If you’re looking to create a professional and polished document or flyer in Adobe Photoshop, there will be times when you have to center text to make your design appealing to your target audience.
There isn’t just one simple way to center text and there are a variety of meanings when it comes to making the text centered. Do you want the words centered on the whole canvas? Or do you want it center aligned? Does it work the same way as it does in Illustrator? We will cover some scenarios with various examples.
- How to add text on Photoshop
- First method to add text in Photoshop
- Second method to add text in Photoshop
- How to center text in Photoshop
- How to center text horizontally within a bounding box
- How to center text vertically within a bounding box
- How to center text to the canvas – Two methods
- How to center text to another layer or background layer
- How to center text to a selection
- One final tip
How to add text on Photoshop
First, let’s prepare a new Photoshop document to add some text to the file. I am using Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud 2022) on Apple Macintosh ( MacBook Pro) and will use the same file to illustrate all the examples.
When you are in Photoshop, go to File on the top menu.
Click “New” or use keyboard shortcut, press Command ⌘ New to create a new file.
Key in the size of your document and click Create.
With your new canvas, go to the toolbar.
If you don’t see your toolbar, go to the top menu at the top of the screen, click Window, then scroll down to the sub-menu that says Tools.
Your toolbar will now appear on the left side of the screen.
Next, click on the Text Tool or Type Tool that’s found in the tool options bar.
💡 One important thing to note is there are two ways to add text on Photoshop. Both ways will give different results or effects.
First method to add text in Photoshop
With the Type Tool still selected, bring your cursor to your Photoshop document, click on any part of the whole document and start typing your text.
This will create a text layer, but it will not have a text bounding box around your text when you select it with the Type Tool.
Although this method allows you to quickly type in your text, you can’t resize the text box without changing the size of the text. In other words, if you expand your text box, the text size will increase rather than flow or run with the shape of the text box.
Also, if you have a bunch of text that you want the words to split into multiple sentences, this method of adding text requires you to manually press enter to bring words to the next line.
Second method to add text in Photoshop
With the Type Tool selected, bring your cursor over roughly where you want your text to be on your Photoshop document. Instead of just clicking on the canvas and typing, click and hold down your mouse or cursor, drawing a box at the same time.
In this way, you will see a bounding box around your text layer when you select it with the Type Tool. This bounding box will not be visible when saved as artwork or when you select another layer.
The benefit with the bounding box is that, you will be able to let the text flow with the shape and size of the text box. You don’t have to manually press enter or backspace to bring words up and down different lines of text.
The downside is, the text is aligned to the top of the text box. If you want all the lines of text to be horizontally centered to the text box, that can be done. But the lines of text can’t be centered vertically to the text box in one click. There is a way to do this as shown below.
How to center text in Photoshop
In the examples below, I will use the second method of using the Type Tool to draw a text box on the canvas.
This is because there are times when you have more than just a few words and they can’t fit in one line. And you are not sure how many lines you want the words to split into yet. You prefer to play around with the number of lines to see which one fits your design best.
In this case, you want to have your text within the bounding box so that you can easily adjust the text box to have the words flow to several lines.
In this case, you will set up the text by clicking the Type Tool and drawing a box in the canvas before typing your text. See the section on the Second method to add text on Photoshop above.
Now that you have your document opened, draw your text box with the Type Tool and start typing your text inside the frame or bounding box.
Next go to the Layers Panel which will usually appear on the right panel. Check that a new layer has been created.
If you don’t see your Layers Panel, go to the top menu, click Window, then scroll down to the sub-menu that says Layers. Your Layers Panel will appear on the right side of the screen.
How to center text horizontally within a bounding box
With your text box created and text typed in the text box, next, open up the Paragraph panel.
If you don’t have it opened yet, go to the top menu bar and click “Windows”, then scroll down the submenu and click “Paragraph”. The Paragraph panel will open for you to set paragraph options toolbar.
You will see 7 sets of alignment icons with lines, these are text alignment options.
With only your text layer selected, hover your cursor over the icon with lines that are centered to each other.
You’ll see an alignment option that says “Center Text.” Simply click on this and your text will be centered.
If you want to left-align your text, click on the Left align text option, and click on the Right align text option if you want your text to align on the right side of the bounding box.
Up to this point, you can only horizontally center text within the bounding box of a text layer.
How to center text vertically within a bounding box
Surprise! There isn’t a one-click button to place your text in the center of the bounding box vertically like how you can do it in Indesign or Microsoft Word.
If you were to adjust the bounding box to try and find the center, it may not be as precise as what you want it to be.
Here’s what you do:
With your text of several lines in the text bounding box, have this text layer selected.
Next, select the Move Tool.
Go the top menu and click Type.
Then, scroll down the sub-menu and click on “Convert to Point Text”.
Your text box will adjust automatically to fit to the text size.
At this point, because your text box is snug fit to all edges of the words, you are sure that your text is vertically centered to the bounding box.
If you want to revert back to the bounding box where you can change where the lines break automatically and flow with the text layer, you can do that too.
Make sure to select the Move Tool and select the text layer.
Go back to the top menu and click Type.
Then, scroll down the sub-menu and click on “Convert to Paragraph Text”.
Now your text box is back to the original version with your latest changes. You can now click on the Type Tool, adjust your text box how you like the lines to break.
Then go back to “Convert to Point Text” when you are ready to center the text to the bounding box.
How to center text to the canvas – Two methods
Sometimes, you want your lines of words or the whole block of text or text layer (all the lines of words) to sit in the middle of the entire canvas.
Select the Move Tool from the Toolbar or press V on the keyboard.
Then use the Move Tool to select the text layer.
Clicking Options will open up the top settings bar that displays a set of alignment tools.
You will see different alignment options and a series of icons. Go to the three dotted lines that says “Align and Distribute” on the Options bar, click on that and click on the dropdown box under the section “Align to”. Then, select “Canvas”.
Click anywhere in Photoshop to close the Align and Distribute option. You will see more options are lighted up on the Options bar.
Next, go to the Options bar on the top panel that sits just below the top menu. If you don’t see the Options bar, go to “Windows”, scroll down the sub-menu and click on “Options”. You should see this at the bottom of the sub-menu.
Then, click on the align tool that says horizontal centers’ option. This helps you center text such that the space on the left and right is the same.
Next, click on the function that says vertical centers’ option. This helps you center text such that the amount of space on the top and bottom between the text and canvas equal in length to each other.
Your text is now center of the canvas.
Select the Move Tool from the Toolbar or press V on the keyboard.
Then use the Move Tool to select the text layer.
Next, to select the entire canvas, go to the top menu and click Select All, then, click All. Or, if you want to use keyboard shortcut, press Command A (on a mac) or press CTRL A (on Windows)
You will see dashed lines that look like marching ants around the edges of the canvas. This means it has been selected.
Go to the alignment buttons on the top settings bar.
Then, click on the align horizontal centers’ option and align vertical centers’ option.
Now your text layer is in the middle of the canvas vertically and horizontally.
How to center text to another layer or background layer
If you want to center text on another layer like an image, complex shape or a background layer in the same canvas but not necessarily centered to the canvas.
Similar to previous methods, select the Move Tool from the Toolbar or press V on the keyboard.
Then, go to the Layers Panel and click on the layers you’d like the text to be in the center of, including the text layer.
Next, go to the top settings showing the alignment options, go to the option Align and Distribute, make sure the Align to Selection is selected, not Canvas.
Click on the align horizontal centers’ option. Then, click on the align vertical centers’ option.
Your text layer is now centered to the selected layers or background layer, but you may have noticed that using this method may move both layers away from the position you wanted them to be.
This method works best if you only need your text to be centered to the layer regardless of where they are on the canvas.
In this case, you can use a selection instead to center the text. This method is explained in the next section.
How to center text to a selection
Sometimes the area you want your text to be centered to is flattened on another layer. Or you don’t wish for the text to be centered to whole layer but only a selection of a layer. In these cases, go to the Toolbar, select the rectangular marquee tool.
Go to your canvas and draw the targetted area with the rectangular marquee tool.
You will see dashed lines or marching ants around the area you want the text to be centered to.
With the selection active, select the Move Tool from the Toolbar or press V on the keyboard.
Then, go to the Layers Panel and click on the layer you’d like the text to be in the center of, including the text layer.
Next, go to the top settings showing the alignment options, click on the align horizontal centers’ option. Then, click on the align vertical centers’ option.
Your text layer and another layer will be in the center of one another.
One final tip
When creating centered text in Photoshop, to produce excellent results, it’s important to pay attention to both the size and spacing of your text. If your text is too large or too small, it can throw off the entire look of your document. And if your spacing is too tight or too loose, it can make your text difficult to read.
So when in doubt, err on the side of caution and go with slightly smaller font size and tighter spacing. This will help ensure that your text is both legible and visually appealing.
More to come in future photoshop tutorials.
Featured image from: Online illustrations by Storyset