How To Make Transparent Text In Photoshop – 4 Must-Try Methods

Creating transparent text in Photoshop can offer a variety of great effects for your images, video thumbnails, or even watermarks. Each method I’ll go over involves minimal knowledge of Photoshop and requires only a couple of layers. Most of the work will be done with the help of the Layer Style Panel! Let’s jump into how to make transparent text in Photoshop!

Video Tutorial

4 Ways To Create Transparent Text In Photoshop

#1. Transparent Text Within A Shape


The first method is creating transparent text within a solid shape. This method only requires two layers and makes a transparent outline of the text within your shape. The effect can be done with any shape or with a solid color fill layer. The choice is yours! For the sake of example, I’ll be putting my text onto a rectangle shape.

Here’s how to do it:

Draw your shape using the Shape Tool in Photoshop. To access the shape tool, press U on your keyboard or find it in your Toolbar.

Next, select the shape you want to draw. In this case, I’ll choose the rectangle shape tool, but any option will work!

Choose your fill and stroke options for your shape. The color you choose does not matter; it’s an entirely personal preference.

Draw your shape as you want it to appear in your image. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect; you can adjust it later by pressing V for the Move Tool. The Move Tool will let you change the position and size of your shape.


With your shape created, grab the Text Tool by pressing T or find it in your Toolbar. Choose a font that you like, bold fonts tend to look better for this effect.


Click outside of your shape to create a new text layer. Type in whatever is most fitting for your photo!


After selecting the text layer, press V to access the Move Tool and position your text within your shape.


With your shape and text layer overlapping, double click on your text layer to open the Layer Style Panel.

A new window will open up and make sure you’re in ‘Blending Options’.

Under ‘Advanced Blending’, set your Knockout to Shallow. Make sure the ‘blend clipped layers as group’ and ‘transparency shapes layer’ options are checked off.


Next, set your Fill Opacity to 0% and click ok to save your changes.


Hold Shift and select both the text and shape layer within your layers panel. Press Command + G (Mac) or Control + G (PC) to group your highlighted layers.

Rename this group to ‘Transparent Text’.

– The Result


Just like that, you’ve successfully created transparent text in Photoshop with a few simple layer styles. You can move the text to any position you’d like, and it will always be transparent through the underlying layer. This transparent text effect is perfect for website headers, social media thumbnails, and more!

#2. Transparent Stroke Text


The second method to make transparent text in Photoshop is with a stroke effect. A stroke is a simple colored outline around a shape or text in your photo. For this effect, the stroke will outline your text while the center remains transparent.

Here’s how to do it:

Grab your text tool by pressing T or find the text tool in the Toolbar.

Set the font, size, and color of your text at the top of your screen. Click anywhere on your image and type out the words you want to apply this transparent effect to.


With your text typed out, double click on your text layer to open the Layer Style Panel.

In the ‘Blending Options’ tab under ‘Advanced Blending’, bring the Fill Opacity down to 0%.


Next, select the Stroke tab.

Set the size of your stroke to whatever best suits your text. The amount will depend on the size and font you are using.

Set the Position to ‘Inside, Blend Mode to ‘Normal’ and opacity to 100%.


Make sure the Fill Type is set to ‘color’ and choose any color you’d like for your stroke.

Once you’re happy with the stroke adjustments, click ok to save your changes.


– The Result


This is another simple way to make transparent text in Photoshop, this time using a stroke. Since the text is invisible, adding a stroke just creates a shape around the text outline. That way, all you’re left with is a colored outline with a transparent center!

#3. Transparent Bevel Text Effect


The third way you can make transparent text in Photoshop is by using your bevel and emboss settings. The result gives you a transparent bevel text that’s faintly visible in your image. This text effect is fantastic if you want to be more subtle with your text or even create a custom watermark in your photo!

Here’s how to do it:

Grab your text tool by pressing T or click on the Text Tool in your Toolbar.

Set the font, size, and color of your text at the top of your screen. Click anywhere on your image and type the text you want.


With your text written out, double click on your text layer to open the Layer Style Panel.

Under the ‘Blending Options’ tab, bring the Fill Opacity down to 0%. This will make your text completely invisible.


Click on the Bevel and Emboss tab in your layer styles panel.

Set the Style to ‘Inner Bevel’, Technique to ‘Smooth’, and Direction to ‘Up’.


Set the Depth to anywhere between 1% and 1000%. For the best effect, I would suggest between 85% – 250%. 

Choose a size between 1px – 25px depending on how obvious you want the transparent text to look.

Leave the soften setting set between 1px – 10px.


Now you will add a bit of basic shading to help sell the effect. Check off ‘Use Global Light’ and set your angle by clicking within the angle circle. This will set what direction the shading is applied from.


Set your Gloss Contour to the same as shown below and check off ‘Anti-aliased’.


Set your Highlight Mode to ‘Normal’ and choose a white color. Pick an opacity between 30% – 50%.

Make sure your Shadow Mode is set to ‘Normal’ and choose a black color. Set your opacity between 40% – 70%.


Click ok to save your changes and exit the Layer Style Panel.

– The Result


This method lets you make transparent text in Photoshop by using shadows and highlights to bevel your text. That way, your text takes on the appearance of transparent 3D text that’s only visible with black and white around the edges!

#4. Knockout Stroke Text Effect


To take things a little further, you can combine the first two transparent text effects we discussed into one. This creates a unique and highly stylized look that you can use in a variety of designs. For this transparent text effect, you will combine the knockout text with an added stroke. Once you resize the text to be slightly larger than the shape, it looks like the solid color transitions into the text.

Here’s how to do it:

Grab your shape tool by pressing U or click and hold over the shape tool icon. Choose any shape you want to use as your background shape. For this example, I will use a circle.


Set the color and stroke values for your shape. This effect will work best if you have a transparent shape stroke represented by the white box with a red line.


Click anywhere on your screen to draw out your shape.


With your shape made, grab your text tool by pressing T or find it in the Toolbar. Pick your font and size settings but don’t get too hung up on it because you can always change this later. Click anywhere outside your shape to create a new set of text.


Once your text is written, grab your move tool by pressing V and reposition it to fit over your shape. Rescale your text so it is overflowing from the shape as shown below.


Double click on your text layer to open the Layer Style Panel.

Under ‘Blending Options’ set your fill opacity to 0% and set the Knockout to ‘Shallow’.


Next, click on the stroke tab to add a stroke to your text. Set your size to something like 5px, position to ‘outside’, blend mode to ‘normal’, and opacity to 100%.


Make sure your fill type is set to ‘color’ and choose a stroke color to match your shape. In this case that will be white.


Click ok to save your changes.

Shift-click your shape and text layers then press Command + G (Mac) or Control + G (PC) to group the layers. Rename this group to ‘Knockout Stroke Text’.

– The Result


That’s how you create another great transparent text effect in Photoshop merging together two of the techniques discussed earlier. This effect is perfect if you want to further stylize your text!


So that was four great ways you can make transparent text in Photoshop in a variety of styles. With these options, you’ll be able to utilize the perfect transparent text effect for your photo. You can get creative and merge different versions of these transparent text effects to get even more variety.

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Article By

Brendan Williams

Hey, I'm Brendan! I'm a professional photographer and photo retoucher who has spent the majority of his career shooting or retouching outdoor lifestyle and social media campaigns for brands like G-Adventures, xoxo Bella, P&G, Fitbit, Chevy, Tourism California, and more. These days I primarily focus my efforts on this site, creating guides and tutorials that I wish I had earlier in my career. Each week I publish new tutorials on Photography, Photoshop, Lightroom, and Canva to help you unlock new skills and bring your creativity to new levels! Everything you learn here is backed by real experience, so you can finally skip the fluff and focus only on what matters.

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