Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Working with Type in Photoshop Elements

What you’ll learn in this Photoshop Elements Tutorial:

  • Placing text on a layer
  • Editing a text layer

This tutorial provides you with a foundation for working with Adobe Photoshop Elements type. It is the seventh lesson in the Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 Digital Classroom book.

Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Working with Type in Photoshop Elements

With Photoshop Elements, you can quickly add text to your photos that can easily be modified. Whether you want to create your own postcards, greeting cards, or add silly captions, Photoshop Elements has the tools you need.

Starting up

Within the Photoshop Elements Organizer: You will work with several files from the Lessons folder in this lesson. Make sure that you have downloaded the Lessons folder onto your hard–drive. In order to access these files in the Organizer, you need to import them. See “Adding files and folders to the Organizer” located in Lesson 1.

Within the Photoshop Elements Editor: The Photoshop Elements Editor defaults to the last panel layout that you used. Before starting, make sure your tools and panels are consistent with the examples presented in these lessons by resetting the panels. Do this by choosing Window > Reset Panels or by pressing the Reset panels button () in the Options bar.

Welcome screen

If you’re currently viewing the welcome screen, press the Edit button () to enter the Editor workspace.

The Photoshop Elements welcome screen.

Placing text on a layer

In this lesson, you will discover how to add text to your images inside Photoshop Elements by using the Type tool. This first exercise will show you how to insert text at the bottom of an image, to label a photo. Later on, you will change the font, size, and location of this text.

1 Press the Organizer button () in the Menu bar of the Edit workspace. This reveals the Organizer.

2 Locate the file named soccer.psd and select it.

3 Press the arrow to the right of the Fix tab in the menu bar and choose Full Photo Edit from the drop-down menu or use the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+I (Windows) Command+I (Mac OS).

Now that you’ve opened an image, you will explore how to add a type layer. You don’t actually have to build a new layer to insert type. When you click on an image with the Type tool (), Photoshop Elements automatically creates a new type layer.

4 Choose the Horizontal Type tool () from the Toolbox. You can click and hold with your mouse on the Type tool to expose the hidden tools underneath to make sure you have the correct tool.

5 Click anywhere at the bottom center of this image. In your Layers panel, you should see a new layer named Layer 1 and you should also see a blinking cursor in the bottom middle of your screen.

This is what a new text layer looks like.

6 Type Fall 2010 Youth Soccer. Dont worry about the size or font. In the next section, you will learn how to format the text.

Formatting a text layer

Now that you know how to place text in an image, you will learn how to change its size and font.

1 Using the Horizontal Type tool () double-click on the text layer thumbnail to select the entire text.

2 Now that the text is selected, look at the Options bar at the top of the screen. The first option on the left is for changing the font. Use the drop-down menu to the right of the font name by clicking on the downward-facing arrow. You can choose any font you’d like, or if you’d like to follow along, choose Hobo Std.

Choosing a new font from the drop-down-menu.

3 Make sure your text is still selected, and use the drop-down menu to choose a size for your text. You can choose any size you’d like, or if you’d like to follow along, choose 72.

Choosing a size from the drop-down menu.

4 Even though the drop-down menu only goes up to 72, you are not limited to that size. Highlight 72 in the Options bar and type 80 and then click the green checkmark in the Options bar to commit your change. You should automatically see the change on your screen. If you need to reposition your type, choose the Move tool () and move the text so it is centered in the image.

Manually changing a font size.

Use your arrow keys!

Another way to change any number value in any field inside of Photoshop Elements is to just click inside the field, either to the right or left, or even in the middle of a number, and then use your up and down arrow keys on your keyboard to change the value. This way, you can visually pick what size you want. Try it with your font name as well; you can preview how your text will look in all the fonts you have loaded on your machine!

Editing a text layer

You should understand that since text is on its own layer, it is completely editable, even after you have deselected the text and closed the document, as long as it is saved in the .psd format. In this exercise, you will save the document, close it, and make some more changes to the text.

1 Save the file soccer.psd to your computer by choosing File > Save As. In the Save As dialog box, type soccer_work in the Name text field and make sure the format is set to Photoshop, and save it to the Lessons folder.

Now, you will reselect the text, change the color, and change its position.

2 Select the Horizontal Type tool () from the Toolbox. Click on the type; you should now see a blinking cursor in the type. Click three times in a row to select the sentence. Now that the type is selected, you can change the color of the type.

3 In the Options bar at the top of the workspace, click on the drop-down menu next to the color block. You can choose any color you’d like, or if you’d like to follow along, choose black, then click on the color block to close the color menu. Click the green checkmark in the Options bar to commit the change.

Choosing a different color.

Now that the text is a different color, you will change its position.

4 Select the Move tool () Click and drag the text to the top of the screen and keep it centered.

5 Choose File > Save. If requested, enter a name and location to save the file, then choose File > Close to close the file.

The finished file.


Making cartoon bubbles

If you ever wanted to add cartoon bubbles to your photos to show what people might be thinking at the time of a photo, or to add what you think would be a funny caption to a photo, you’re about to learn how.

In Photoshop Elements, you can make any number of shapes, from rectangles to circles and lines. You can also use some of the pre-built custom shape tools inside of Photoshop Elements.

1 In the Organizer, type fun in the search text field.

2 Locate the file named fun.psd and select it.

3 Press the arrow to the right of the Fix tab at the top of the workspace and choose Full Photo Edit from the drop-down menu or use the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+I (Windows) Command+I (Mac OS).

Next you will draw a cartoon bubble coming out of the little girl’s mouth. Later, you’ll add some text.

4 Press and hold the Rectangle tool () in the Toolbox to expose the hidden tools. Choose the Custom Shape tool ().

Navigating to the Custom Shape tool.

5 From the Shape drop-down menu in the Options bar, double-click the second shape, Talk1, from the default set of custom shapes.

Navigating to the Talk1 icon.


If you would like to choose another bubble shape, press the menu options button () in the Shape drop-down menu. The menu options list shows more shape categories to choose from.

Showing all the Talk Bubbles shapes.

6 With the talk bubble shape selected, click-and-drag with the Shape tool to make a talk bubble to the right of the girl’s face. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect; you can move it later. Notice that a new layer named Shape 1 is added to your Layers panel. Because this shape exists on its own layer, you can edit this bubble at any time, just like text.

Drawing the cartoon bubble.

7 Now that the bubble is drawn, you can change its color. Changing the color of shapes is just like changing the color of type. In the color block in the Options bar, choose white, or whatever color you think would look good. Remember that you have to also put type over this box, so make sure you pick a lighter color.


You can also change the color of a shape layer by double-clicking on the layer in the Layers panel.

Changing the color of the talk bubble.

8 Now that the color is changed, you can change its size and position on the screen by selecting the Move tool. Select the Move tool () in the Toolbox, then click on the talk bubble to reposition it where you want. To change the size, you can drag from a side, the top or bottom, or a corner point. In order to do this, make sure that Show Bounding Box is checked in the Options bar at the top of the workspace. If you resized the shape, you will need to click the green checkmark below the bounding box to commit the change.

Changing the shape of the talk bubble.

Adding text over the cartoon bubble

In order to add text over the talk bubble, you will need to make a new text layer. This time, instead of just clicking on a layer, you will click-and-drag to make a text frame that you will type in.

1 Choose the Horizontal Type tool () from the Toolbox. Click-and-drag with the tool to define the text area.

Defining a type frame.

2 Notice that in the Options bar Photoshop Elements remembers all the type settings you had picked in the last exercise. The first thing you should do before you start typing is to make sure your text color is set to black inside the Options bar. This way, you can ensure that you will see the text as you are typing.

3 Type This is Fun!

4 Click four times with the Horizontal Type tool or press Ctrl+A (Windows) or Command+A (Mac OS), to make sure the type is selected, then change the font. If you’d like to follow along, choose Giddyup Std.

5 Now change the size so that it fits within the frame. You can pick 59 for the point size. (Depending on how big the text frame is that you originally drew, you may have to pick a smaller size.)

6 Choose Center Text from the text alignment drop-down menu. If necessary, with the Type tool selected, you can adjust the size of the box by dragging the corner or side handles, and click the green checkmark to commit the change.

7 For the finishing touches, you should select the Move tool () and position the text wherever you think it looks best over the bubble.

8 Choose File > Save. In the Save As dialog box, type fun_working and choose Photoshop from the Format drop-down menu. Press Save. Choose File > Close to close the file.

The finished cartoon bubble.

Continue to the next Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Adding effects to type in Photoshop Elements >