Working with typography is almost the daily bread of every graphic and web designer, as it is the easiest way to communicate when an image is not enough. Typography has certain values that designers learn to master with time and on this quick tutorial, we will break down all the character and paragraph features in Photoshop so you can work typography with absolute control and easiness.
Character options in Photoshop
Although Photoshop and Illustrator have similar options regarding typefaces, there are some important differences that make necessary to explain these two programs in separate article. This week we’re going to discuss Photoshop, on the next picture you will see a regular text with no changes other than the ‘ës’ in color.
Let’s begin with the basics, to enter a text you must choose ‘Type Tool’ (shortcut T) and select between the following options:
The first two options let you choose between horizontal or vertical orientation, the other 2 options two the same but instead of inserting text, they generate a pixel mask based on text.
Now let’s see the different changes that we can make to this text. Let’s open the ‘Character’ box to take a look at the different options that you can work with.
As you can see, there are plenty of options within the ‘Character’ box that you can work with, let’s see what each one of them do to your texts:
These first two fields will let you choose the font and the style, usually when you select a font, there are different variations to choose from, being some of the most popular the bold and italic versions.
This box lets you change the size of the text, though it displays some values by default you can insert any size value you want manually.
This field is called ‘Leading’, it allows you to adjust the space between lines, which can help you create some pretty cool overlapping effects.
This option is named ‘Kerning’, this option adjust fonts in ‘metrical’ or ‘optical’ modes to display the font as good as possible by reducing the space between characters.
If you only want to edit the basics, you can find a simplified text bar on top of the program, from there you can edit the size, style, align and others, let’s take a glance.
There are only 2 fields that you might not be familiar with. On the left side we have text orientation, which lets you change between vertical or horizontal distribution; the right field is specially used by web and icon designers, it allows you to adjust the anti-aliasing appearance of the text, choosing between sharp, crisp (pixel perfect), strong and smooth.
Because Photoshop is not a vector-based software, you cannot generate crazy text like Illustrator does with ease, luckily there’s a way that gives you an approach to this and that’s the ‘warp text’. This option lets you ‘twist’ texts and generate some pretty cool things.
You can warp your text in many ways by choosing from the different effects, which include among others ‘fish eye’, ‘arc’, ‘twist’ and more.
Advanced character options
So far we’ve learned how to change the main values of a text, adjust its anti-aliasing appearance and using the warp tool to give it a nice twisted appearance. Now we’re moving back to the ‘Character’ window to continue checking the available options.
- While kerning assigns specific letter spaces, tracking adjust the overall value, regardless of the characters, this is very useful when you just want to expand a word’s area without adding any further characters.
- With this option you can stretch/contract a word horizontally, another useful tool that helps emulate some of the Illustrator’s features.
- There’s nothing to say about this hahaha, it’s just the color picker for your texts, you can either apply it to an entire word or specific characters.
- If you’re a Word user, then you know most of these options. You can emulate bold and italics in case the chosen font don’t have those variations, make subscript or superscript, insert an underline or a strike-through.
- This is the same anti-aliasing tool that you can find on the upper bar.
- This option is useful in case you’re writing large paragraphs because it lets you define the language and work with different grammar and spelling rules.
- With baseline shift, you can have a single sentence and change the vertical position of some or all of its words.
- Vertical scale is the complement to the #2 point, it lets you stretch/contract a character vertically.
If you click on the up right icon, you will access to some other character functions that can be useful in case you’re working with large paragraphs and texts, otherwise you can do great by just mastering the main panel.
Paragraph options in Photoshop
Now that we have seen all the character options, we can mover forward to the next important panel, paragraph. This is a very useful panel for when you’re going to work with larger texts, let’s see the options you can work with:
- On the left side we have three options that will let you choose your paragraph’s alignment, you can select left, right or centered position. On the right side you’re going to find 4 options are very useful to give the best appearance to your paragraph, you will love these in case that you have seen how Word messes up texts by leaving tons of space between words in some lines.
- This option allows you to adjust the left indent of your paragraph.
- Like the previous option, this one will let you do the same but from the right side.
- This is a nice option that allows you to change the indent of the first line of the paragraph.
- With this option you can define how much space is going to be on top of a paragraph.
- To complement the previous option, this one lets you define the amount of space below a paragraph before the next one begins.
- This is for typography purists, you can define if the text is going to accept hyphens or not.
Advanced paragraph options
Same as with characters, you can activate the secondary options of the ‘Paragraph’ panel by clicking on the upper right button. There are some useful options in here, though the only 2 that are really important to master are ‘Hyphenation’ and ‘Justification’.
Sometimes it might happen that you want to activate the hyphenate option but without small words being separated, you can fix this by accessing the ‘Hyhenation’ menu.
As you can see, this panel gives you absolute control over how you want hyphenation to work, you can define the amount of letters that a word must have in order to be hyphenated, adjust the hyphen limit and more.
The other nice option is ‘Justification’, from this advanced panel you can do almost whatever you want when it comes to justifying your text, which is something that not many people know about.
So far we have learned all the basics plus some couple of tips that will make your life way easier while working with the Type tool, now we want to show you some tricks that you probably don’t know about and that can be really helpful to create awesome designs.
Switching between point and paragraph texts
There are two kinds of texts in Photoshop, point and paragraph texts. When you grab the Type tool and click on the canvas in order to start writing, you’re creating a point text, whilst if you select the Type tool and instead of click to write you create the bounding box first, then you’ll have a paragraph. If you want to change this at anytime, you can go to Layer>Type and convert from point to paragraph or vice versa.
Transform a text into a shape or a path
These two options are really awesome for Illustrator fans as they allow you to work with types in a more artistic way. The first option is ‘Create Work Path’, which can be found at Layer>Type.
You can then use patterns, gradients or solid colors to fill the path and combine it with mask properties to create really appealing designs like the one on the next image:
The other trick is converting text to shapes, you can also find this option by going to Layer>Type. This can be really great to help you modify a text to your will.
And that’s it, now you know all the tips and secrets for working with texts in Photoshop, as we always say, this only a guide that you can help us magnify by sharing your own tips and secrets for working with types, we hope you’ve found this article useful and stay with us for more great tutorials and articles.