April 14, 2009

Quick text tips for Photoshop

I’ve recently had gotten a few type-related questions, so thought I’d jot down a few suggestions:

  • Support for type styles (i.e. the ability to define a set of text characteristics as a style, then to modify the style & have text layers updated) was the top requested feature among those I proposed to improve management of complex PSDs. Photoshop doesn’t yet support type styles, but in the meantime a couple things may help:
    • You can select multiple text layers at once, then change their characteristics via the Character & Paragraph panels. Shift-clicking or Cmd/Ctrl-clicking works, or you can select a text layer, then choose Select->Similar Layers to select other text layers.
    • You can grab the type tool, set up the characteristics you want, then make a new tool preset (Window->Tool Presets, or hit that T-shaped icon in the upper left corner (y’know, the one that neither you nor any other human being has clicked :-)). You can then choose among these presets via the Tool Presets panel.
  • Adobe Evangelist Julieanne Kost pointed out a trick I didn’t know: “To change the Type tool’s default options, the key is to close all documents. Then choose the Type tool and select your font family, style, size, anti-aliasing, alignment and color. Whatever options you choose, will become your new default.”
  • Julieanne makes another good point: While typing text, hitting Return will add a line break instead of getting you out of text mode. Hit Cmd-Return (Mac)/Ctrl-Return (Win) to get out of text mode.

For more info, see my old 12 Tips for Photoshop Text post.

Posted by John Nack at 9:56 AM on April 14, 2009


  • Tony — 11:21 AM on April 14, 2009

    “Hit Cmd-Return (Mac)/Ctrl-Return (Win) to get out of text mode.”
    If you have a full keyboard (with a number pad) you can hit the “enter” key on the number pad to get out of text mode as well.
    [True. I’m a little disappointed that on the new MBP, Apple has replaced the Enter key with a second Cmd key. Maybe on balance that works well for people, but I’d always used by right thumb to hit Enter. Now I have to use my pinky to reach Return. –J.]

  • Aaron — 12:02 PM on April 14, 2009

    Great tips! I’ve always wondered if there was a way to control tabs in Photoshop? Maybe there is and I’m just missing it?

  • ValkyrieStudio — 10:20 PM on April 14, 2009

    I don’t know what it is about the tool presets, but I never use them myself, either. Do people really get use out of them?
    I’m not saying that in a negative way – I completely see the benefit to them (though I never thought of setting up type presets…), and awhile I’m always trying to find more efficient ways to do things, I still never use the presets for whatever reason.

  • Ben — 6:16 AM on April 16, 2009

    Glyph palette…please? I think it would be utilized more than type styles and the time savings to workflows (particularly webdesign) would be quite nice. I hat having to hunt around for that really cool glyph in a font and sometimes have to resort to firing up Illustrator to find the blasted thing.

  • Shangara Singh — 10:09 AM on April 16, 2009

    Yes, people really do use tool presets. Once you get into the habit of using them, they do save time.
    Here’s quick tip: to set hyphenation and spelling for a language other than the default, click on the pop-up menu located at the bottom left of the Character panel and choose from the long list.

  • markuzdiz — 4:59 PM on April 17, 2009

    wonderful, now I’m working much faster!

  • Phosphor — 9:49 PM on April 21, 2009

    You may at some point like to feature the info in this little text-tip tutorial I put together in the PS/Win forum.
    Or, just offer a link!
    “Type Tool Tips for Photoshop”

  • Phosphor — 8:06 AM on April 22, 2009

    Updated Photoshop FAQ:
    “Type Tool tips—Navigating through & Editing text”
    (Took me awhile to figure out the XHTML coding requirements in the new forums in order to properly compose and format the FAQ entry.)

  • Phosphor — 9:08 AM on April 23, 2009

    Hmm…the link to the PS/Mac FAQ entry just above is busted.
    Try this instead:

  • andrew — 1:28 PM on October 06, 2009

    What would be really nice is illustrator-style text classes. So I could define h1,h2,h3,p,etc text styles once, and attach a class to a selection of text within a textarea. So if I want to change a particular style, I could change it in the class definition *once* instead of for each use of that style. That alone would save me countless hours of mocking up text-heavy web pages.

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