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The Type Palettes and Commands

In addition to the Type tools in the Toolbox and the Options Bar, some 16 menu commands and two palettes are designed for use specifically with type. Some of the commands duplicate options found in the Options Bar (such as anti-aliasing), which allows you to access the capabilities without having the Type tool active. Two of the menu commands, found under the Edit menu, are new to Photoshop 7. Check Spelling and Find and Replace Text will be discussed separately later in this chapter.

In addition, virtually all other commands and palettes can be used with type in one way or another. Styles can be applied, colors can be changed, transformations are available—these are just some of the ways that Photoshop enables you to work with type.

Type Commands Under the Layer Menu

The Type submenu found under the Layer menu offers 13 commands, each of which is available only when a type layer is active in the Layers palette. Two of the commands can be used to convert the editable type into vector paths, either as work paths or as shape layers.

Create Work Path

This command converts the type layer from editable type to a work path. The work path consists of all the subpaths used to create the vector type. Photoshop does nothing with the work path, nor does it change your type layer in any way. You can, however, open the Paths palette and save the work path, you can use it to create a layer mask or clipping mask, you can stroke the paths (on a separate layer, not on the original type layer), or you can use the work path as a basis for a selection. Paths created from type can also be exported to Illustrator. In addition, you can edit the individual anchor points of the subpaths to customize the type (see Figure 11.12).


Be aware that paths created from type are very complex. When created from large amounts of text, they can be complex enough to cause output problems for imagesetters and printers. Unlike Illustrator, Photoshop has no Simplify command to reduce the complexity of paths.

In Figure 11.13, you can see the number of anchor points for the converted type. Note the density of points in the type.

Figure 11.12Figure 11.12 The type has been converted to a work path, and the Direct Selection tool is being used to edit the letterforms. The path can be converted to a selection and filled or stroked.


Figure 11.13Figure 11.13 The type is set at a relatively large 18 points. The density of anchor points would be increased at lower font sizes because the number of points per character remains the same.

The font used can play a major role in the number of anchor points created when type is converted to work paths. Serif fonts and some script fonts often require a substantially higher number of anchor points to reproduce as editable paths. Multiply the increased number of anchor points, as seen in Figure 11.14, by the number of letters in a several-word type layer, and you can calculate the increased complexity of the work path.

Figure 11.14Figure 11.14 The fonts are Arial (27 anchor points), Times New Roman (38 anchor points), Brush Script (74 anchor points), and Lucida Calligraphy (34 anchor points).

Convert to Shape

Like the command Create Work Path, this command uses a vector type layer to create paths. However, rather than creating a work path, a shape layer is produced. The original type layer becomes a layer comparable to those produced by Photoshop Shape tools. A shape layer consists of a filled layer with a layer clipping mask. The clipping mask selectively reveals areas of the filled layer (see Figure 11.15).

» Shape layers and the Shape tools are discussed in Chapter 13, "The Pen Tools, Shape Layers, and Other Paths."


Take a look at the Layers palette in Figure 11.15. Note that the original type layer is still there, but hidden. (Hide the original type layer by clicking its eyeball icon in the Layers palette.) It's always a good idea to create a shape layer from a copy of the type layer.

Figure 11.15Figure 11.15 The Layers palette shows the layer thumbnail as well as the layer clipping path created from the type layer. The Paths palette shows the clipping path as a vector mask.

The new shape layer is filled with the same color that was originally applied to the type. If more than one color is applied to the type, the shape layer is filled with the color of the first character. When a style has been applied to the type layer, it is retained in the shape layer.

The paths created by the Convert to Shape command are identical to those created by the Create Work Path command. The caution presented earlier also applies to the shape layer path—paths with too many anchor points can create output problems.

Other Type Commands

A number of additional commands in the Layer, Type submenu can be used to change the orientation, anti-aliasing, and a couple of other attributes of the selected type or type layer. The submenu also holds commands that enable you to compensate for missing fonts.

  • Horizontal—A check mark appears next to this command when the type layer contains horizontal type.

  • NOTE

    Both Convert to Shape and Create Work Path are available for type that has been warped. The paths that are created, whether work paths or layer clipping paths, follow the contours of the warped type. If the check mark does not appear, you can select this command to convert the type from vertical to horizontal.

  • Vertical—A check mark appears next to this command when the type layer contains vertical type. If the check mark does not appear, you can select this command to convert the type from horizontal to vertical.

  • NOTE

    A discussion of anti-aliasing and how it works, along with several examples, can be found in the sidebar "Anti-Aliasing Type" later in this section

  • Anti-Alias None—Anti-aliasing smoothes the edges of type onscreen. This command removes all anti-aliasing, which can result in jagged-edged type (see Figure 11.16). However, None is often the appropriate choice for very small type and small type at low resolution.

  • Figure 11.16Figure 11.16 Although the differences in the other four types of anti-aliasing are virtually impossible to spot in this sample, None (at the upper left) is certainly apparent.

  • Anti-Alias Sharp—This option results is the lowest amount of anti-aliasing. If the type appears rough or jagged along curves, select another option.

  • Anti-Alias Crisp—High contrast edges take precedence over smoothing with the Crisp option.

  • Anti-Alias Strong—The Strong option adds anti-aliasing outside the character in an attempt to maintain the individual character's width.

  • Anti-Alias Smooth—The greatest amount of anti-aliasing is applied with this option. If characters become blurry, consider Crisp or Sharp. If the characters seem to lose optical weight (the strokes appear too thin), opt for Strong.

  • Convert to Paragraph Text/Convert to Point Text—As discussed earlier in this chapter, there are several key differences between point type and paragraph or area type. Perhaps most important, paragraph type can automatically reflow, adjusting the placement of words on each line, if the type container is changed or if text is added or subtracted. Multiple lines of point type, in contrast, must have line breaks (returns) manually entered at the end of each line. These commands allows you to convert between the two. Which command is visible in the menu depends on the content of the active type layer.

  • Warp Text—Using this command is equivalent to clicking the Warp Text button in the Options Bar. Unlike the button, this command is available even when no Type tool is selected. The Warp Text dialog box and the effects of warping are discussed in the section "Warping Type" earlier in this chapter.

  • Update All Text Layers—When you open a Photoshop file containing type from a prior version or from Photoshop Elements, you might get a message saying that the type layers need to be updated before they can be output as vector type. If you don't update the type layers upon opening, this command gives you another opportunity. Be aware that all type layers in the image will be converted to vector, not just the active layer.

  • Replace All Missing Fonts—If an image is opened that contains one or more fonts that are not available to Photoshop (for example, not present on the computer), a warning will appear. Layers containing one or more missing fonts are not updated.

  • When a font is missing, you have the option of selecting the type layer in the Layers palette and assigning a font. If you choose to have Photoshop replace the missing font(s) using this command, the results could be less than satisfactory (see Figure 11.17).

Figure 11.17Figure 11.17 Substituting Helvetica for Ponderosa has less-than-effective results. Manually replacing a missing font can be far preferable to using the command Replace All Missing Fonts.

One other command deserves special attention. The menu command Layer, Rasterize, Type converts a vector type layer to pixels, and the type is rasterized at the image's resolution. This command is not available if the active layer in the Layers palette is not a type layer (identifiable by the T symbol in place of the layer thumbnail).

Anti-Aliasing Type

Anti-aliasing is the process of adding transitional pixels along edges to soften the appearance of curves. These pixels are added in intermediary colors between the subject and the background colors. It is used with selection tools as well as type.

Selection tools offer the option of anti-aliasing or not, but Photoshop's type engine is more sophisticated, offering several levels of anti-aliasing. Because the appearance of type is usually critical, and because different fonts and type sizes have different requirements, Photoshop's type engine offers Sharp, Crisp, Strong, Smooth, and None as anti-aliasing options.

Anti-aliasing makes curves and angled lines appear smoother by adding colored pixels along edges. Think of the transitional pixels as a mini gradient, blending from the foreground color to the background color. When you look at black type on a white background, the added pixels are shades of gray.

Figure 11figSB01Sidebar Figure 1. The number 2 has no anti-aliasing applied, but the letter S is set to Crisp. The inset is at 100%, and the image behind is at 800% zoom.

At 100% zoom, the jagged edges of the character without anti-aliasing are visible. With Crisp anti-aliasing, the curves appear smoother.

The colors used for the transitional pixels depend on the colors of the type and the background. For example, if the type is yellow (RGB 255/255/0) and placed on a background that's blue (0/0/255), the transitional pixels could be RGB 238/238/17, 187/187/68, 136/136/119, 119/119/136, 68/68/187, and 17/17/238.

The differences among the four type anti-aliasing options are subtle. Even when zoomed to 1200%, it takes a close look to see variations.

Figure th11figSB02Sidebar Figure 2. The top row shows Sharp and Crisp, and the bottom shows Strong and Smooth.

In this particular example, the area of greatest variation is the left edge of the letter O. The Strong anti-aliasing (bottom left) is substantially darker than the others. Sharp (top left) and Smooth (bottom right) are nearly identical in both placement and coloring of the transitional pixels.

Keep in mind that anti-aliasing is not always a good idea. Very small type can become quite blurry onscreen when anti-aliased. Especially when preparing images for the Web, think carefully about anti-aliasing. Using larger type, particularly the more linear sans serif fonts, such as Arial, can do far more to approve legibility and appearance than anti-aliasing. In addition, if the image is to be saved as a GIF or PNG-8 file, remember that anti-aliasing introduces several new colors to the color table, potentially increasing file size.

Remember, too, that anti-aliasing is not used when you print vector type to a PostScript printer.

The Options Bar and the Type Tools

Photoshop's improved Options Bar includes the capability to save tool presets. This is a great way to speed your work with the Type tool. If you regularly use certain fonts at certain sizes, they can be saved as presets in the Tool Presets Picker at the left end of the Options Bar (see Figure 11.18).

Figure 11.18Figure 11.18 Select the font, size, anti-aliasing, alignment, and color, and then use the palette's menu command New Tool Preset. You'll have the opportunity to name the new configuration.

Each of the settings in the Options Bar can be changed for a preset. The values in the Character and Paragraph palettes are recorded as well. Note that the Horizontal Type tool and the Vertical Type tool have separate presets. The Tool Presets palette is available only when the Type tool is selected, but not in the act of adding type to the image. (When you're actually adding type, the preset palette's button is grayed out.)

» Presets gone haywire? Not sure why the type you add doesn't look like the type you want? See "Character Check" in the NAPP Help Desk section at the end of this chapter.

Immediately to the right of the Tool Presets Picker button is a button that allows you to switch existing type between horizontal and vertical. The button is available when a type layer is active in the Layers palette, whether the type itself is selected in the window or not. Swapping the type orientation applies to the entire type layer; you cannot change part of a sentence from horizontal to vertical.

With a Type tool active, you can use the Options Bar to change the font, font style (when the font has multiple styles available), type size, anti-aliasing, alignment, and color. To the right, the Options Bar offers four additional buttons. Just to the right of the color swatch is a button to open the Warp Text dialog box. The only difference between using this button and the menu command Layer, Type, Warp Text is convenience. To the right of Warp Text is a button that toggles the visibility of the Character and Paragraph palettes. Again, this is comparable to using the appropriate commands in the Window menu to show and hide the palettes. Next are the Cancel Current Edits and Commit Current Edits buttons, which are visible only while a Type tool is in action. Clicking the Cancel button returns the type layer to its previous state (or cancels a new type layer), and the Commit button accepts the type entry or edit. The keyboard shortcuts for these two buttons are Escape and (Command-Return) [Ctrl+Enter].


Because the Options Bar is contextual, these fields and buttons are available only when the Type tool is active. However, when a type layer is active in the Layers palette, no matter what tool is selected, all these capabilities are available in the Character and Paragraph palettes or the Layer, Type menu.

The far right end of the Options bar is occupied by the Palette Well on monitors set to resolutions higher than 800x600 pixels. At 800x600, the Palette Well is not available.

The Character Palette

You can show and hide the Character palette (see Figure 11.19) through the Window menu or a button in the Options Bar when a Type tool is active. The palette replicates many of the fields and options available in the Options Bar for Type tools. Unlike the type-related fields in the Options Bar, the Character palette is also available when a non-Type tool is active

Figure 11.19Figure 11.19 Not all menu options are available at the same time.

The Character palette can be used in several ways:

  • It can be used without any active type layer to establish presets for the Type tools. This affects all type that is entered later, until additional changes are made in the Character palette or the Options Bar.

  • With a type layer active in the Layers palette but no type selected in the image, changes can be made to the entire layer. These changes affect all type on the layer, but only type on that layer. The changes remain in effect in the Character palette and Options Bar.

  • When some type on a type layer is selected with a Type tool, changes can be made to that portion of the type without affecting the rest of the type layer. Such changes affect only the selected type and remain in effect.

  • If a Type tool is active and in use, the Character palette can be used to set the characteristics of type that has not yet been entered. All type entered from that point on has the new characteristics, but previously entered type is unaffected.


When adding type, you can show and hide the Character and Paragraph palettes by pressing (Command-T) [Ctrl+T].


In the Style field, you can jump only to styles available for that font. If you type I for italic and the current font doesn't offer italic, you'll hear an error tone.

There are 12 fields and eight style buttons in the Character palette. (The eight buttons are duplicated by commands in the palette's menu.) You can navigate among the fields in the Character palette with the Tab key. Tab advances you to the next field, and Shift-Tab returns to the previous one. Note that this method works even with the Font Family (name) and Font Style fields. In these fields, you can type the first letter of an entry in the pop-up list to jump to it

Font Family

The Font Family pop-up menu includes a list of all fonts available to Photoshop on your system. Font families include Helvetica, Times New Roman, Arial, and so on. All properly installed TrueType, Type 1, and OpenType fonts should appear. This menu selects only the font family.


You can navigate in the Font Family field by typing the first letter of a font's name or by using the arrow keys. The change is then applied to any selected type or to an active type layer. Using the arrow keys is a great way to preview fonts, but take a snapshot in the History palette first because the History palette will rapidly fill with "Set Character Style" entries.

Font Style

The Font Style pop-up menu shows the font styles and weights built into the font itself. The options can include Regular or Roman, Bold, Italic, Semibold, Condensed, Expanded, and combinations of those options, such as Semibold Italic. Some fonts, such as Stencil and Techno, are designed at a single weight and style, in which case the menu's arrow is grayed out.

Styles and Weights

When we talk about style for variations in a font's appearance, we're often misusing the term. Styles include condensed, extended, italic, Roman, small caps, strikethrough, and underline. The terms bold, light, regular, and semibold are actually referring to a font's weight. Think of weight as the thickness of the stroke used to create the character. Consider style to be what you do to the characters: pushing and pulling, tilting and leaning, adding lines through and under.

There's no real reason to differentiate between style and weight in Photoshop, but typographers know the difference.

Font Size

The Font Size field determines how large the font will appear in the image. In addition to the preset values in the pop-up menu, you can type any size between 1/10 of a point and 1296 points. By default, Photoshop uses points as the unit of measure for font size. One point is equal to 1/72 inch. You can change the unit in Photoshop's Preferences. In addition, you can type any unit of measure directly into the field. For example, typing 28 px makes the font size 28 pixels. The other available abbreviations are in (inches), cm (centimeters), pica (picas), and pt (points). Fractional values can be entered as decimals.


For really large projects, you can work around Photoshop's font size limitation. Enter the text at 1296 points, and choose Edit, Transform, Scale. Make the type larger than you need. You can now return to the Font Size field and enter any point size up to the scaled size.

Character and Line Spacing

In addition to controlling the appearance of type through fonts, you can determine positioning among characters and between lines of type.

  • Leading—Pronounced like the metal rather than the verb to lead, this measurement determines the distance between lines of type. Like size, it is normally set in points, but you can enter values in any unit of measure. The pop-up menu defaults to Auto, which sets the leading at 120% of the font size (although this can be changed in the Justification dialog box opened through the Paragraph palette's menu). You'll find that the values in the pop-up menu mirror those of the Font Size field. Remember that leading is based on the tallest character in a line.

  • » Changing the leading doesn't change anything? See "Adjusting Line Spacing" in the NAPP Help Desk section at the end of this chapter.

  • Kerning—Kerning is the space between a pair of characters. It affects only those two adjoining characters. Each font is designed with specific kerning for various pairs of characters, applied with the default setting of Metrics, but you can fine-tune the appearance of type with judicious use of kerning. Kerning is especially valuable when letters of different font size adjoin (see Figure 11.20).

  • Figure 11.20Figure 11.20 The top example shows the default kerning. By manually changing the value, the overall appearance is improved.

    To adjust kerning, select a Type tool and click between the letters that need adjustment. Use the pop-up menu or enter a numeric value in the Kerning field. Pressing (Return) [Enter] will commit the change. If you change your mind while still in the numeric field, you can use (Command-Z) [Ctrl+Z] to undo, or simply hit Escape to cancel.


    Reducing the tracking can be an excellent way of squeezing type into a space that's just a little too small. Whether paragraph or point type, tightening the tracking can be far preferable to scaling or resizing the type.

    Kerning is measured in 1/1000 em, a unit of measure based on the particular font's size. One em in a 24-point font is equal to 24 points.

  • Tracking—Kerning sets the distance between two letters, but tracking adjusts the spacing among a group of selected letters. Tracking is measured like kerning. It can also be applied to an entire type layer by selecting the layer in the Layers palette and then making the change. When tracking is adjusted for a group of letters in a selection, the first letter doesn't move. All selected letters beyond it (by default, to the right) shift to meet the adjustment. Consider tracking to be the addition or reduction of space to the right of selected characters.

» Unsure of all the typesetter's terms being tossed about? See "Typographic Terminology" in the NAPP Help Desk section at the end of this chapter.

Changing Scale, Shifting, Coloring, and Styling

Photoshop's Character palette enables you to change the vertical and horizontal scaling of one or more characters, and move a character up or down in relation to the baseline. You can also assign a specific color to a character or block of type and add style characteristics not built into the font, such as bold, italic, strikethrough, and even anti-aliasing.

  • Vertical Scale—Because Photoshop's type is vector based, you can scale it without loss of quality. The Character palette allows you to adjust the height of selected characters from 0% (invisible) to 1000%. The font's default appearance is always 100%. You can apply vertical scaling to selected type or to an entire type layer. Keep in mind that this scaling is independent of the menu command Edit, Transform, Scale. The Character palette still shows 100% after a scale transformation.

  • Horizontal Scale—Useful for simulating expanded or compressed font styles, horizontal scaling can be adjusted from 0% to 1000%. When used proportionally with vertical scaling, the effect is comparable to changing the font size.

  • Baseline Shift—The baseline is the imaginary line on which most letters in a font rest. (Some letters, of course, extend well below the baseline, such as g, j, p, q, and y; others extend slightly below the baseline, such as e and o.) Shifting a letter above the baseline creates superscript; shifting below the baseline produces subscript (see Figure 11.21).

  • NOTE

    True superscript and subscript are typically smaller than the other characters in the text. Shifting the baseline changes the position of the character(s) without changing the size.

    Figure 11.21Figure 11.21 These "2" examples show a common example of subscript and perhaps an equally familiar superscript.

    Baseline shift can be adjusted by using (Option-Shift) [Alt+Shift] with the up and down arrow keys. Adding the (Command) [Ctrl] key changes the increment from 2 points to 10 points.

  • Text Color—The swatch in the Character palette indicates the current type color. Click it to open the Color Picker. Remember that Photoshop allows multiple colors in a single type layer, so each letter can be a different color, if desired. Use a type to select text to change, or select a type layer in the Layers palette to apply the change to the entire layer.

  • Style Buttons—From the left, the buttons are Faux Bold, Faux Italic, All Caps, Small Caps, Superscript, Subscript, Underline, and Strikethrough.

  • When the selected font offers a bold weight or an italic style, it's definitely preferable to choose it in the Font Style pop-up menu than to apply the faux style. On the flip side, using Photoshop's Superscript and Subscript buttons is usually easier than working with Baseline Shift and then scaling the character. Remember, too, that Photoshop does not allow you to warp type to which faux bold has been applied (see Figure 11.22).

    Figure 11.22Figure 11.22 Unlike Photoshop 6, you can now remove the style and continue to the Warp Text dialog box with a single click.

  • Language—You use this pop-up menu to select the dictionary to use for spell checking and hyphenation (paragraph type only). All available dictionaries will be listed. Photoshop allows you to mix languages on a type layer. Select a word or words with a Type tool, and then select a language in the pop-up menu.

  • Anti-Aliasing—You have the option of applying one of four types of anti-aliasing to selected type or a type layer, or having no anti-aliasing applied. (Anti-aliasing is discussed earlier in this chapter and in the sidebar "Anti-Aliasing Type.")

Character Palette Shortcuts

A number of keyboard shortcuts, listed in Table 11.1, can be used to adjust type, even when the Character palette isn't visible.

Table 11.1 Type Shortcuts




Increase font size by 2 pts (selected text)



Increase font size by 10 pts (selected text)



Decrease font size by 2 pts(selected text)



Decrease font size by 10 pts (selected text)



Increase leading by 2 pts (one or more lines of type selected)

Option+down arrow

Alt+down arrow

Increase leading by 10 pts (one or more lines of type selected)

Command+Option+down arrow

Ctrl+Alt+down arrow

Decrease leading by 2 pts (one or more lines of type selected)

Option+up arrow

Alt+up arrow

Decrease leading by 10 pts (one or more lines of type selected)

Command+Option+up arrow

Ctrl+Alt+up arrow

Increase kerning by 20 pts (insertion point between two characters)

Option+right arrow

Alt+right arrow

Increase kerning by 100 pts (insertion point between two characters)

Command+Option+right arrow

Ctrl+Alt+right arrow

Decrease kerning by 20 pts (insertion point between two characters)

Option+left arrow

Alt+left arrow

Decrease kerning by 100 pts (insertion point between two characters)

Command+Option+ left arrow

Ctrl+Alt+left arrow

Increase tracking by 20 pts (one or more characters selected)

Option+right arrow

Alt+right arrow

Increase tracking by 100 pts (one or more characters selected)

Command+Option+right arrow

Ctrl+Alt+right arrow

Decrease tracking by 20 pts (one or more characters selected)

Option+left arrow

Alt+left arrow

Decrease tracking by 100 pts (one or more characters selected)

Command+Option+left arrow

Ctrl+Alt+left arrow

Increase baseline shift by 2 pts (one or more characters selected)

Shift+Option+up arrow

Shift+Alt+up arrow

Increase baseline shift by 10 pts (one or more characters selected)

Command+Shift+Option+up arrow

Ctrl+Shift+Alt+up arrow

Decrease baseline shift by 2 pts (one or more characters selected)

Shift+Option+down arrow

Shift+Alt+down arrow

Decrease baseline shift by 10 pts (one or more characters selected)

Command+Shift+Option+down arrow

Ctrl+Shift+Alt+down arrow

Remember that the difference between changing kerning and changing tracking is the selection. If the cursor is between two characters and there is no selection, the shortcuts adjust kerning. If one or more letters are selected, the tracking is changed. Otherwise, the keystrokes are identical.

Also keep in mind that adjusting leading might show no effect unless the entire line is selected. If part of a line has leading set to 24 and another part of the same line has leading of 48, the entire line appears as 48-point leading. Leading is applied to an entire line, but baseline shift can be applied to individual characters.

The Character Palette Menu

The Character palette's menu contains a number of commands that simply duplicate the style buttons found in the palette itself. Faux Bold, Faux Italic, All Caps, Small Caps, Superscript, Subscript, Underline, and Strikethrough show a check mark to the left when the style is applied to the selected type or type layer. To select or deselect, simply choose the style from the menu or use the palette's button.


When type is rotated, you bring the individual letters closer together by using tracking rather than leading. Photoshop still considers the type to be on a single line, and characters are not above and below each other; rather, they are next to each other, as with unrotated vertical type and horizontal type.

The palette's other menu commands deserve additional attention:

  • Dock to Palette Well—When grayed out, as in Figure 11.19, it indicates that the monitor's resolution is too low (800x600) to support that feature of the Options Bar. Docking the Character palette to the well makes it easily accessible.

  • Rotate Character—Rotate Character is used with vertical type. An entire type layer can be rotated, or just selected characters. Rotation determines the orientation of the individual characters, as shown in Figure 11.23.

  • Figure 11.23Figure 11.23 With Rotate Character selected, the individual characters are aligned to the bottom of the image. When it's deselected, characters align to the type's baseline.

  • Change Text Orientation—This command swaps horizontal and vertical type. The Rotate Character command has no effect on conversion from vertical to horizontal. The command must be applied to all type on a layer; there cannot be both vertical and horizontal type on a single type layer.

  • Ligatures, Alternate Ligatures, Old Style—These options are available only for those fonts that have the specific capabilities built in, primarily OpenType fonts. (OpenType fonts are often identifiable by the work "Pro" in the name.) Ligatures are two letters combined into one character to improve the look of certain letter combinations (see Figure 11.24). Old Style refers to number characters. These are lowercase numbers, used primarily with lowercase type. Many old-style numerals have ascenders and descenders, as shown in Figure 11.24.

  • Figure 11.24Figure 11.24 The top two lines compare the same letter combinations without and with ligatures. The lowest line shows old-style numerals with their natural baseline. (The font is Adobe Garamond Pro.)

  • Fractional Widths—When selected, Photoshop can adjust spacing between letters on an individual basis, using fractions of a pixel. Although this method often improves legibility for large type (20 points and over), it can cause problems for smaller type sizes. It is especially inappropriate for small type destined for the Web. Fractional widths can be applied only to entire type layers.

  • System Layout—Selecting this option simplifies the characteristics of the selected type layer to match as closely as possible the type of Windows Notepad or Apple's SimpleText and TextEdit. The settings include Kerning:0, Tracking:0, Vertical Scaling:100%, Horizontal Scaling:100%, Baseline Shift:0, and Anti-Aliasing:None, and it disables the Fractional Widths option. It does not change font, font size, leading, character style settings, color, or dictionary. System layout is used primarily for screen mockups and user interface elements.

  • No Break—This option disables hyphenation in paragraph type. It can be applied on a word-by-word basis by selecting the type with a Type tool and then selecting the command from the menu. No Break can be applied to specific letter combinations to force the break to occur elsewhere in the word. It can also be applied to a group of words to force Photoshop to keep those words on the same line. It is not used with point type because all breaks are inserted manually with the (Return) [Enter] keys.

  • Reset Character—This command returns the Character palette (and any selected type or type layer) to the default settings. You can reset selected type or an entire type layer. Either use a Type tool to highlight type on a type layer, or select the type layer in the Layers palette. The default settings are not user-definable. Figure 11.25 shows the defaults for Macintosh and Windows.


Many non-OpenType fonts have the fi and fl ligatures built in, and you can add them with (Shift-Option-5) [Shift+Alt+5] and (Shift-Option-6) [Shift+Alt+6]. You'll find ligatures in such common fonts as Times and Geneva, but not in many others, including Arial, Helvetica, and any all-caps fonts.

Figure 11.25Figure 11.25 The Mac OS X and Windows XP Character palettes are shown with their default settings.

The Paragraph Palette

Nested by default with the Character palette, the Paragraph palette can be shown and hidden by using the button in the Options Bar, the command in the Window menu, or the (Command-T) [Ctrl+T] shortcut while editing or inputting type. This palette and its menu (see Figure 11.26) govern the appearance of a body of type. Photoshop considers a "paragraph" to be any amount of text followed by a return.

Figure 11.26Figure 11.26 The Paragraph palette is shown with its default settings.

All options in the Paragraph palette can be set individually for each paragraph. The entire paragraph need not be selected; simply click with the Type tool in a paragraph to indicate that it's the target of the changes. You can highlight one or more characters from several paragraphs to select them all. If you don't click in the text, Photoshop assumes that changes made in the Paragraph palette should be applied to the entire type layer. If no type layer is active in the Layers palette, any changes made are used the next time type is added to the image.


Point type that appears on a single line without a return at the end is considered a paragraph for Photoshop's alignment options.

Across the top of the palette are seven buttons that govern alignment and justification of paragraphs. What they do to a paragraph of text is apparent from the button icons. The first three buttons are alignment, arranging the text to have an even margin on the left, have each line centered, or have an even margin on the right. In each case, the text remains within the boundaries of its rectangle. Photoshop's criteria for justifying text are set in the Justification dialog box opened through the Paragraph palette's menu. (Justification rules are discussed in the next section.)

The four remaining buttons at the top of the Paragraph palette determine justification. Justified text has even margins on both the left and right. These four options govern the last line of a paragraph. When the final line is not full—that is, it does not naturally stretch from the left to the right margin—Photoshop offers several options. The final line can be aligned left, centered, aligned right, or justified. To justify the final line, space is added between words and, if necessary, letters. Should the final line be substantially shorter than the others, the amount of whitespace added can be unsightly and interfere with legibility (see Figure 11.27).

Figure 11.27Figure 11.27 The same text is shown with Justify Last Left and with Justify Last All. Note the difference in the final line of each paragraph.

The second section of the Paragraph palette governs indenting. Entire paragraphs can be indented to the left, to the right, or both (the upper pair of buttons), and you can specify indenting separately for the first line of a paragraph (the lower button in the middle section of the palette). By default, the unit of measure for indenting is points. That can be changed in Photoshop's preferences under Units & Rulers. The Paragraph palette uses the unit of measure specified under Type. A visual comparison of paragraph and first line indenting is shown in Figure 11.28.

Figure 11.28Figure 11.28 The middle paragraphs are indented both left and right.

Also visible in Figure 11.28 is paragraph spacing. Using the lower set of buttons in the Paragraph palette, you can specify spacing before a paragraph (left), or space can be added after a paragraph (right). Like indenting, the unit of measure specified for type in the Preferences is used.

At the bottom of the palette is a check box that turns hyphenation on and off in the paragraph. Like the other Paragraph palette options, hyphenation can be set on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis. Specific rules for hyphenation are set by using the Paragraph palette's menu command of the same name (discussed in the following section).

The Paragraph Palette Menu

Several commands appear in the Paragraph palette's menu. Like most palettes, the top command, Dock to Palette Well, enables you to add the palette to the Palette Well. (Remember that the Palette Well is not available unless the monitor's resolution is set to display more than 800x600 pixels.)

Roman hanging punctuation is an advanced typesetting option. With paragraph type, certain punctuation marks fall outside the margins to the left and right, creating a "cleaner" look to the margins (see Figure 11.29).

The Justification dialog box (shown in Figure 11.30) controls how Photoshop justifies paragraphs. Making changes here allows you to make tiny adjustments to how Photoshop spaces words and letters to create full justification.

Figure 11.29Figure 11.29 Hanging punctuation allows the larger letterforms to align to the margins. This option gives the text more of a "block" look, producing the illusion of straighter margins.

Figure 11.30Figure 11.30 Other than Auto Leading, these values are applied only when text is justified.

Word Spacing establishes minimum, maximum, and target amounts for space between words. The 100% represents the font's built-in spacing plus any changes you've made to tracking in the Character palette. Values can range from 0% to 133%.

Letter Spacing determines how much change Photoshop can make to spaces between letters within words. Justifying relies on letter spacing only after word spacing has been applied and only if necessary. Although percents are shown in the dialog box, the unit of measure is actually fractions of an em. Inputting 0% in all three fields turns off letter spacing.

Glyph Scaling, a method of last resort, actually changes the width of individual characters to create justification. Sacrificing the appearance of the letters for the appearance of the margins is rarely a good idea. A value of 100% represents the original width of each character.

At the bottom of the dialog box, you can specify what percentage of a font's size will be used for the Auto setting in the Character palette's Leading pop-up menu.

The Hyphenation dialog box (see Figure 11.31), opened with the Hyphenation command on the Paragraph palette's menu, controls what rules Photoshop applies when breaking words at the end of a line. Photoshop uses the assigned dictionary to determine where a word is hyphenated; these settings determine whether a word is hyphenated at all.

Figure 11.31Figure 11.31 Remember that only paragraph type can be automatically hyphenated.

You use the Hyphen Limit field to control how many consecutive lines can end with hyphens and the Hyphenation Zone field to establish a distance from the right margin in which words will not be hyphenated. For example, if the preceding word enters the designated zone, the following word is moved in its entirety to the following line. Likewise, if a word to be broken does not have a dictionary-defined break within the zone, the word remains unhyphenated.

If you deselect the Hyphenate Capitalized Words check box at the bottom of the dialog box, words that begin with a capital letter cannot be hyphenated. This includes proper nouns as well as words that start sentences. (The possibility that a word is long enough to both start a sentence and require hyphenation in Photoshop indicates very narrow columns or very long words.) This setting has no effect on type set in all caps or entered with the Caps Lock key locked down.

The difference between the Adobe Single-line Composer and the Adobe Multi-line Composer commands is the approach to hyphenation. Single-line looks at one line and decides the appropriate hyphenation, and then moves to the next line. Multi-line examines all the selected text before making decisions, which usually produces fewer word breaks and a generally more pleasing look to the text.

The Reset Paragraph command restores the Paragraph palette to its default settings.

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