Using the Paint Shop Pro Text Tool

Get to grips with Paint Shop Pro 7's powerful text functions in this tutorial.

This tutorial walks you through some cool features of Paint Shop Pro's versatile text-making tool, and shows you some groovy tips and tricks along the way!

The Text tool dialog box

Select the Text tool by clicking on the big letter 'A' in the Tools palette. Move the cursor over your document and it will turn into an cross with a letter 'A' next to it. The text will appear wherever you click. Click somewhere in the image and the Text Entry dialog box appears:

Text Entry dialog

Let's start by looking at some of the options in the dialog box.

Name

Lets you choose the font to use for this piece of text from all of the fonts installed on your computer.

Size

Lets you select the (vertical) size of the text in points, which are 72nds of an inch.

Kerning

Controls the amount of horizonal space between the letters of your selected text. (NOTE: You have to select some or all of your text first!) Useful for stretching a word to fill a whole line. If you want standard spacing, just check the Auto Kern box.

Leading

Controls the amount of vertical space between lines. Pronounced as in the metal. The name refers to the strips of lead used to add space between lines on printing presses. A value of zero specifies the default, or normal, amount of space between the lines. A negative value moves your lines closer together, while a positive value moves your lines further apart.

Styles

In "Styles" you can choose the colours and style you would like to use for Stroke (the outline of the text) and Fill (the inside of the text).

To change the style of the Stroke or Fill, click in the rectangle to the right of Stroke: or Fill: to bring up the Color, Gradient or Pattern dialog. (This depends on which style is selected - see below.) Make your choice then click OK.

By clicking on the little black triangles on the right of the Stroke and Fill boxes, you can bring up a little popup containing 4 styles (sometimes you need to click and hold for a bit to bring this up!):

Styles popup

From left to right, they are: Solid (just use the colour without any effects), Gradient (use a colour gradient effect), Pattern (apply one of Paint Shop Pro's patterns), or Null (don't use this style at all).

Textures

"Textures" allows you to apply a Texture effect to the Stroke and/or Fill portion of the text. Click in the rectangle next to Stroke: or Fill: to bring up the Texture dialog, where you can choose the texture you'd like to apply.

If a texture is not shown next to Stroke: or Fill:, click on the little black triangle (as described in "Styles" above) to bring up the little popup, and select the left option (Texture).

Standard text

Most of the time, you won't want all these fancy textures and styles! In this case, just click the Standard text button to revert to normal text - no stroke, solid colour fill. A very handy button!

Create as Vector/Selection/Floating

There are three ways that you can add your text to the image:

Vector creates the text as a Vector layer. This means that you can stretch and resize the layer as often as you like without losing quality. It also means you can later click on the layer with the Text tool selected, and re-edit the text (changing the words, font, size etc). Usually you'll want to select Vector.

Selection creates the text in the form of a selection marquee. You can then fill this selection, use it to cut something out, etc. Note that the actual text is not placed on the image; only a selection is created.

Floating creates the text as a floating selection. This places the actual text as a raster (non-vector) graphic on your image, but it "floats" above your image, a bit like a layer, so you can move it around. If you want, you can choose Selections > Promote to Layer (Shift+Ctrl+P) to turn this floating graphic into a proper layer.

Placing the text

When you're happy with the text, click OK to place the text in your document. If the text didn't appear exactly where you wanted it, select the Mover tool from the Tools Palette (the 4 arrows in a cross shape), click on your text with the left mouse button (for Vectors and Floating Selections) or right button (for plain Selections), and drag it around with the mouse.

Re-editing the text

If you have created some Vector text, and you decide you want to change the words, font, colour or anything else about the text after you've placed it, find the text layer in your Layers palette and click on the little plus sign (+) to the left of the layer. This will reveal the Text Object underneath the layer (with the big letter 'A' to the left of it).

Double-click on the Text Object. This will reopen the Text Entry dialog and allow you to make your changes.

Tip: Avoiding jagged type

Yes, it's the bane of webmasters everywhere - those little jagged edges around text. You see it everywhere - on banners, headings and navigation bars - yet it's surprisingly easy to avoid, if you know how to avoid it!

The jagged edges are called aliasing and are a feature of bitmap devices such as your computer screen. Luckily, Paint Shop Pro gives you the option of smoothing, or anti-aliasing, text by blurring the edge pixels slightly so that the aliasing effect becomes unnoticeable. Just make sure you check the Antialias box in the Text Entry dialog.

Note that anti-aliasing will NOT work on indexed colour images. This means that if you're working on a GIF image, make sure you convert it to RGB colour first, using Colors > Increase Color Depth > 16 Million Colors (24 bit).

Tip: Mess with that text!

Provided you created a Vector text object, you can select it with the Object Selector tool (the arrow in the square icon, at the bottom of the Tools Palette) and then stretch it, flip it, rotate it and resize it, all without losing any quality!

With the Object Selector tool selected, click with the mouse pointer on your text:

Rotating text

Use the resize handles (the little squares) at the edges and corners of the rectangle to stretch, size and flip your text, the move handle in the middle of the object to move it around, and the rotate handle (the box connected to the centre move handle) to spin your text.

You can create perspective effects by dragging the corner handles with the Ctrl key held down. You can also skew the image by holding down the Shift key while dragging the edge handles. Enjoy!

Tip: Choosing a font

Choosing the right font can make the difference between a professional-looking website and an amateurish one. Make sure you don't use more than 2 or 3 fonts in a page, and be consistent in their usage. For example, if you use Arial for headings, don't create one heading using Times!

As a general rule, non-serif fonts such as Arial and Helvetica are great for large type, while serif fonts such as Times and Bookman are better when you have lots of small type (as in body text).

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