How to Simulate Bold and Italics in Photoshop

Here's how to simulate bold and italics typography in Photoshop

What to Know

  • Highlight the text, select More in the character palette menu, then select Faux Bold or Faux Italic.
  • Uncheck Faux Bold and Faux Italic when you're done and avoid further altering the text.
  • Photoshop only gives you bold or italics options when the typeface includes and supports those styles.

This article explains how to bold and italicize text in Photoshop version 5.0 and later.

Find Your Character Palette 

Select the menu tab on the tool options bar to bring up your Character palette if it's not already showing go to Window > Character.

The Character option under the Window menu

Select Your Text 

Select the text you want in bold or italics by highlighting the words. Select the 3 horizontal lines in the upper right corner of the palette menu.

The More menu in the Character window

You should see options for Faux Bold and Faux Italic. Choose the one you want — or both. 

The Faux Bold and Faux Italic options

Bold and italic options may appear as a row of letter T's at the bottom of the character palette in some downloadable Photoshop versions. The first T is for bold and the second is for italics. Just select on the one you want. You'll also see other options here, such as for setting text in all capital letters. 

Potential Problems 

Not all users are fans of the Faux Bold or Faux Italic options because they can prompt some minor problems. They can cause glitches in the text if you're planning to send the document out for professional printing. Most are easily fixed, however. 

Don't forget to turn your selection off after you've accomplished your goal. Just uncheck Faux Bold or Faux Italic to get back to normal. It won't happen automatically — it's a "sticky" setting. If you use it once, all future type will appear this way until you undo it, even if you're working on a different document on a different day.

You can also select Reset Character in the character palette, but this may undo other settings that you want to keep, such as your font and size. You'll have to reset the settings you want to keep, but your text should appear normal again after you do. 

You'll no longer be able to warp type or text to shape after Faux Bold formatting has been applied. You'll get a message that reads: Could not complete your request because the type layer uses a faux bold style. In Photoshop 7.0 and later, you'll be advised to Remove attribute and continue.

In other words, you can still warp the text, but it won't appear in bold. The good news is that undoing the Faux Bold, in this case, is particularly easy — just select OK in the warning box and your text will revert back to normal.

  • How do I bold or italicize text without simulating it in Photoshop?

    Highlight the text you want to edit, then look to the Character panel or Type toolbar. Find the text format dropdown menu (it usually defaults to "Regular") and select it, then choose either Bold or Italic to change the highlighted text.

  • How do I make bold outline text in Photoshop?

    Make sure you've selected the text layer in your Photoshop project, then select Layer > Layer Style > Stroke. Choose the stroke color, thickness, and other settings you want, then OK to confirm the changes.

  • Why are my faux bold and faux italic options greyed out?

    Some Photoshop fonts (specifically "variable" fonts) don't always support faux italic or bold options. There is a sort of workaround, though. Right-click the text layer and select Convert To Shape to turn the text into an editable object (note: this will prevent you from changing the letters or words later as the layer will no longer be text). Next, select Layer > Layer Style > Stroke and choose a stroke color that matches the text color to simulate a Bold effect. Or select Edit > Transform > Skew and drag the top or bottom of the layer from side to side to simulate an Italic effect.

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