How to Format Paragraphs in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

You can use the Paragraph panel in Photoshop CS6 to format any or all paragraphs in a type layer. Choose Window→Paragraph or Type→Panels→Paragraph Panel.

Simply select the paragraph or paragraphs that you want to format by clicking an individual paragraph with the Type tool. You can drag a selection to select multiple paragraphs, or in the Layers panel, click a type layer that contains the paragraphs to format all of them at the same time.

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The Paragraph panel’s menu gives you access to Justification and Hyphenation dialog boxes. You can use these to customize the default settings that Photoshop uses for these functions.

How to change paragraph alignment

At the top of the Paragraph panel, you see a set of seven alignment buttons. Three of these buttons align non-justified text. You also find these in the Options bar. They include the following:

  • Left Align Text: All text is even with the left margin and allowed to be ragged on the right side of the column.

  • Center Text: Text is evenly centered in its column and ragged on both right and left edges.

  • Right Align Text: All text is even with the right margin and allowed to be ragged on the left side.

How to change paragraph justification

Four options in the Paragraph panel produce justified text, in which Photoshop inserts spaces between characters as necessary so that each line is flush on both left and right sides. In addition, you choose to make the last line flush left, flush right, centered, or force justified on both sides with spaces inserted by Photoshop.

This last option sometimes calls for some manual tweaking to avoid a final line that’s squeezed or expanded too much. You can apply justification options to paragraph type only, not point type.

For vertical type, the justification choices are Top align, Center, Bottom align, or Justify (four options).

How to change paragraph indentation

Three options in the Paragraph panel let you enter an amount of indentation between the sides of the text bounding box and the actual text. You can specify the amount of indentation from the left or right, and for the first line of the paragraph. For vertical type, the indentations are rotated 90 degrees.

How to change spacing between paragraphs

Two options in the Paragraph panel let you specify the amount of space between paragraphs. You can specify the amount of space before every paragraph, the amount after every paragraph, or both.

How to break long words across two lines

The final option in the Paragraph panel is the Hyphenate check box, which specifies whether Photoshop hyphenates words that are too long to fit on a line or leaves them intact.

Turning on hyphenation can prevent awkward spacing, particularly with justified text that would otherwise contain a lot more spaces between characters to make a line fit.

The Paragraph panel’s menu has a few additional options:

  • Roman Hanging Punctuation: Controls whether punctuation marks appear inside or outside the margins. Select this option to have the punctuation marks appear outside.

  • Adobe Single-Line Composer: Composition includes using a host of parameters to determine where a line should break. This option composes type one line at a time and offers more manual control over where lines break. The option favors compressing or expanding word spacing over hyphenation, but prefers hyphenation over compressing or expanding letter spacing. This option is selected by default.

  • Adobe Every-Line Composer: Looks at multiple, possible breaking points for a range of lines. The option can optimize earlier lines in the paragraph to avoid weird breaks later on in the paragraph. Emphasis is given to even spacing of letters and words over hyphenation. This option can provide more even spacing and fewer hyphens.

  • Reset Paragraph: Resets all the paragraph attributes back to the Photoshop defaults.