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Point Type and Area Type

Type in Photoshop is either point type or area type. Point type is added to a document at a specific location (or point) in the image. In contrast, area type (also called paragraph type) fills a portion (or area) of the image. Click and drag the Type tool to create a type container into which you add your text. Figure 3 shows examples of both point and area type.

Figure 3

Figure 3 Think of point type as headline and area type as one or more paragraphs of text.

Point type is often used for single lines of text, such as headlines, and area type is used for large blocks of text. Note the difference in Figure 3 between the highlighted point type (top) and the paragraph type container (bottom).

The area type bounding box (see Figure 4) can be re-sized by dragging any of the anchor points around the outside with the Type tool. When you resize the bounding box, the text within "re-flows" to adjust to the new dimensions. If you use Photoshop’s Edit, Transform commands with text (point type or area type), you scale the font size.

Figure 4

Figure 4 Resizing the bounding box enables you to change the width and height of the type container.

Here are the primary differences between the two categories of type:

  • Point type continues in a straight line unless you press the Return or Enter key to insert a line break. Area type automatically wraps to the next line when the text reaches the edge of the type container.
  • The space occupied by point type continues to expand as more characters are added. Area type is restricted to the designated rectangle; characters that don’t fit in the rectangle are hidden.
  • Point type is added from the specific spot in the image where the Type tool was clicked. Area type is added from the top of the bounding box.
  • To add point type, click with a Type tool. To add area type, drag with a Type tool to create a rectangular type container to fill with text.
  • Resizing the bounding box around point type scales the type. Resizing the type container for area type forces the text to reflow within the container; the type maintains its original size and proportion.

Consider point type to be similar to headlines in a newspaper or magazine. It typically occupies one line, but might require two or three lines. To add lines, type to the desired width, press Return or Enter to move to the next line, and continue typing.

Area type, on the other hand, can be compared to the body text of a newspaper or magazine. It flows from one line to the next, and if you go back to the beginning and add a word, the text repositions itself, automatically adjusting the line breaks.

Consider one of the major differences between a typewriter and a word processor. With a typewriter, you must be aware of the warning bell that indicates you’ve reached the end of a line, the edge of the paper. You then advance the paper, return to the left margin, and begin typing on the next line. With a word processor, you can continue typing and the text will automatically wrap from line to line.

With a typewriter, if you need to go back to the first line to add a word, the length of that line is thrown off. If it’s a long word, you can’t just erase the top line and retype it; you have to retype the entire paragraph. Adding a word to the opening line with a word processor simply moves all the text to the right and, if necessary, down to the next line – the text reflows. See the example in Figure 5.

Figure 5

Figure 5 Adding text extends the point type past the margin, but the area type simply reflows.

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