• Text Surrounding Shapes in Photoshop and PSE

    By far, the easiest method of typing on a path is to use ready-made text paths. You can't beat the ease of opening one of these products and inserting your own words. This tip (Text Paths made easy) shows you how these products work and they are a breeze.

    But when you can't find the pre-made shape you need, you can use the tools in Photoshop and PSE to manipulate the direction of your text. Here's how:

    With your document open, get one of the tools that shares a space on the tool bar with the Custom Shape tool. You can use the Rectangle tool to create squares and rectangles, the Rounded rectangle to type around pocket journalers, the Ellipse to create circles and ovals, the Polygon or any of the many Custom Shapes for this technique. This gives you a wide variety of shapes to choose from – hearts, stars, circles and squares, diamonds and more. Once you choose a shape:

    • In PSE, locate the Tool Options at the bottom of the editing window.
      Select a shape.
      Choose a color that contrasts with your document.
      Use "Create a new shape layer" and leave the other options at their default mode.
    • In PS, locate the Options bar at the top of the editing window and choose the following options:
      Tool Mode: Path
      Path Operations: Combine Shapes
      Path Alignment: Align to Canvas
      Choose a Shape from the Shape picker (if using the Custom Shape tool.)


    Click and drag out the shape on your document. Hold the Space bar on your keyboard to reposition the shape on your document.

    Reduce the opacity of the shape in PSE by dragging the opacity slider slightly to the left. This slider is found at the top of the Layers panel on the right side of the screen. (Note: this step is not necessary in PS.) This helps you see the portion of your project that is underneath your shape.

    Get the Type tool and select a font, size and color in the Options bar (PS) or Tool Options (PSE.)
    Move your cursor to the outside edge of the shape. When it changes to an "I" with a curvy line through it, click and type.
    As you type, the text will surround the shape.
    Tick the checkmark to confirm the text.

    • In PSE, you may need to add spaces in various spots throughout the shape to get it to wrap nicely around your shape, especially if it has sharp curves. Just click the text path and add spaces where needed.
      Next, hide the shape layer by clicking the layer visibility icon (an eyeball on the left side of the shape layer in the Layers panel.)
    • In the full version of Photoshop, get the Path Selection tool. It is located below the Type tool in the Tool panel. Position the cursor over one of the anchor points on your shape. The anchor points look like black dots.

      Using the Path Selection tool, drag the anchor point outward, over the text path, to make the text wrap around the outside of the shape.
      Drag the anchor point inward using the Path Selection tool to make the text wrap around the inside of the shape.
      Drag the anchor point along the path using the Path Selection tool to move the text along the path until it wraps nicely around the shape.


    The text path line will disappear when you click a different layer in the Layers panel.

    This is a great way to wrap text around a frame, photo mat, journaling card, flair, or other embellishments. In the next tip, we’ll work on creating more complicated text paths.