Editing Text in Pixelmator

Use an image editor to edit images and a text editor to edit text

A screenshot of Pixelmator on macOS.

An age-old dilemma for graphic designers flows from tool choice. If you're working with an asset that's both image- and text-heavy, should you rely on an image editor or a text editor? Pixelmator for Mac rightfully enjoys its sterling reputation as an image editor, but its ability to fine-tune text elements isn't as robust as, say, Adobe InDesign.

Editing Text in an Image Asset

Consider a project like a full-page flyer for a community event. The flyer must include several photos and intricate design motifs, but also supply a considerable amount of textual information about the event. As a designer, you enjoy several different approaches to completing the work:

  • Use a single application (e.g., Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Inkscape, Scribus, Pixelmator, GIMP) to complete the entire project — and accept the relative capabilities of each app
  • Use best-of-breed applications for each component of the project, then assembling them in a tool like Adobe InDesign
  • Working offline (e.g., with physical media) and capturing the result with high-resolution photography

There's no one right way to approach the work. However, relying on a single application leaves you dependent on that app's relative mix of strengths and weaknesses. In general, apps that are optimized for image editing — like Pixelmator or Illustrator or Photoshop — offer robust features for adjusting the visual display of the media asset. But most image-editing apps offer "good enough" text-editing capabilities.

For example, Pixelmator supports the placement of overlay text, with functions to adjust the typeface, point size, color, placement, and related data. But more sophisticated text-edit functions (kerning and leading, for example) aren't supported.

Conversely, apps that handle text well, like Adobe InDesign, cannot effect the subtle tweaks to images that an app like Pixelmator can.

Editing Text in Pixelmator

Pixelmator Pro supports a wide range of text-editing features, including font customization, alignment adjustments, spacing and baseline adjustments, emoji, and advanced typographical features like ligatures and glyphs.

To get started, click the Text icon (it looks like the letter T) from the Tools palette. Click View > Show Tools if you cannot see the palette. Inserting text actually inserts a new layer in the document, so if you're proficient with layers-based editing, you'll be right at home.