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How to create type effects

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You can perform various operations on type to change its appearance. For example, you can warp type, convert type to shapes, or add a drop shadow to type. One of the easiest ways to create type effects is to play the default Text Effects actions that come with Photoshop on a type layer. You can access these effects by choosing Text Effects from the Actions panel menu.

Create type along or inside a path

You can enter type that flows along the edge of a work path created by a pen or a shape tool. When you enter type along a path, the type flows in the direction that anchor points were added to the path. Entering horizontal type on a path results in letters that are perpendicular to the baseline. Entering vertical type on a path results in text orientation parallel to the baseline.

You can also enter type inside a closed path. In this case, however, the type is always oriented horizontally, with line breaks occurring wherever the type reaches path boundaries.


As you move a path or change its shape, related type conforms to the new path location or shape.

Photoshop Horizontal and vertical type on an open path
Horizontal and vertical type on an open path

Photoshop Horizontal and vertical type
Horizontal and vertical type on a closed path created by a shape tool

Enter type along a path

  1. Do one of the following:
    • Select the Horizontal Type tool  or the Vertical Type tool .

    • Select the Horizontal Type Mask tool  or the Vertical Type Mask tool .

  2. Position the pointer so that the baseline indicator of the type tool  is on the path and click. After you click, an insertion point appears on the path.
    Photoshop enter type along a path
    The baseline indicator of the Type tool (left) and the Type tool with its baseline indicator on a path (right)

  3. Enter the type. Horizontal type appears along the path, perpendicular to the baseline. Vertical type appears along the path, parallel to the baseline.

    For more control over vertical alignment of type on a path, use the Baseline Shift option in the Character panel. For example, type a negative value in the Baseline Shift text box to lower the type.

Move or flip type along a path

  1. Select the Direct Selection tool  or Path Selection tool  and position it over the type. The pointer changes to an I‑beam with an arrow  .
    • To move text, click and drag the type along the path. Be careful not to drag across the path.

    • To flip text to the other side of the path, click and drag the type across the path.

Photoshop  Direct Selection tool or Path Selection tool
Using the Direct Selection tool or Path Selection tool to move or flip type on a path.


To move type across a path without changing the direction of the type, use the Baseline Shift option in the Character panel. For example, if you created type that runs from left to right across the top of a circle, you can enter a negative number in the Baseline Shift text box to drop the type so that it flows inside the top of the circle.

Enter type inside a closed path

  1. Select the Horizontal Type tool  .
  2. Position the pointer inside the path.
  3. When the type tool is surrounded by dashed parentheses  , click to insert text.

Move a path with type

  1. Select the Path Selection tool  or the Move tool  , and then click and drag the path to a new position. If you use the Path Selection tool, make sure that the pointer does not change to an I‑beam with an arrow  or you’ll move the type along the path.

Change the shape of a path with type

  1. Select the Direct Selection tool  .
  2. Click an anchor point on the path and use the handles to change the shape of the path.

Warp and unwarp type

You can warp type to create a special type effect. For example, you can warp type in the shape of an arc or a wave. The warp style you select is an attribute of the type layer—you can change a layer’s warp style at any time to change the overall shape of the warp. Warping options give you precise control over the orientation and perspective of the warp effect.


You cannot warp type layers that include Faux Bold formatting or that use fonts without outline data (such as bitmap fonts).

Photoshop type warped with Fish style
Example of type warped with Fish style

Warp type

  1. Select a type layer.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Select a type tool, and click the Warp button  in the options bar.

    • Choose Type > Warp Text.


    You can use the Warp command to warp text in a type layer. Choose Edit > Transform Path > Warp.  

  3. Choose a warp style from the Style pop‑up menu.
  4. Select the orientation of the warp effect—Horizontal or Vertical.
  5. If desired, specify values for additional warping options:
    • Bend to specify how much warp is applied to the layer

    • Horizontal Distortion or Vertical Distortion to apply perspective to the warp

Unwarp type

  1. Select a type layer that has warping applied to it.
  2. Select a type tool and click the Warp button  in the options bar, or choose Layer > Type > Warp Text.
  3. Choose None from the Style pop‑up menu, and click OK.

Create a work path from type

You can work with type characters as vector shapes by converting them to a work path. A work path is a temporary path that appears in the Paths panel and defines the outline of a shape. After you create a work path from a type layer, you can save and manipulate it as you do any other path. You cannot edit characters in the path as text; however, the original type layer remains intact and editable.

  1. Select a type layer, and choose Type > Create Work Path.


    You cannot create work paths from fonts that don’t include outline data (such as bitmap fonts).

Convert type to shapes

When you convert type to shapes, the type layer is replaced by a layer with a vector mask. You can edit the vector mask and apply styles to the layer; however, you cannot edit characters in the layer as text.

  1. Select a type layer, and choose Type > Convert To Shape.


    You cannot create shapes from fonts that don't include outline data (such as bitmap fonts).

Create a type selection border

When you use the Horizontal Type Mask tool or Vertical Type Mask tool, you create a selection in the shape of the type. Type selections appear on the active layer, and can be moved, copied, filled, or stroked just like any other selection.

  1. Select the layer on which you want the selection to appear. For best results, create the type selection border on a normal image layer, not a type layer. If you want to fill or stroke the type selection border, create it on a new blank layer.
  2. Select the Horizontal Type Mask tool  or the Vertical Type Mask tool  .
  3. Select additional type options, and enter type at a point or in a bounding box.

    A red mask appears over the active layer as you enter the type. After you click the Commit button , the type selection border appears in the image on the active layer.

Add a drop shadow to text

Add a drop shadow to give depth to text in an image.

  1. In the Layers panel, select the layer containing the text to which you want to add a drop shadow.
  2. Click the Layer Style button  at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose Drop Shadow from the list that appears.
  3. If possible, position the Layer Style dialog box so that you can see the layer and its drop shadow.
  4. Adjust the settings to your liking. You can change various aspects of the shadow, including the way it blends with the layers below it, its opacity (how much the underlying layers show through), the angle of the light, and its distance from the text or object.
  5. When you’re satisfied with the drop shadow, click OK.

    To use the same drop shadow settings on another layer, Alt+drag the Drop Shadow layer in the Layers panel to the other layer. When you release the mouse button, Photoshop applies the drop shadow attributes to the layer.

Fill type with an image

You can fill type with an image by applying a clipping mask to an image layer placed above a type layer in the Layers panel.

  1. Open the file containing the image you want to use inside the text.
  2. Select the Horizontal Type tool  or the Vertical Type tool  in the toolbox.
  3. Click the Character tab to bring the Character panel to the front or, if the panel isn’t open, choose Window > Character.
  4. In the Character panel, select the font and other type attributes for the text. Large, bold, thick letters work best.
  5. Click an insertion point in the document window and type the desired text. When you are satisfied with the text, press Ctrl+Enter (Windows) or Command+Return (Mac OS).
  6. Click the Layers tab to bring the Layers panel to the front or, if the panel isn’t open, choose Windows > Layers.
  7. (Optional) If the image layer is the background layer, double-click the image layer in the Layers panel to convert it from a background layer into a regular layer.

    Background layers are locked and prevent you from moving them in the Layers panel. It’s necessary to convert background layers to regular layers to unlock them.

  8. (Optional) In the New Layer dialog box, you can rename the layer. Click OK to close the dialog box and convert the image layer.
  9. In the Layers panel, drag the image layer so that it is immediately above the type layer.
  10. With the image layer selected, choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask. The image appears inside the text.
  11. Select the Move tool  , and then drag the image to adjust its placement within the text.

    To move the text instead of the image, select the type layer in the Layers panel and then use the Move tool to move the text.


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