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Specify Type Options in Adobe Photoshop Elements

When you’re using a Type tool in Photoshop Elements, the Tool Options (found at the bottom of the workspace) includes several character and paragraph type settings, as shown in the figure. These options enable you to specify your type to your liking and pair it with your images.

Specify your type options, such as font family and size, before you type.
Specify your type options, such as font family and size, before you type.

Here’s an explanation of each available option in the Tool Options:

  • Font Family: Select the font you want from the drop-down list. Elements provides a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) font menu. After each font name, the word Sample is rendered in the actual font — no more selecting a font without knowing what it really looks like.

    You also find one of these abbreviations before each font name to let you know what type of font it is:

    • a: Adobe Type 1 (PostScript) fonts

    • TT: TrueType fonts

    • O: OpenType fonts

    Fonts with no abbreviation are bitmapped fonts.

  • Font Style: Some font families have additional styles, such as light or condensed. Only the styles available for a particular font appear in the list. This is also a WYSIWYG menu.

  • Font Size: Select your type size from the drop-down list or just type a size in the text box. Note that type size is most commonly measured in points (where 72 points equals about 1 inch at a resolution of 72 ppi). You can switch to millimeters or pixels by choosing Edit→Preferences→Units & Rulers (on the Mac, Adobe Photoshop Elements Editor→Preferences→Units & Rulers).

  • Text Color: Click the color swatch to select a color for your type from the Color Picker. You can also choose a color from the Swatches panel.

  • Leading: Leading (pronounced LED-ding) is the amount of space between the baselines of lines of type. A baseline is the imaginary line on which a line of type sits. You can choose Auto Leading or specify the amount of leading to apply.

    When you choose Auto Leading, Elements uses a value of 120 percent of your type point size. Therefore 10-point type gets 12 points of leading. Elements adds that extra 20 percent so that the bottoms of the lowest letters don’t crash into the tops of the tallest letters on the line below them.

  • Text Alignment: These three options align your horizontal text on the left or right, or in the center. If you happen to have vertical text, these options rotate 90 degrees clockwise and change into top, bottom, and center vertical settings.

  • Anti-aliasing: Select this option to slightly smooth out the edges of your text. The Anti-aliasing option softens that edge by 1 pixel, as shown in the figure. For the most part, you want to keep this option turned on.

  • The one occasion in which you may want it turned off is when you’re creating small type to be displayed onscreen, such as on web pages. The soft edges can sometimes be tough to read.

    The Anti-aliasing option softens the edges of your type.
    The Anti-aliasing option softens the edges of your type.
  • Faux Bold: Use this option to create a fake bold style when a real bold style (which you’d choose under Font Style) doesn’t exist. Be warned that, although the sky won’t fall, applying faux styles can distort the proportions of a font. You should use fonts with real styles, and if they don’t exist, oh well.

  • Faux Italic: This option creates a phony oblique style and carries the same warning as the Faux Bold option.

  • Underline: This setting (obviously) underlines your type, like this.

  • Strikethrough: Choose this option to apply a strikethrough style to your text.

  • Style: Click this option to access a drop-down panel of preset layer styles that you can apply to your type. Note that this option is accessible after you have committed your type. For more on this option and the Create Warped Text option.

  • Change the Text Orientation: Select your type layer and then click this option to switch between vertical and horizontal type orientations.

  • Create Warped Text: This fun option lets you distort type in more than a dozen ways.

    You can apply type settings either before or after you enter your text.

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