How to Add Text to Photos

It's easy to do with Android, iPhone, Windows, and Mac programs

Female photo editor using graphics tablet, editing digital photograph on computer in office
She could be adding text to photos right now. Hero Images / Getty Images

A picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes a photo needs some words to go along with it. Adding captions and notes to your photos is easy, whether you're using an iPhone, Android, PC, or Mac. All four devices have free built-in apps or software, and there are also third-party products you can try. Here's how to add text to photos on all four platforms.

Want to draw on your photos? There are several great apps for Android and iOS that can help you add pizzaz to your images.

Add Text to Photos on iPhone Using the Photos App

If you have an iPhone running iOS 11 or later, you have access to a tool called Markup that's available in the Photos app. With Markup, you can draw on and add text to your photos and screenshots.

  1. Open the Photos app and tap an image.
  2. Tap Edit > menu (represented by a circle with three dots inside) > Markup.
  3. You have a choice of a pen, highlighter, or pencil tool, or you can tap the plus sign to add text.
  4. A text box will appear on your image, which you can move around and resize. Tap the text box, then Edit to change the text.
Photo of a Mozart rubber duck with text and Amadeus typed on it
Easily add text and notes to your photos.

Don't have iOS 11 on your iPhone? See the section below about Photoshop Express.

Add Text to Photos on Android Using Google Photos

While Google Photos also has a Markup tool if you're running Android 8.0 or later, it doesn't have a text option, only a pen or highlighter:

  1. Open a photo.
  2. Tap the three-dot menu icon > Edit in > Markup.
  3. From here, you can change the color of the pen or highlighter and write or draw on the photo.
Photo with a question mark drawn on it with Android Markup tool
You can draw on pictures, but can't add text using Markup.

In Android 7.0 and earlier, there's no way to insert text or annotate photos natively, so you'll have to use a third-party app.

Photoshop Express for iOS and Android

Photoshop Express is a free app that offers numerous ways to edit smartphone photos including adding text. It's also an excellent alternative to your smartphone's built-in photo editing tools. With Photoshop Express, you can add a text box, and play around with the font style, color, and alignment.

To add text to photos on iOS or Android using Photoshop Express:

  1. Open the app and choose a picture.
    1. Note: If you don't see any photos, make sure you've given the app permission to access your photos.
  2. At the bottom of the screen, you'll see five symbols. Swipe that toolbar to the left, and you'll see a T for text.
  3. Tap the T, then you can swipe through an array of text boxes in different shapes and styles.
  4. Tap one you like and a text box will appear on your photo.
  5. Tap the box or the small edit symbol to change the words.
  6. Tap font, color, and alignment to make other adjustments.
  7. Tap the back button, then tap save.
Photo of a Mozart rubber duck with a caption that says Amadeus!
Photoshop Express offers an array of font styles and colors.

It seems like a lot of steps, but it's only because there are so many editing options.

Add Text to Pictures on Mac Using Apple Photos

Finally, you can add text to your images using the Apple Photos app on your Mac. As with the iPhone, you'll use a tool called Markup to do this.

Note: This feature is built into macOS Sierra (10.12) and later.

Screenshot of several photos, one of which has a text box on it
You can add a text box anywhere on your photos.
  1. Open your picture
  2. Click Edit > the More symbol (a circle with three dots inside) > Markup
  3. Click the T text symbol in the toolbar.
  4. You'll see a text box on top of your image; start typing or click and drag to move it around. You can also change the font style and color by clicking Text Style.

Microsoft Photos and Microsoft Paint for Windows

You can add text to photos on a Windows 10 PC using Microsoft Photos. If you have Windows 8 or 7, you'll have to use Microsoft Paint.

On Windows 10:

  1. Open the image you want to edit in the Photos app.
  2. Select Edit > Draw, then choose a pen from the Windows Ink toolbar.
    1. Tip: You can adjust the color and size of the pen stroke.
  3. Select Eraser to remove any unwanted text or Erase all ink to clear it all.
Screenshot of Microsoft Photos text tool with a color palette
Choose a color to mark up your photo.

On Windows 7 and 8:

  1. Launch Microsoft Paint and open an image.
  2. Select the A in the toolbar, then select the photo.
  3. Text Tools menu will appear as well as a text box you can type into.
    1. Note: You might have to increase the font size to read it.
    2. You can also adjust the font type, color, and transparency.