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How to Outline Text in Photoshop

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial, I will show you how to add an outline to text in Photoshop and how to customize it to your needs. With this simple trick, you'll be able to outline any font in minutes! As a bonus, I will also show you how to edit the outline separately from the letters using Layer Styles.

Follow along with me over on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:

1. How to Outline Text in Photoshop

Step 1

Start by typing your text with the Type Tool (T).

type some text

Step 2

Right-click the text layer and select Blending Options.

select blending options

Step 3

Check Stroke. Your text will be outlined in the default way.

check stroke

Step 4

You can easily customize the outline by playing with the settings presented here. First, let's change the Color to make it more visible, for example to white.

change color of stroke
change stroke to white
black text with hte stroke

Step 5

The outline can also be filled with a Gradient, if you need it...

gradient stroke
text with gradient stroke

... or with a Pattern of your choice.

pattern stroke
text with attern stroke

Step 6

You can also change the thickness of the outline...

change size od outline
stroke thickness

... and change its Position towards the edge of the letters.

position of stroke
center outline

Step 7

If you want the outline to be subtler, you can lower its Opacity or change its Blend Mode to interact with the background.

change opacity of outline
transparent stroke

Step 8

Finally, if you need to remove the text and keep the outline only, that's also possible. Just go to the Blending Options and drag the Fill Opacity bar down to 0%.

change fill opacity to zero
how to make utline from text

2. How to Edit the Text Outline Separately

Step 1

Unfortunately, you can't add styles directly to the outline this way. For example, if you check Drop Shadow, the shadow will be cast by the whole text, even if you make the fill transparent. If you want to edit the outline separately, you need to use a trick. Right-click the layer and select Rasterize Layer Style.

rasterize layer style

Step 2

You can now freely use all the style settings on this outline. The downside of this method is that you can no longer edit the text, since it's been turned into a shape.

edit outline separately
how to use blending options on stroke

There are many ways to use Layer Styles to make your text more visually appealing, but if you want to save time, you can use ready-made text effects. Let me show you a few examples.

3D Text Effect

This 3D effect looks very complex, but it's simple to use. Just double click the text layer to edit the text directly. It's a Smart Object, which means that the text is saved in another file. Once you edit that separate file and save it, the main file will be automatically modified according to your changes. It can take a while if the effect is very complex, but you don't have to do anything. Just wait for the magic to happen!

3D Text Effect
3D Text Effect

Game Logo Text Effect

You can use this method to create even very complex logos. The best thing about it is that you only need to provide the text and everything else happens without any effort on your side. This text effect, for example, allows you to create a 3D-looking logo straight from a video game.

Game Logo Text Effect
Game Logo Text Styles

Retro Text Effect

You can also create text in vintage style using this method. Normally it would take a lot of time and skill to create an effect like this, but it's already done and ready to be used. Just add your own text!

Retro Text Effect
Retro Text Effect

Vintage Text Effect

Here's another example of this method. Here the text becomes a part of the whole artwork, being altered to look older. It looks almost as if it was drawn manually and not simply typed in.

Vintage Text Effect
Vintage Text Effect

Good Job!

Now you know how to outline letters in Photoshop and how to customize the outline with Layer Styles. If you want to learn more about creating text effects, you may be interested in one of our other tutorials:

how to outline text in photohop

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