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Create Type Within A Shape In Photoshop

Jennifer Farley

FinalHeartAdobe Illustrator and InDesign are both well known for their excellent capabilities when working with type. Photoshop is not at the same level when dealing with large amounts of text but you can create some nice and unsusual type designs by using shapes as text boxes.

You can create shapes in a number of ways.

Use the Pen Tool
1. Select the Pen Tool (P) from the toolbar and set the options to “Create Shape Layer.” It’s the first icon on the left. You could also choose the second icon “Create Work Path.”


2. Draw out any kind of shape with the pen. It doesn’t matter what color the foreground is set to as we’ll be hiding it in a moment.


3. Select the Type Tool (T) and bring the cursor over the shape you’ve just drawn. The cursor changes to the Type Area cursor.

4. Click once and start to type. As you type, the text will fill the shape you’ve drawn.
5. To remove the background color of the shape you’ve drawn, simply hide the shape layer in the Layers palette.

Use The Shape Tool
For more elaborate shapes, or shapes that are a bit harder to draw with the pen, you can use the Custom Shape Tool (U). Photoshop comes with lots of shapes installed and you can download tons more.

  1. Select the Custom Shape Tool (U) and in the tool options bar, click on the Shapes drop down menu.


    For this example I’m going to choose the heart shape. You can find more shapes by clicking on the flyout menu at the top right corner and choosing Load Shapes.

  2. Drag out the shape. Hold down Shift to constrain the proportions.
  3. Select the Type Tool (T), click once and start typing. Your text will stay inside the shape you’ve drawn.
  4. When you add enough text to fill the shape, you can get better results by making some changes to the paragraph justification. Open the Paragraph palette and choose Center Justify.
  5. To finish up, click on any other layer to hide the edge of the shape. Your final image should look something like this:
    This is a very useful technique in graphic and print work but I think it could be used equally as well on a web site. Is this a technique you’ve used before in Photoshop?

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