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Six simple tricks to set your text straight

Added on Sunday 27th of February 2005 12:30 am EST


Adobe Photoshop 7/CS

Operating Systems:

Macintosh, Microsoft Windows


Text is a vital part of many designs. Photoshop is equipped with many easy-to-use formatting tools and options to help you get your text shipshape, but many designers neglect these capabilities in favor of integrating with Adobe Illustrator® or Adobe InDesign®. By using the native text tool within Photoshop, you can finish the text portion of your design faster and keep all your artwork in an easy-to-share PSD file.


Say it with style

We’ll begin by introducing you to a little–known, but invaluable capability that first appeared in Photoshop 7—the bounding box. Next, we’ll show you how to keep select words from breaking across lines within a paragraph, and we’ll help you spruce up your alignment with hanging punctuation. Then, we’ll explain how to use Photoshop’s Check Spelling and Find And Replace Text features. We’ll wrap things up by showing you how to reset the default settings if you find your text formatting going astray.


1. Effortlessly define text boundaries

When you select the Horizontal Type tool and click on your canvas, you can immediately start entering your text. As you know, the line of text continues indefinitely until you press the [return] key to designate a new line. Later, you can adjust your alignment, formatting, and all that jazz. However, it’s much quicker and easier to use a bounding box to delineate the margins for your paragraph from the get-go. To create a bounding box:

1.  Select the Horizontal Type tool Horz TYPE TOOL, click on your canvas, and hold down the mouse button as you drag a rectangular box.

2.  Release the mouse button to create the bounding box; the text cursor appears in the upper-left corner of the box.

Now, simply begin typing. When the text reaches the right edge, it automatically wraps onto a new line. You can easily adjust the dimensions of the bounding box at any time by dragging any of its editing handles, as illustrated in Figure A.



Figure A:

Text placement is fast and easy when it’s contained within a bounding box.



TIP: To create a bounding box with precise dimensions, hold down the [option] key (the [Alt] key in Windows) as you drag the Horizontal Type tool across your canvas. When you release the mouse button, the Paragraph Text Size dialog box appears. Then, enter the dimensions you want to use in the Height and Width text boxes and click OK.




TIP: To change the size of (or distort) the text as you resize its bounding box, hold down the [command] key ([Control] in Windows) as you drag one of the bounding box’s editing handles.



2. Prevent specific words from breaking

When a word reaches the edge of a text box, Photoshop may hyphenate it to maintain the selected alignment. However, you should never hyphenate some words (including proper nouns and words that change meaning when taken apart). To restrict a word from breaking across lines:

1.  Highlight the desired word on your canvas using the Horizontal Type tool.

2.  Open the Character palette (Window > Character) if it isn’t already open.

3.  Select No Break from the Character palette’s options menu, as illustrated in Figure B.



Figure B:

You can ensure specific words aren’t hyphenated regardless of how the bounding box is edited in the future.


3. Apply hanging punctuation

You can easily jazz up your text alignment by letting your punctuation hang outside your text box (or other designated alignment boundary). Doing so causes periods, commas, quotation marks, apostrophes, hyphens, and other punctuation marks at the edge of a line break to appear outside the margins. The result is a cleaner edge in which all the alphanumeric characters line up, a...