How to Outline Text in Photoshop

Spruce up your text quickly

What to Know

  • Easiest method: Open a Photoshop document. Choose the Type tool and enter the text. Go to the Layers palette and select the text layer.
  • Right-click the text layer. Select Blending Options followed by Stroke.
  • Configure the thickness, color, and position of the stroke. Select OK to apply.

This article explains the easiest way to add an outline to text in Photoshop. It also contains information on how to make the outline more exciting. Adobe hasn't changed the basic methods for outlining text since Photoshop CS6 released in 2012.

How to Outline Text in Photoshop

You can give your art projects some extra punch by learning how to outline text in Photoshop, no matter which platform you use.

With a monthly subscription (or free trial) for Photoshop CC you get all of the software's most powerful features. Whether you're using the latest version or one from a few years prior though, the simplest method for outlining text works the same.

screenshot of text with an outline in Photoshop

These instructions are for Windows users, but if you're using MacOS, the only difference is a right-click should be a CMD+Click instead.

  1. Choose the Type tool from the left-hand menu.
  2. Write the text you want to outline.
  3. Use the layers window to select the text layer you're editing.

Make sure it's selected under the Windows tab at the top of the screen if it's not visible.

  1. Either right-click the layer and select Blending Options followed by Stroke, from the left-hand menu, or select the FX button at the bottom of the Layers window, followed by Stroke from the pop-up menu.
  2. Use the on-screen options to configure how your outline will look. Size controls the thickness of the outline (stroke), while Position designates whether it will be inside or outside the text. Feel free to play around with the options. If you do something you don't like, select Cancel and start again.
  3. When you're happy with how the text looks, select the OK button.

Outline Text to Make it More Exciting

Using the Stroke effect in layers is useful, but it's linked directly to that layer and therefore harder to edit by itself.

The stroke option in Photoshop

To make an outline that's a bit more exciting, you want to outline the text on its own layer.

  1. Use the Type tool to create the text you want to outline.
  2. Select the Text layer from the Layers window and right-click it. Select Rasterize Type.
  3. Hold Ctrl (CMD in macOS) and select the Type layer thumbnail to select all of the text.
  4. Create a new layer using the Layers window. Select Edit from the top toolbar, then select Stroke.
  5. Choose the pixel width of your intended outline, then select OK.

Now that you have an outline on a layer separate from your main text, you can adjust its own effects at will. Add an additional stroke outline to it using the first method outlined above, bevel or emboss it, or remove the original type layer entirely for outline-only text.

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