Type Basics: The Type Tools
Photoshop offers four related tools for adding type to an image (see Figure 5). The Horizontal Type tool (usually referred to as simply the Type tool), the Vertical Type tool, the Horizontal Type Mask tool, and the Vertical Type Mask tool are shown in their fly-out palette. To open the fly-out palette, click and hold on whichever Type tool icon is visible in the Toolbox.
Figure 5 Not one, not two, but four type tools.
The Horizontal and Vertical Type Tools
The only difference between the Horizontal Type and Vertical Type tools is the orientation of the characters added to the image. Note in Figure 6 the difference between vertical type and horizontal type that has been rotated.
Figure 6 Vertical type might be used for a sign or a chart.
Both the Horizontal and Vertical Type tools create type layers when used. Unless you rasterized the type, and as long as the file remains in Photoshop’s native format (.psd) or the Tiff format with layers, the type remains editable. You can change the font, size, or other attributes as well as change the content of the text. You can click with either tool anywhere in an image window to create a new type layer and add point type. You can also drag with either tool to create a type layer and add paragraph type.
To edit existing type, click and drag with either tool to make a selection of the characters or words that you want to change. Changes are restricted to the selected type. There are a few shortcuts available when selecting type:
- Click twice in a word with the Type tool to select the whole word.
- Click three times to select the entire line of type.
- Clicking four times selects the entire paragraph.
- After clicking in existing type with the Type tool, hold down Shift and use the left and right arrow keys to add letters to the selection. The up and down arrow keys select all characters to the same location in the next line above or below the blinking cursor.
- Shift-Cmd (Mac) Shift+Ctrl (PC) and the right and left arrow keys add or subtract adjacent words from a selection.
- Clicking at one point and Shift-clicking at another selects all characters in between.
The Type Mask Tools
Also available for horizontal and vertical type, the Type Mask tools do not create type layers. Rather, they create masks in the shape of the letters. (A regular non-type layer must be active in the Layers palette.) These masks become selections when you change tools or press Cmd-Return (Mac) Ctrl+Enter (PC).
Using the Type Mask tools is comparable to using Photoshop’s Quick Mask mode. Like Quick Mask, the temporary mask that is created is not retained after the selection is made. You’ll see the translucent red overlay while adding the type, but the mask itself is lost when converted to a selection (see Figure 7).
Figure 7 Like Quick Mask mode, type selection tools add a red mask.
At the top, the mask is visible while the text is being added. Below, the type is a selection and the mask is discarded. This happens automatically when you change tools or otherwise accept the type.
Type masks are often used to create layer masks in the shape of letters. It is usually not the tool of choice for creating large amounts of text and is especially inappropriate for small type sizes.