How to curve text in Adobe Photoshop.

Controlling the position and behavior of text is a key graphic design skill. Learn to curve, reverse, and warp text.

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The word chaos is warped into waves and doubled on itself in a white opaque layer with text icon overlaid


Text controls that let you take the wheel.

Learning to control text within designs can give a big boost to both the look and flow of your projects. Photoshop gives you the tools you need to expand your creative horizons.
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Curve text without distorting it.

You can use the Photoshop Curved Path method to curve and shape text without distorting it. Until you finalize it, it will stay crisp, clean, and curlicue-d.

Warp and distort too.

If getting warped with curved text is more your speed, you can distort and skew it to match your artistic vision. With the Warp tool, text is yours to control.

The text London is stacked on itself four times in generic font and distorted with Warp tool icon overlaid
An ellipse tool is used in Adobe Photoshop to create a circular logo with curved text with icon overlaid

Unlock the power of ellipses.

Ovals are powerful shapes, and Photoshop gives you the ability to create and snap your text to their curves with the Ellipse tool, Elliptical Marquee selection, and the Curvature Pen tool.

Any font, any time.

With access to Adobe Fonts included in an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, you have the option to use, modify, and curve any font to your liking.

A grid of four graphic designs highlight the many font possibilities available with Adobe Font

How to create a curved line of text in Photoshop.

Using the Pen tool, you can create text that follows any type of curved line you create.

  • Pen it:
    Select the Curvature Pen tool in the side toolbar, and make sure Path is selected in the options bar up top.
  • Draw it:
    Draw your line by creating individual points with your cursor in the shape of the curve you want to make.
  • Grab it:
    Click and drag one of the anchor points along your path to perfect the bend, arc, or curvature that you want.
  • Type it:
    Select the Horizontal Type tool, and hover over the path you created until you see the cursor change to a squiggly line and click it.
  • Write it:
    Type out your text, and adjust color and size to your liking.

Why curve or warp text?

Whether you're just starting to learn the ropes of graphic design or you’re an experienced professional, there are plenty of reasons to curve text.
A bright pink-and-orange text graphic for social media is created using Adobe Photoshop

Creative social graphics.

Perfectly aligned text is great for many designs. But sometimes you need to add in that human touch. Manipulating text makes your posters, social posts, and brochures more memorable.

Take advantage of space.

You’re not going to be able to fit horizontal text into every type of design, so sometimes you’ll need to go vertical, curved, or even upside down to squeeze it in. Paths let you use every part of your space.

The title design of a space-themed poster is modified in Adobe Photoshop with icon overlaid
The middle section of the word chaos is curved in one direction as if an object has flown through it

Tell a story.

The meaning of the words you use tells one story, but their arrangement tells another. Curving, reversing, and changing the way you read text can alter how your audience encounters it.

Shape up.

With the freedom of the Pen tool, you’re not limited to the geometric circles of the ellipses. You can create paths of any shape and size to breathe life into your designs.

The Pen tool is used in Adobe Photoshop to shape ribbons of text for Pride with icon overlaid


Discover other text effects.

Try out different techniques and text tools with these helpful Photoshop tutorials.

Cover page for the principles of font highlight different possible fonts

Font essentials.

Learn five important principles of working with fonts.

Understand your fonts

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Enhance your photos with text.

Learn to add photos to text and how to make fine-tuned edits as needed.

Add text to your photos

Frequently asked questions.

How do I curve text in Photoshop on an iPad?
Full control over the editing of Smart Objects and text curves isn’t supported on the iPad currently — but you can open cloud documents with Smart Objects created on the iPad and edit them there.
Is there a shortcut key to curve text in Photoshop?
You can press P to activate the Pen tool to create simple curved text in Photoshop. For more control over the direction of the text, you can use the Warp Text command (CTRL/CMD + T) or the Liquify filter. Free Transform mode allows you to select the desired style and press the enter key to apply changes.
How do I curve text in Photoshop without distortion?
Highlight the curved text to select. Then, look at the Properties section of the text layer and locate the VA icon. Adjust this to meet your preferences or until there’s no more distortion.
What is the difference between warped and curved text in Photoshop?
Warping text in Photoshop conforms it to a shape, most often an arc or wave. Curved text bends the line of text around a set path.
Can I curve text in Photoshop using the Smart Object tool?

The Smart Object tool is a fantastic way to create curved text. Open the project and type your text. Select the text layer and navigate to Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object. Make sure the layer is still selected. Then navigate to Edit > Transform > Warp.

Once the grid appears over the text, you can click and drag to manipulate it. There are also options in the Warp dropdown for placing your text along an Arc.