A graphic design with a colorful background featuring the word "BOLD" with a semi-opaque white fill and a yellow outline.


How to outline text in Adobe Photoshop.

Learn how to make your words more legible by adding an outline to your text.

What does it mean to outline text in Photoshop?

Typography designers put long hours into fine-tuning the appearance and profile of every font they create, and applying an outline to text can disrupt the designer’s intended aesthetic. But if you want to give a text effect an opaque backing that’s similar to a drop shadow while providing a little extra weight for artistic purposes, read on to see how you can outline the text in your image.

A graphic design featuring a cartoon character and the words "HAVE A NICE DAY" with a pink fill and a purple outline.

Make your text stand out.

Want to be sure your words make an impact? Add a colorful outline so they catch the reader’s eye.

A graphic design of a record album cover. One of the words on the album cover, "FORT," has a transparent fill and a white outline.

Add a sense of style.

The right outline can help your text blend with the creative style you’re using for the rest of your image.

How to outline text in Photoshop.

There are multiple methods to apply a text outline to your image.

1. Select it:

Select the layer you want to add text to or create a new layer. Then select the Type tool from the toolbar on the right side of the screen.

2. Write it:

Click anywhere on the screen and type in the text you want to write.

3. Layer it:

Open the Layer Style menu by clicking the FX icon or double-clicking the side of your layer. Then click the checkbox next to the Stroke option.

4. Adjust it:

From the Stroke menu you can adjust sliders to control the dimensions of your stroke layer. The Size option controls the outline’s thickness, while Position determines where the outline is in relation to the text.

5. Color it:

You can use the Color Picker to alter the color of your outline and choose from different options on the Blend Mode drop-down menu to control how the outline colors mix and fade with the rest of the image.

6. Fill it:

If you want to fill your outline with something other than a solid color, access the Fill Type drop-down menu and choose between Gradient (which creates a gradual transition between two colors) and Pattern (which offers a variety of repeated textures and graphics).

7. Apply it:

Click OK to apply your changes.

A graphic design with a colorful background featuring the word "FLOAT" that has a transparent fill and a white outline. Settings shown include Size, Position, Blend Mode, Opacity, and Overprint.

How to outline text as a vector.

You can also create an outline for your text by converting the text into a vector shape. This will give you more options to customize the shape of your outline, but will make it more difficult to edit the text later.

1. Convert it:

Once you’re sure your text is finalized, use the Text tool to create a text layer, then right-click it and select Convert to Shape.

2. Vector it:

From the toolbar on the right, select any of the vector tools to enable vector points on the text.

3. Modify it:

On the top menu, choose from options like Fill Color and Stroke Options to alter the appearance of your text’s outline.

4. Apply it:

Click OK to apply your changes.

How to outline text without fill.

If you want your outlined text to have a lighter look, reduce the fill to scale down the opacity of the letters themselves while preserving the outline. From the Layer Styles menu, just select Stroke › Blending Options and then drag the Fill Opacity slider to the left to reduce the letters’ opacity.

To achieve the same effect with a vector outline, access the Layer Style window and click the checkbox next to Stroke. Then click the Fill icon from the top menu and select the No Fill icon — a white box with a slanted red line through it.

A two-layered image. The background layer is an image of a person sitting in a chair. The top layer is the words "NEW ARRIVAL" with a white outline. Settings shown include Fill and Stroke.  How-to-outline-text-in-photoshop_P5_720x522.jpg
Adobe Photoshop

Do more with Adobe Photoshop.

Explore additional Photoshop features.

Now that you’ve customized your text, read up on tutorials to see what else Photoshop can do.

An example of an image with a replaced background.

Replace a product background.

Learn how to separate an object from its original backdrop and add a new one.

An example of a composite image. An image of a person and an image of a village have been combined.

Create a composite.

Use masking tools in Photoshop to combine elements from multiple images.

Frequently asked questions.

There’s no shortcut key for outlining text in Photoshop, but the actual process is easy. Simply select your text and turn it into an adjustable layer by clicking the FX icon or double-clicking the side of the layer. You can then use the Stroke menu to adjust the sliders that control dimensions. Pick colors with the Color Picker or fill it with the Fill Type drop-down.


You can also outline text by converting it into a vector shape. This gives more customization options but, at the same time, makes it a bit harder to edit the text later. After finalizing your text, use the Text tool to create a layer and right-click it to Convert to Shape.

You can — after adding your text and turning it into an outline via the instructions above, you can add a stroke layer effect. Once that’s done, click the plus sign ( + ) next to the Stroke effect on the left side of the Layer Style box. A second stroke appears above the first one. You may add up to 10 strokes.


After adding your strokes, you’ll want to change the position, the opacity, or the color.

Yes, you can add an outline to text in Photoshop. This can be done using the "Stroke" layer style, which adds a stroke (outline) to the outside of the text. You can adjust the size, color, and position of the stroke to suit your needs. To apply a stroke, select the text layer in the Layers panel, then go to Layer > Layer Style > Stroke. You can also access this option by right-clicking on the text layer and choosing "Layer Style > Stroke." This feature works with any font in Photoshop.

Unfortunately, it isn’t currently possible to outline text using Photoshop on the iPad. You can only customize text by changing fonts, opacity, etc. You can, however, save this file in the cloud and outline the text on another device. 

It’s possible to outline shapes using the Layer Style menu. Other methods for outlining shapes include the eraser tool to create white space around the edge of the shape, or the Pen tool to click around the edge of the shape to create paths. You may then use the stroke command to stroke that path with your preferred color(s). 

Find the Creative Cloud plan that's right for you.

Adobe Photoshop Single App

Get Photoshop on desktop and iPad as part of Creative Cloud.
Learn more

Creative Cloud All Apps


Get 20+ Creative Cloud apps, including Photoshop on desktop and iPad.
See what's included | Learn more

Students and teachers


Save over 60% on Creative Cloud All Apps.
See terms | Learn more

Purchase by phone: 800-585-0774