How To Stretch Text In Photoshop (3 Easy Methods)

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When it comes time to make your text layers a bit more interesting, stretching them can be a great option. This is where you need to know how to stretch text in Photoshop.

There are three main ways of creating stretched text, so you can find an option that suits just about any Photoshop project. In this guide, you’ll learn the step-by-step process behind all three methods so you can find a text stretch effect that works best for you!

Option 1: Stretch Text Using The Transform Tool

Step 1: Add Your Text To The Canvas Using The Type Tool (T)

First, you’ll want to type out the text you will eventually stretch. Working either from a new document or from whatever project you’ve started, click the Type Tool (T). Click anywhere on the document to create a new text box. Type whatever text you’d like.

At this point, you can adjust the appearance of the text in the Options Bar if you want. You can change the Size, Font, Style, Fill, or Color to make the text appear the way you’d like. You can go further and adjust the text and line spacing, too.

Step 2: Press Control/Command + T To Activate The Transform Tool

You can use the shortcut Control + T (Win) or Command + T (Mac) to turn on the Transform Tool. You will know Transform has been activated as the Options Bar will change to the Transform Tool settings.

Step 3: Hold In Shift Or Control/Command And Drag The Toggles

With Transform active, hold Shift, click, and drag to stretch the text horizontally or vertically without affecting the opposite orientation. You can also hold Control (Win) or Command (Mac) while clicking and dragging any of the toggles around the text box to freely distort the text.

The resulting text will appear stretched in whichever way you’ve pulled it. If you want the text to be stretched perfectly straight, ensure the angle reads 0 degrees when stretching vertically or horizontally. You can stretch the text outwards or compact it vertically or horizontally.


Option 2: Stretching Text Using The Warp Tool

Step 1: Convert The Text Layer To A Smart Object

To do this, you’ll first need to convert the text layer into a Smart Object. Starting after you add the text to the document, head to the Layers Panel and right-click or Control + click on the Text Layer. Scroll until you can find it and click Convert To Smart Object.

Step 2: Press Control/Command + T, Right-Click, And Select Warp

Now, activate the Transform Tool using the shortcut Control + T (Win) or Command + T (Mac). You’ll see toggles appear around the text. To turn on the Warp Tool, right-click or Control + click the text itself on the document, and then select Warp from the options.

You can now click any anchor points around the text box and drag the point, and the text will only stretch in that area. As you can imagine, the Warp Tool has many ways to edit your text. Moving each toggle will create a different look.

Step 3: Double-Click The Smart Object Layer And Re-Adjust Your Text (Optional)

Because you’ve converted the text layer into a Smart Object, you can easily return to the Warp Tool and change your text by double-clicking the text layer in the Layers Panel.

This will open your smart object in a new window, where you can edit your text as normal. Just remember to press Control + S (Win) or Command + S (Mac) to save any changes made within a smart object. Otherwise, the updates won’t be reflected in your original document.

You now have uniquely stretched text on your canvas.

Option 3: Stretching Text Using Paths In Photoshop

Step 1: Right-Click On The Text Layer And Select Convert To Shape

If you need to edit your text, click the Type Tool (T) and use the adjustments in the Options Bar. You won’t be able to go back and adjust the text again. Once you’re happy with how your text looks, head to the Layers Panel. Right-click or Control + click the Text Layer and select Convert To Shape.

The text will appear with anchor points around every letter. Each letter forms a separate shape having been converted to paths. In the Layers Panel, you’ll see the Text Layer is now a Shape Layer.

Step 2: Activate The Direct Selection Tool (A)

Click the Path Selection Tool in the Toolbar, which looks like a cursor arrow. Click and hold to select the Direct Selection Tool (A) and select it.

Step 3: Click And Drag Anchor Points To Stretch The Text

Now that each letter of the text has been converted to a shape, you can click any of the anchor points and drag to stretch only that part of that letter. Hold Shift while clicking the anchor points to drag more than one in the same direction. Selected anchor points appear filled in blue.

This gives you the most control over the stretch effect, as you can stretch each specific letter in whichever way you’d like. 

This is useful if you only want to stretch one area of the text, one letter, or one word for longer batches of text. You can create loads of fun effects using this method.


With these three effects in mind, you can create playful text or more professional effects to perfect various design projects.

Happy Stretching 🙂

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I'm a Canadian photographer and photo retoucher turned founder of bwillcreative.com. Around here I help you to decode the mystery of photo editing with no-fluff videos and written guides to help you achieve your creative goals. Outside of shooting photos and my passion for educating, you'll find me mountain biking or on the trails with my dog, Sunny!

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