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How to outline text in Photoshop

Outlines help your work literally stand out.
January 25, 2023

If you’re using Photoshop for serious illustration or design work, it’s essential that any text you use is aesthetically unique. On top of new fonts or drop shadows, outlines are a quick way of distinguishing your output. There are two main ways to get them, which we’ll cover below.


The standard way of outlining Photoshop text involves inserting the text, opening the Layer Style menu, and clicking the checkbox next to Stroke.  From there, various tools let you change the size, position, color, blending, and fill type of an outline.

How to outline text in Photoshop

Using text effects

  • Select the layer where you want text inserted, then pick the Type tool from the lefthand toolbar.
  • Back on the canvas, click and type out the text you want to outline.
  • Open the Layer Style menu, either by double-clicking the side of the active layer, or by clicking the FX icon towards the bottom of the Layers panel.
  • Click the checkbox next to Stroke.
  • In the Stroke menu, adjust Size and Position as you see fit.
  • Use the Color Picker if you want to change the color of the outline, or options in the Blend Mode drop-down menu to alter how the outline mixes with the rest of your image.
  • The Fill Type menu allows changing an outline from a solid color to a Gradient or Pattern.
  • When you’re done customizing, click OK.
  • If you want “hollow” text (just the outline), go to Stroke > Blending Options in the Layer Style menu, then drag Fill Opacity all the way to the left. Leave it somewhere in between for a translucent look.

Using vector shapes

Creating vector text outlines in Photoshop

The vector method should be used with caution — while it wins you more control over the shape of an outline, it’s much harder to edit your text later on. We’d only recommend this if you know for certain what your text should say.

  • Using the Text tool, create a text layer and finalize its look and content as much as possible.
  • Right-click it and select Convert to Shape.
  • Enable vector points on your text using the righthand toolbar. Edit the shape as needed.
  • Use options like Stroke and Fill Color in the top menu to alter appearance.
  • Whenever you’re ready, click OK.
  • If you want “hollow” text (just the outline), select the Layer Style window, then click the checkbox next to Stroke. Next, click the Fill icon in the top menu and choose No Fill.

Read more: How to curve text in Photoshop