Tools & Tips

10 Type Tools You Probably Aren’t Using in Photoshop


Although Photoshop is mainly considered an image editing application, it also includes a lot of features to help you work with text. In this tutorial, we are going to focus on some of the lesser known type tools of Photoshop CC. Let's get started!

1. Placeholder Text

In some cases a design has to be created before having any copy for the project. As a designer, you might get an estimate of the amount of text you will have to deal with, but you will have to present your design without the final copy. In cases like this you should use the Placeholder Text option from the Type menu in Photoshop, which fills in your text frames with Lorem Ipsum text. It is dummy text, which doesn't mean anything. It looks similar to Latin, but only simulates the pattern of Latin languages. Using Placeholder text will help you to set up your text styles and layers, and once you get the copy, you can simply replace the text in your designs.

Top 10 Typographic Features of Photoshop CC

Placeholder Text.

2. Postcard and 3D Extrusion

Photoshop's 3D capabilities have been improved significantly since their first appearance a couple of versions back. Although it might seem complicated to work with them, you should still try using them with Type layers. You can either turn your text into a 3D Postcard layer, which is flat surface that you can rotate and move in 3D space, or you can use 3D Extrusion on your text to also give it depth. Once you use any of these features your layer will be turned into a 3D layer and you will be able to edit it further with the 3D and the Properties Panel.

Top 10 Typographic Features of Photoshop CC

Postcard and 3D Extrusion.

3. Convert to Point/Paragraph and Horizontal/Vertical Text

There are two ways of adding text in Photoshop to your designs: creating Point or Paragraph Text. If you just simply click on the canvas with the Type Tool then you create a Point Type layer, and if you click and drag creating a frame for your text you will get a Paragraph Text. Both of these are useful, but the good news is that you can always change them later. You can Convert a Point Type layer into a Paragraph Type and vice versa at any time.

The same applies to converting Horizontal and Vertical text. They can also be created with two different tools or can be later converted to the opposite format.

Top 10 Typographic Features of Photoshop CC

Convert to Point/Paragraph Text.

4. Quickly Apply Color to Text

There are many ways of applying color to your text layers, but probably the fastest is by using keyboard shortcuts and the Foreground and Background Colors on the Toolbar. You can fill in a selected part of a text or a whole text layer by pressing Option/Alt- Backspace (Fill with Foreground color) or Command/Ctrl- Backspace (Fill with Background color).

Top 10 Typographic Features of Photoshop CC

Quickly Apply Color to Text.

5. Convert to Shape

Converting a Text layer into a Shape layer means that you won't be able to edit the text, but you will be able to use the Direct Selection Tool and the Path Selection Tool to make custom modifications to the characters while still keeping them as vector shapes. This conversion can't be reversed.

Top 10 Typographic Features of Photoshop CC

Convert to Shape.

6. Apply Non-Destructive Distortion and Smart Filters to Text

Turning a Text layer into a Smart Object will keep the text editable inside the source of the Smart Object and it will allow several non-destructive effects to be applied on the text. All the Filters will be added as Smart Filters and even the Free Transform tool will remember the distortions applied to the text making it easy to revert them back.

Top 10 Typographic Features of Photoshop CC

Applying Non-Destructive Distortion to Text.

7. Keyboard Shortcuts to Edit Text

There are several shortcuts in Photoshop to edit text quickly:

  1. Jump between words: Command/Ctrl-Left/Right Arrow
  2. Jump between paragraphs: Command/Ctrl-Up/Down Arrow
  3. Select characters while moving cursor: Shift-Left/Right Arrow
  4. Select words while moving cursor: Command/Ctrl-Shift-Left/Right Arrow
  5. Select lines while moving cursor: Shift-Up/Down Arrow
  6. Select paragraphs while moving cursor: Command/Ctrl-Shift-Up/Down Arrow
  7. Select by clicking: 2 clicks: word, 3 clicks: line, 4 clicks: paragraph
  8. Select/Deselect all: Command/Ctrl-A, Command/Ctrl-Shift-A
  9. Styles: Command/Ctrl-Shift-(I for Italic, B for Bold, U for Underlined)
  10. Size: Command/Ctrl-Shift- ./, (-include Opt/Alt for faster change)
  11. Alignment: Command/Ctrl-L for Left, R for Right, C for Center and J for Justify
  12. All Caps: Command/Ctrl-Shift-K
  13. Kerning/Tracking: Option/Alt-Left/Right arrow
  14. Leading: Option/Alt-Up/Down arrow
  15. Baseline Shift: Option/Alt-Shift-Up/Down arrow
  16. Start typing on new layer in Photoshop: Shift-click in the document window with Type tool
  17. Specify size of text frame in Photoshop: Option/Alt+click in the document window with Type tool

8. Character and Paragraph Styles

Character and Paragraph Styles can save you a lot of time when you need to use the same styling of text in the same Photoshop document. You can apply the Character Styles to any selected part of your text, but you can only apply Paragraph Styles to whole paragraphs. You can also experiment with mixing the two type of Styles together.

Top 10 Typographic Features of Photoshop CC

Character Style options.

9. Type on a Path and inside Objects

Combining the Pen Tool and Vector Shape Tools with text in Photoshop can result in unique and interesting typographic designs. It is best to have both the Pen Tool and the Shape Tools set to Path mode before you start creating the paths or shapes for your text. This way they won't show up in your design, you will only see their effect on your copy.

Top 10 Typographic Features of Photoshop CC

Type on a Path.

10. Copy CSS

Last but not least it is worth mentioning that you can turn any of your text styling into CSS code to use on a website. You only need to use the simple Copy CSS command in Photoshop and then place the code into your CSS file inside Dreamweaver or any other text editing application.

Top 10 Typographic Features of Photoshop CC

CSS code copied from Photoshop Text Layer.
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