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Photoshop hasn’t always been known for its flexibility with type. You can create display type or short, large instances of type, but when you need to edit large bodies of type, we used to be at a loss with Photoshop. Now, Photoshop has integrated character and paragraph styles that we can use to format our text and save formats to call up later. The type controls in Photoshop are fairly simple. When you want to place type in a Photoshop document, select the Text Tool.

Click on the canvas in the spot where you want to place type. To control what typeface you choose, the size, leading, etc., You will use the Character Panel.


The Character Panel breaks down every aspect of your chosen typeface, so that you have a great amount of control over how the type is displayed. The first area allows you to actually select the typeface itself, and the second option allows you to select the variation of that typeface, such as bold, italic, regular, light, etc. The next row of items are the size of the typeface on the left and the leading on the right. Leading is the vertical spacing between each line of type. Next, you have Kerning and Tracking. Kerning is the spacing between 2 letters and tracking is the spacing between multiple letters.

The next section is where you can alter the scale of the type. Here, you can alter a typeface. Photoshop forces the type to do things that it isn’t meant to do. The first row scales the type vertically and horizontally. Next is the setting where you can alter the baseline, which is the line where the letter sits on. Next to it is where you can change the color of your typeface.

The next is one that isn’t used much. This is where you can apply faux styles to your text, such as faux bold and italic. This isn’t recommended, because it alters the look of your typeface, and not in the way that is desired.

Below that, the next section controls things such as ligatures and alternates found in some of the more professionally constructed typefaces. This includes ordinals and fractions.

Once you have decided what you want your text to look like, you can save it as a style, so that you can use it again. This saves you time because if you have multiple text areas in your Photoshop document, you can save multiple styles, and simply implement them with a click.

The sample below is created with Din Pro Bold for the headlines and Regular for the body. What we will do is change the text using the character and Paragraph Styles Panels.


Basic Character Formats allow us to change the typeface for our text. I changed the body copy to Adobe Caslon Pro, and changed the leading from 12pt to 18pt. Here, you can also change the color and the case of your text.


Advanced Character Formats allows you to change the scale of your text and the baseline shift, just like in the Character Panel.


For OpenType, you can activate Ligatures, Alternates, oldstyle, swashes, ornaments, etc. This gives you a great deal of control over specific typefaces.


Indents and Spacing allows you to control whether entire paragraphs are indented, or you can indent the first line of text. The last two options add space before or after paragraphs. You can also change the alignment of the paragraph, to left, right, and centered, or varied degrees of justification.


Composition determines if each line of text is affected, or if Photoshop will group multiple lines together. An important feature here is Roman Hanging punctuation. This sets paragraphs to align text vertically, disregarding punctuation marks and allowing them to hang off the edge of aligned type.


Justification allows you to have a great deal of control over word spacing, letter spacing, and glyph scaling in your paragraphs. You can also set the default amount of auto Leading to a percentage for the entire paragraph.


Hyphenation allows you to enable hyphenation to begin with, and once you do, you can determine how large a word should be before it is hyphenated, and where it should be hyphenated.


Once you have determined all of these values for your text, you will notice that it saves a style in the Paragraph Styles Panel. Now, to implement it on other paragraphs, simply select the paragraph that you want to change and click on the style that you just created in the Paragraph Styles Panel. It will automatically change from its current typeface to whatever you had specified in the Paragraph Style.

The Character Styles Panel works the same way. You select a word or a group of words, such as a headline, and you click on the New Style icon in the Character Styles Panel. The Character Styles Panel is similar to the Paragraph Styles Panel, except is doesn’t have all of the options. In the example, I changed DIN Pro to Legion Slab.


Below is our example document with the text changed, using the Character and Paragraph Styles Settings.



Paragraph and Character styles are great, because you can load them from other Photoshop documents. If you create a set of styles that you like, simply save the document, and when you are working in a new document, click the flyout menu in either of the Character or Paragraph Styles Panels and choose Load Paragraph or Character Style, and choose the document that contains the styles that you wish to load. This saves you a lot of time from having to recreate styles over again from scratch.