant image from your files.

Step 2: Creating a New Path

Now that we have a document to work on, let’s select the Pen Tool (P) from the toolbar down the left side of the screen.

Clicking on this icon should cause an options bar to open at the top of your screen. Here, you are able to decide whether the tool will be used to form a path or a shape. In this case, we will choose Path. This effectively is invisible, as there are no colours involved.

We can now use the tool to make a curved path. The shape of this will be followed by the text that you add in later.

Step 3: Adding the Text

Once you have created a curve that you are happy with, select the Text Tool from the toolbar (located down the left side of the screen). Note that this tool can also be chosen by pressing T on your keyboard.

Clicking on this icon should open up an options bar along the top of the screen, in which you have the opportunity to select the font, color and alignment, all of which affect the appearance of the text.

If you want to use special fonts, check this tutorial to learn how to add and use new fonts to Photoshop.

Whilst these settings can be altered after you have added the text, it is easier to select the properties initially.

In terms of the alignment, the text will be positioned to the left by default. If you choose a ‘left alignment’ then you will want to start typing by clicking on the left side of your path, to ensure that there is enough room for all of the text on the path.

Likewise, if your text is aligned in the centre, then it is probably best to start typing in the middle of your path, by clicking on the centre of it with the Type Tool. 

Note that when typing on a path, the I-beam (the icon that appears when you’re typing) will have a dotted curve through it, to show that the text is following the path. 

So, with the Text Tool selected, let’s go ahead and hover the cursor over the path. When the I-beam with the curve through it appears, you can start typing, seeing that the text is following the path that you created earlier.

Once you are finished, click on the check-mark icon in the options bar to deselect the text and apply any changes that you made to the typeface.

The path should have now disappeared, and you should just be left with the text!

Editing the Text

Editing text that follows a path involves the same processes as editing normal, or straight, text. Simply highlight and select the text by clicking and dragging with the Text Tool over the text area.

Then you can edit the font, size, and color of it by changing the settings in the bar along the top of the screen.

Repositioning the Text on the Curve

Now unfortunately, we’re often not lucky enough to have the text automatically appear in the perfect position on the curve. We can solve this problem by moving it along the curve with the Path Selection Tool. 

Let’s start with choosing the Path Selection Tool (displayed as a black arrow) from the toolbar down the left side of the screen. Make sure that the text layer is selected before you do this.

Next, hover the cursor over the beginning of the text. You’ll see that the cursor changes to an I-beam with a triangle next to it, indicating that the tool can be used to move the text.

You can now drag the text along the curve, to any position you want along the path.

– Adding Text Around a Shape

If you would rather have the text follow a shape that is more uniform and common, then you have the option to make text follow a vector shape that is readily available in Photoshop, such as a circle or a rectangle.

Step 1: Creating a New Document

Of course, we will again need to begin by opening a new document in Photoshop. This can be done by simply heading along the top of the screen to File > New and choosing the settings that you would like. 

If you would prefer to use a photograph (like the one used in this tutorial, by Markus Spiske temporausch.com from Pexels) then head to File > Open and select the relevant image from your files. 

You should now have either an image or a blank canvas open.

Step 2: Using the Shape Tool

At this point, instead of using the pen tool to make a path, you’ll need to select the Shape Tool from the toolbar down the left side of the screen.

If you wish to create a rectangle or square, then just click on this icon once. If you instead want to make a different shape, such as a circle, then click on the icon twice. Doing this will bring up a menu from which you can choose the relevant tool for the shape that you want to create.

For this tutorial, we’re going to create a circle. 

Once you have selected the correct shape tool, go to the top of the screen and make sure that you are using the tool to create a path rather than a shape. You can do this by selecting Path from the dropdown menu to the left.

Next simply click and drag to create the shape. Hold down shift whilst doing this in order to make a regular shape (such as a perfect circle or a square).

Step 3: Adding the Text

The process of adding the text to follow the shape is just the same as the one used to make text that follows a path. Refer to Step 3 of the path method, earlier on in the article.

Moving Text to the Inside of the Shape

If you wish to move your text so that it lies on the inside of the path (or the shape’s outline) rather than the outside of it, then this can be done by changing the value in the Baseline Shift field. The effect that you achieve will be something like this:

So let’s start the process by moving the text to the position on the outside of the circle that corresponds with where you want it to end up.

So, for instance, if you want to place the text at the top inner side of the circle, you would, at this point, place it at the top outer side of the circle, as shown below.

Once you’re happy with the positioning, select the text by clicking and dragging over it with the Text Tool in order to highlight it.

At this point, you will need to refer to the settings in the Character Window.

If this isn’t already open, then you can load it by heading to Window > Character.

In this window, you’ll now want to focus on the Baseline Shift field, located to the left of the color option tab, at the bottom of the variables.

In this field, enter a negative number to move it down, or a positive to move it upwards. A value of about -100 worked in our case, but you can experiment with this until you are happy.

Note that moving text to the inside of a shape can sometimes negatively affect the spacing of the text, for instance making it seem condensed.

To change the spacing, simply change the Tracking Value in the Character Window. A higher value will increase the space between each letter, whilst a lower value will decrease it.

Flipping the Text on the Inside of the Circle

To create an effect like the one above– where the text has not only been moved to the inside of the circle, but has also been flipped vertically-  you’ll first need to choose the Path Selection Tool (represented by a black arrow) and hover the cursor over your text. 

Keep the cursor positioned over your text until it changes to an I-beam with two arrows. We’ll then click and drag the text downward until it flips upside down.

Now that the text is inside the circle, you can keep it in this position, or reposition it using the Path Selection Tool when the cursor is shown as an I-beam with a triangle, and dragging the text around the inside of the path. 

And that’s about all you need to know about working with text around a path in Photoshop! Combining typography and shapes can be an extremely useful method for designers, and the techniques can be applied in an endless number of situations.

BONUS

If you want to find out more about the topics discussed in this tutorial, then check out this video by Photoshop Training Channel, explaining how to type in a circle in Photoshop.

It’s extremely useful for those wanting to take typing on a circular path to a slightly more advanced level.

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