Typing text on a path enables you to create unique effects with your text. For example, you could curve text around a shape or subject in an image to emphasize the text. Text can be added to a path that takes on any shape, giving you unlimited creative options with this effect.

To type on a path in Photoshop, first, create a path using the Pen Tool or one of the Shape Tools in the “Path” mode. With your path created, select the Type Tool (T) and click on the line of your path. Now begin to type and your text will follow the shape of the path!

While creating paths with the pen tool, the advantage is for creating wavy lines or basic shapes. However, for specific shapes, it’s often easier to use the Shape Tool to create your path instead. After typing text on a path, you can adjust its position to place it exactly where you want. 

Now throughout this post, you’ll learn a few different ways to create and edit your paths, along with everything you need to know when working with text on a path in Photoshop. Let’s get started!

Ways To Create A Path In Photoshop

A path in Photoshop is a line segment containing an anchor point at each of its edges. It can also consist of multiple line segments joined by multiple anchor points.

Simple path with a single segment.
More complex path with multiple segments

A path can be straight or curved and open or closed.

Curved open path
Closed curved path

You can use paths to create custom shapes, brush strokes, and more. Isolated paths have no particular function. They don’t even appear on the Layers panel, but in a dedicated paths panel instead, which appears once you draw a path.

When you save a document where you created an isolated path, you need to convert the path into something else if you want to use it, such as a selection or a brushstroke. You can create a path with the pen tool or turn a shape into a path before adding text to the path to create uniquely shaped text elements.

Creating A Path Using The Pen Tool

With the pen tool, you can connect an anchor point to another anchor point to create a straight or curved path. This gives you endless possibilities to create customized paths. To create a path with the Pen Tool, select the tool in the toolbar (P).

Then, go to the Options bar and change the tool Mode to Path.

Next, click anywhere on the canvas to create the first anchor point.

Now you have two options: draw a straight or curved path. To draw a straight path, hold Shift and click anywhere on the canvas to create the second anchor point. 

To create a curved path, click on the canvas to create the first anchor point. Then, click on another part of the canvas and drag the mouse down.

To reduce the curvature angle, hold Alt (Win) or Option (Mac), click the control arm connected to the new anchor point and drag the handle downward.

If you want to increase the curvature angle, drag the handle connected to the curve upward.

To continue making the path, click anywhere on the canvas. This will create a third anchor point.

The control handle connected to the curve controls the curve orientation. In my case, the handle connected to the new segment is pointing down. Then, when I clicked another part of the canvas, a convex curve was created.

To change the curve orientation, hold Alt (Win) or Option (Mac) and move the handle connected to the curve in the opposite direction.

Creating a straight path with the pen tool is pretty straightforward. On the other hand, creating a curved path requires a little more practice but is still quite simple.

Creating A Path Using The Shape Tool

Drawing a path with the shape tool is easier than using the pen tool, although you are limited to the available shapes.

To do this, select any of the shape tool options from the toolbar (U). You can choose the first shape available, or hold the mouse down to cycle through the other shapes and pick the one you want

Next, go to the Options bar and change the tool Mode to Path.

After that, click and drag on the canvas to create the path.

You can use either the basic shapes displayed in the toolbar or the shapes available in the Shapes panel. To open the Shapes panel, go to Window > Shapes.

Once you choose a shape, click and drag on the canvas to create your path. Make sure the mode is set to Path before creating the shape.

How To Put Text On A Path In Photoshop

To put text on a path, you need to draw a path first. To do this, follow the instructions in the previous section. In my case, I created a path around the basketball in the image below using the Pen Tool.

Once the path is created, select the Text Tool from the toolbar (T).

Then, hover over the path until your cursor looks like an I with a curved line crossing it, and click anywhere on the path. 

Now, you can start typing on the path.

How To Move Text Along A Path

If you zoom in on the text added to the path by pressing Control + + (Win) or Command + + (Mac), you will notice there is an x icon next to the text. That indicates the start point of the text. 

At the end of the path, you can see a circle icon, which represents the endpoint of the text.

You can easily change where the text starts and where it ends. To change the text start point of your text, click the Path Selection Tool in the toolbar (A).

Next, hover over the start point of the text until your cursor turns into an I with an arrow pointing to the right. 

Then, drag the text towards the spot where you want the new start point to be. 

Before
After

To change the text endpoint, hover over its endpoint until your cursor turns into an I with an arrow pointing to the left.

Then, you can drag the text to the new endpoint position.

Before
After

Keep in mind that after changing the text endpoint, Photoshop might hide some of your text. To change the text endpoint while preserving your entire original text, you will need to reduce your text font size. 

How To Invert Text On A Path

After putting your text on a path, you may want the text on the other side of the line. To do this, type text on a path and position it where you want, as you learned in the previous sections.

Then, double-click the text to select it.

After that, go to Window > Character.

From the Character Panel, adjust the Baseline Shift value until your text is positioned on the side of the path you want.

In my case, I needed to set the baseline shift to a negative value (-38) so that my text looked like it was printed on the basketball. But if I wanted the text to be positioned outside the ball, I would have to increase the baseline shift.

You can also flip the text so it’s written upside down on the path, but I explain how to do that in my other tutorial on how to type text in a circle in Photoshop.

Happy Editing!