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How to Fill a Shape with Text in Photoshop
  • By Lorna Cana
  • 04 Jan 2022
  • 11 Mins
  • Photoshop Tutorials

How to Fill a Shape with Text in Photoshop

Learn how to fill a shape with text in Photoshop in seven quick steps.

In this tutorial, we will learn how to fill a shape with text in Photoshop. We will create the shape by converting type into a work path. Then we will fill it with text. You can use this technique to create artwork of letters filled with some meaningful text.

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We will use the bulky Joylane font from our list of Blackletter fonts as the shape and the Freckles font for the fill text. But feel free to browse our extensive font catalog to choose the ones that suit you most.

We also used this beautiful photo frame mockup to showcase our design.

Let’s start by opening Photoshop and creating our document.

The document size and other characteristics should depend on the usage you are going to give to your artwork.

Step 1 - Add the Text You Plan to Use as the Shape

First, we need to add the text that is to be converted into the shape and filled with text.

Add Your Text and Adjust It if Needed

Select the Horizontal Type Tool (T), choose your font, and type your text. Adjust its size to fit your needs.

You can adjust any of the text’s settings, like kerning, leading, etc., by toggling the Character and Paragraph panels with the small folder icon in the top toolbar. In our case, we horizontally scaled the text to 150%.

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If your font has extra characters and you want to use them in your design, you can check out our guide on how to access extra glyphs and swashes.

Center Your Text

Next, select the Move Tool (V) and center your text by clicking Align Vertical Centers and Align Horizontal Centers in the top toolbar.

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Step 2 - Create a Work Path From Your Text

Now, we need to turn our text into a work path in order to be able to insert our quote inside its shape.

So, select the Horizontal Type tool (T), right-click on top of the text, and choose Create Work Path.

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A path with the same shape as your text should be present around it. To have a better view, hide the original text layer by clicking on the small eye icon on the left side of its thumbnail in the Layers panel.

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Head to the Paths panel (Window > Path), where you should see a new layer named Work Path with your shape showing inside its thumbnail.

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Step 3 - Adjust the Work Path to Include Negative Space if Needed

If any of the letters have hollow spaces inside, like the D and B in our case, you need to use a little trick to allow the inserted text to acknowledge the hollow spaces as negative space.

Note: if your letter doesn’t have any hollow spaces, just skip this step.

If you don’t do this little trick, the text will only flow within the outside path, ignoring the hollow spaces, as shown in the following image. This is because Photoshop uses compound paths to create the negative space inside these types of shapes.

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To solve this, select the Rectangle tool (U). In the top toolbar, choose Path from the Tool modemenu and Subtract Front Shape in the Path operations menu to cut the rectangle into your shape. Now create a small rectangular shape on top of the letter, touching the hole/hollow space and the outer edge as shown in the following image.

By cutting out the rectangle, you actually are removing the hole, creating a continuous path around your shape instead.

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Step 4 - Add Text to The Shape

Now, select the Horizontal Type Tool (T), choose the font you want to use for the inserted text, and adjust its size and other settings to fit your needs.

Hover your cursor inside the shape until the icon has a circle around it. Then, click inside the shape.

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Depending on your preferences, Photoshop may have inserted some placeholder text inside the shape. You can further adjust the text characteristics if needed with the Character and Paragraph panels.

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Finally, type the quote that you want to use to fill the shape and tweak it to your liking.

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Fill Other Types of Shapes with Text

You can also use this method to fill any type of shape with text. Choose the shape tool you prefer or create a custom shape using the Pen Tool (P). Just make sure that Path is selected in the Tool Mode menu.

Step 5 - Remove Rectangle then Close Gap in the Letter if Needed

If your letter had negative space and you used the trick mentioned in Step 3 to fix the text flowing problem, you can now remove the rectangle. Select the Work Path layer in the Paths panel and the Path Selection tool (A). Then click the rectangle and hit Delete.

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Next, select the text layer in the Paths panel and use the Direct Selection tool (A) to move the anchor points and close the gap created between the path edges.

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Step 6 - Repeat Steps to Add Text to Every Shape

Repeat Step 3 through Step 5 to fill all your shapes with text, then continue onto the next step when completed.

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Step 7 - Adjust the Size, Color, and Other Settings of Your Text

Finally, you can adjust the size of some of your text and maybe even the color to create a cool design.

Select the text with the Typetool (T) and make your changes as you usually do with text.

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Here’s how our shapes look, filled with the text we chose and with some small tweaks to personalize it even more.

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Now, what about learning how to create floral typography, how to curve text, or how to cut out text in Photoshop.


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