Using Photoshop to Put an Image Inside Text

The word Lifewire with a circuit board in the text background.

For this tutorial, we'll be using Photoshop to put an image inside text. It requires a clipping mask, which is easy to make once you know how. Photoshop CC 2019 was used for these screenshots, but you should be able to follow along with other versions.

Instructions in this article applies to Photoshop CC 2019.

How to Put an Image Inside Text

  1. Open an image file in Photoshop.

    Photoshop with a circuit board image loaded.
  2. In the Layers panel, typically located at the bottom right side, double-click the layer name to make it highlighted, then type in the name image.

    Screenshot of renaming a new layer in Photoshop.
  3. In the Layers panel, select the eye icon to make the image invisible.

    Screenshot of making a layer invisible in Photoshop.
  4. Select the Horizontal Type tool from the Tools panel typically located on the left side, click once on the transparent background, and type a word in capital letters. In this tutorial, we're using Lifewire.

    For now, it doesn't matter what font we use or its size, since we will change these things in the steps ahead. And, it doesn't matter what color the font is when creating a clipping mask.

    Screenshot of a text layer with the word Lifewire in Photoshop.
  5. The font should be bold, so we'll choose Window > Character, and with the Horizontal Type tool selected and the text highlighted change the font in the Character panel to Arial Black or another large and bold font.

    • Alternatively, you may have a toolbar for formatting text already loaded. This will accomplish the same desired effect.
    Screenshot of the font list in Photoshop.
  6. Enter 100 pt in the font size text field. Don't worry if your text runs off the sides of the background since the next step will fix this.

    Screenshot of the font size being increased in Photoshop.
  7. Next, we need to set the tracking. Tracking adjusts the space between letters in selected text or a block of text. In the Character panel, enter -150 into the Set Tracking text field. Though, you can type in different numbers, until the space between the letters is to your liking.

    • If you want to adjust the space between two letters only, you can use kerning. To adjust kerning, place an insertion point between the two letters and set a value in the Metrics for Kerning field, which is to the left of the Set Tracking text field.
    Screenshot of the character options in Photoshop.
  8. With the text layer selected in the Layers panel, select Edit > Free Transform. The keyboard shortcut for this is Ctrl + T on a PC, and Command + T on a Mac. A bounding box will surround the text.

    Screenshot of the Free Transform option being selected in Photoshop.
  9. Position the Pointer tool on a bounding box handle it changes to a double-sided arrow that we can drag to scale the text. Drag the bottom right corner handle downward and outward until the text nearly fills the transparent background.

    If desired, you can constrain the scale by holding down the Shift key as you drag. And, you can click and drag inside the bounding box to move it where you like. Move the bounding box to center the text in the background.

    Screenshot of the text being stretched larger in Photoshop.
  10. The layers have to be in the correct order before we can create a clipping mask. In the Layers panel, select the square next to the image layer to reveal the eye icon, then drag the image layer to position directly above the text layer. The text will disappear behind the image.

    Screenshot of layers being moved in Photoshop.
  11. With the image layer selected, select Layer > Create Clipping Mask (Alt + Ctrl + G). This will put the image inside the text.

    Screenshot of the clipping mask tool being selected in Photoshop.
  12. With the image layer selected in the Layers panel, Select the Move tool from the Tools panel. Select the image and move it around until you like how it's positioned inside the text.

    Screenshot of moving the text around in Photoshop.
  13. You can now choose File > Save and call it done, or continue on to add some finishing touches.

    Screenshot of saving the image in Photoshop.
  14. If you want to outline the text. with the Text layer selected, open the Layer Style window by choosing Layer > Layer Style > Stroke.

    • Alternatively, double-click the text layer, or with the text layer selected select the Layer Style icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel and choose Stroke.
    Screenshot of selecting the stroke layer style in Photoshop.
  15. In the Layer Style window, on the left panel, check Stroke

    Screenshot of the Layer Style dialog in Photoshop.
  16. In the right panel, set the Size to 3, the Position to Outside, and the Blend Mode to Normal.

    Screenshot of stroke settings being changed in Photoshop.
  17. Then move the Opacity slider to the far right to make it 100 percent.

    Screenshot of the opacity being changed in Photoshop.
  18. Next, select the Color box. A window will appear that allows you to select a Stroke color.

  19. Select the Color Slider, or move the color slider triangle up or down until you like what you see in the Color field. You can move the circular marker within the Color field and click to select a stroke color.

    • Alternatively, you can enter values in any of the HSR, RGB, CMYK, fields to obtain the desired color.
    Screenshot of the strike color being selected in Photoshop.
  20. Select OK twice to close.

    Screenshot of the layer style settings setup in Photoshop.
  21. We would leave the background transparent if the text was needed for various applications - such as a brochure, magazine advertisement, and web page - since each could have dissimilar backgrounds that might not match my background color. For this tutorial, however, we will fill the background with a color so that you can better see the outlined text.

    In the Layers panel, select Create New Layer. We'll click and drag the new layer down under the other layers, double-click the layer name to highlight it, then type in the name, background.

    Screenshot of creating a new layer.
  22. With the Background layer selected, select the Foreground color selection box within the Tools panel, since Photoshop uses the foreground color to paint, fill, and stoke selections.

    Screenshot of the color picker for the foreground color in Photoshop.
  23. From the Color Picker, select the color slider, or move the color slider triangle up or down until you like what we see in the Color field. We'll move the circular marker within the Color field and click to select a color, then select OK.

    • Another way to indicate a color using the Color Picker is to type in an HSB, RGB, Lab, or CMYK number, or by specifying a hexadecimal value.
    Screenshot of a new color being selected in Photoshop.
  24. With the Background layer still selected, select the Paint Bucket Tool from the Tools panel, click on the transparent background to fill it with color.

    If you don't see the Paint Bucket Tool, find the Gradient Tool and select the arrow to find the Paint Bucket Tool.

    Screenshot of selecting the paint bucket tool in Photoshop.
  25. Here's the end result; an image inside outlined text on a background color. Select File > Save, and it's done!

    Screenshot of the finished text image in Photoshop.