Adding text on a path is an important technique which designers use to create interesting text effects and it is especially useful with logo design. I’ll show you how to easily create text on a path in Photoshop using both the Pen tool and a Shape tool. You’ll see how to create text on an open curvy line, on the outside of a shape and on the inside of a shape.

Adding Text To An Open Curved Path

If you’re new to the Pen Tool in Photoshop and haven’t used it before, read my tutorial on how to create curves with the Pen Tool. Otherwise, follow along below.

1. Create a new Photoshop document. I made mine 1000 px x 1000 px at 72 ppi.

2. Select the Pen tool in the toolbox, or press P as the keyboard shortcut. Pen Tool Photoshop

3. In the Options Bar at the top of the screen, you can choose either Shape or Path from the first drop down. If you choose Shape, choose any colour for the Stroke, BUT make sure that the Fill colour is set to none. Otherwise, Photoshop will start to colour-in your curve as you draw it and it can be a bit confusing. If you choose Path, there will be no colours involved and you will simply draw a path.

2 - Pen Tool Options Bar Photoshop

3. Draw a simple curved path with the Pen Tool.

1 - Draw A Curved Path With Pen Tool

4 Select the Text tool in the Tools panel or press T on the keyboard as a shortcut. Tex Tool Photoshop

5 In the Options bar (below), choose options such as font and alignment before you type. You can always change options settings after you’ve typed the text. As you are putting text down on a white background, make sure to change your Font Colour to something other than white, otherwise, you won’t be able to see it.

4 - Text Tool Options Photoshop

6 If you chose a left text alignment, which is the default alignment, click near the left side of the path with the Text tool, then start typing. If you chose a centered text alignment, click near the center of the path you drew, then start typing. Notice how the Text tool cursor changes to an I-Beam with a path through it.

3 - Pen Tool Cursor Changes To Type On Path

As you type you’ll see that your text follows the direction of the path.

5 - Add Some Text To The Path

7. When you’re finished typing, click the checkmark icon on the Options bar to commit the text (or any changes you made) and to deselect the text.

Now the path you originally drew has disappeared and your text is floating beautifully along an invisible path.

Editing Text on a path

Editing text on a path is the same as editing “normal” text in Photoshop.  To change the font face, font size, or font colour of existing text, first use the Text tool to select the text by clicking and dragging to highlight the piece of text, then change the settings.

5a - Selecting Text To Edit

Reposition text on a path

Often your text won’t appear exactly where you want it on the path, so you can move it along the path you’ve drawn by using the Path Selection Tool (black arrow).

1. Make sure your text layer is selected, then choose the Path Selection tool. Path Selection Tool Photoshop

2. Hover the cursor near the beginning of the text.  Notice that the cursor changes to what’s known as an I-beam-and-triangle. This indicates that you can now drag the text along the path.

6 - I-Beam And Triangle Cursor

3. Drag the text along the path. It will almost feel like you’re pushing it. You’ll see the text move along and follow the curves you drew.

7 - Dragging Text Along The Path

Adding Text Around A Shape In Photoshop

Again this is another technique frequently used by designers, particularly in logo design. Let’s take a look at how to add text around a shape. In this case, I’m adding text around the outside of a circle, but you can do this with ANY vector shape.

1. Create a new document in Photoshop. I made mine 1000 x 1000 px at 72ppi.

2. Select the Ellipse Shape Tool. Ellipse Shape Tool Photoshop

It is hidden under the Rectangle Shape Tool, so click and hold on the Rectangle Tool in the toolbar and the hidden tools will appear. Choose the Ellipse.

1 - Select The Elliptical Shape Tool Photoshop

3. Click and drag out a circle on your document.
Tip: Hold down Shift to get a perfect circle as you drag.

4. Select the Text tool in the Tools panel or press T on the keyboard as a shortcut. Choose your text settings as before.

5. Move your Text Tool cursor over the circle shape and notice how it changes to indicate Type On A Path.  Start typing.
2 - Text On A Path Cursor

3 - Text added around the circular path

6. As we saw previously with Text On A Path, you can select the Path Selection tool and move the text along the path.

4 - Move Text Along The Path

Move type to the inside of a shape

We’ve seen how to add text to the outside of the path. But how do we set the text inside the shape? Here’s how:

1. Start with some text on a path, as above and move the text to the position you want.

5 - Text on the outside of the path

2. Drag the Text tool across the text on a path to select it.

6 - Text Highlighted On The Path

3. On the Character panel, go to the Baseline Shift field, and enter a negative number.  In my case, I found that -35 moved the text down and across the path into a position I wanted. Lower the Baseline Shift until you are happy with the alignment of the text with the inside of the shape.

7 - Baseline Shift On Character Panel Photoshop

4. You might find that after reducing the Baseline Shift, the letters are now very close together. You can adjust the space between letters by adjusting the value in the Tracking field on the Character Panel.

8 - Change The Tracking

5. Deselect the text. If you can still see the ellipse shape, go to the Layers panel and turn off the visibility on the ellipse shape layer. Your text should now look something like this:

9 - Hide ellipse layer visibility Photoshop

Move text to the inside bottom of a circle shape

We’ve seen how to add text to the outside of the circle and how to move inside the circle. How do we put text on the inside at the bottom of the circle? Well, I’m glad you asked. Here’s how:

1. Create your circle vector shape as before and add some text to the outside.

10 - Text Added To Outside Of Ellipse Shape

2. Select the Path Selection tool in the Tools panel and position the cursor over the text.

3. When the cursor changes to an I-beam with double arrows, click and drag the text downward until it flips upside down.

11 - Text Flipped Inside Circle Upside Down

Sometimes when you flip the text over, you might find the text runs away from you and starts sliding around the circle.

4. Your text is inside the circle, but it’s upside down and at the top. To get the text to the bottom of the circle and the right way around, continue to drag the text down the side of the shape, all the way to the bottom of the circle. It will automatically appear upright.

12 - Text At Bottom Of Ellipse

Again, if necessary, turn off the visibility of the Ellipse layer to hide the path. Your final text should look something like this:

14 - Final Text With Ellipse Hidden

I hope you found this article on creating text on a path in Photoshop useful. I would be really grateful if you would share it. Thank you! 🙂

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Jennifer Farley

Jennifer Farley is an illustrator, designer, author and design teacher based in Ireland. She has been teaching design for over 14 years and helps people learn Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom,Illustrator and graphic design skills to improve their job prospects and their business.

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