Skip to Main Content

Getting Started with Photoshop

Information on Photoshop basics including: how to open and create a new image, navigating palettes, learning the parts of a layer, how to use guides, and where to go for more help at the University of Michigan.

Type Tool

The Type Tools

The Type Tools are what you will use when you want to add text to a Photoshop document. The Type Tool comes in four different variations and allows users to create both horizontal and vertical type. Note that whenever your create type in Photoshop, a new Type Layer will be added to your Layers Palette


Create basic type:Animation of type frame being drawn

1. Select the Horizontal Type Tool (Type Icon) from the Tools Palette.

2. Click and drag to create a text frame. Release your mouse when it is the size you desire.

3. Use the
Tool Options Palette or Character Palette to select your desired font and font size. (Explained more below).

4. Type your text.

5. Select the Move Tool to deactivate the Type Tool move your text box to desired location on document.

Edit type:

1. Select the Type Layer you wish to edit from the Layers Palette.

2. Select the Type Tool (Type Icon) from the Tools Palette.

3. Click on the text in the document using your Type Tool (Type Iconand highlight it.

4. Type or use the Tool Options Palette or Character Palette to edit text.


Edit type frame:

1. Select the Type Layer you wish to edit from the Layers Palette.

2. Select the Type Tool (Type Iconfrom the Tools Palette.

3. Click on the text in the document using your Type Tool (Type Iconto activate the type frame.

4. Move your cursor to a corner handle of the frame until you see a double-sided arrow and click and drag frame to desired size.



Variations of Type Tools

Type Icon  Horizontal Type Tool - The Horizontal Type Tool is your basic type tool. It allows you to create basic text on a horizontal plane.

vertical Type Tool Icon  Vertical Type Tool - This tool allows you to create basic text that is written on a vertical plane (from top to bottom).

Horizontal Type Mask Icon  Horizontal Type Mask Tool - This tool creates a selection of the text rather than live text. The selections can then be used to create masks and clippings.

Vertical Type Mask icon  Vertical Type Mask Tool - This tool creates a selection of the text rather than live text. The text will be formated on a vertical plane. The selections can then be used to create masks and clippings.




Type Tool Options

The Type Tool Options Palette will always appear whenever a Type Tool (Type Toolis selected. This is where you can perform basic formatting to your type, such as changing font, font size, alignment, and color. But know that there are more fomatting options in the Character and Paragraph Palettes.

Tool Options Palette

Character and Paragraph Palettes

To open the Character or Paragraph Palettes, go to Window in the menu and select Character or Paragraph.


Character Palette - When editing type in Photoshop, you can use either the Tools Options Palette or the Character Palette. One advantage of the Character Palette is that is provides you with more options such as being able to adjust tracking, leading, and kerning.


Character palette












Paragraph Palette - The Paragraph Palette is very useful if you are working with paragraphs or large blocks of text. The ParagraphPalette houses options such as alignmnet, indentation, and word hyphenation.

Paragraph Palette

Warp Text

Warp Text Effects

Warp Text option from Menu

The Warp Text feature in Photoshop allows you to warp your text in many different styles from an arch, to a flag, to a fisheye effect.

To open the Warp Text dialog box:

1. If you have your Type Tool active, click within your text and click on the Text Warp button in your Tools Options Palette.

2. If you do not have the Type Tool active, click on the Type Layer you want to warp in your Layers Palette. Go into your menu and select Type > Warp Text... (image right).


To Warp your Text:

1. Select the type of Warp you wish to create by clicking on the dropdown menu (highlighted in the image below) and selecting from the list. Use the Bend, Horizontal and Vertical Distortion sliders to alter the appearance of your warped text.

 Warp Text Dialog Box