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How To Add an Outline to Type with Layer Effects in Photoshop

How to Use the Stroke Effect to Outline Objects


Outline Text in Photoshop

How to Add an Outline in Photoshop

© Sue Chastain

There are several ways to create outlined text in Photoshop, but in older versions of Photoshop you had to render the text or recreate the outline if the text was changed. In Photoshop 6.0 and later we have the stroke layer style which offers a great deal of flexibility. In Photoshop lingo, "stroke" is just another way to say "outline."

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 2 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Select the type tool and create your text.
  2. At the bottom of the layers palette, click the 'Add a layer style' button and choose 'Stroke...' from the menu.
  3. Click the Color swatch and choose a color for the outline. Or you may choose a gradient or pattern for the outline from the fill type menu.
  4. Adjust the size of the stroke using the slider at the top of the dialog box.
  5. Choose outside, inside, or center from the position menu to control where you want the outline in relation to the layer content.
  6. If you expect to use these settings again, click 'New Style' and give the settings a name.
  7. Click OK to exit the layer style dialog.


  1. You may need to adjust kerning or tracking after adding an outline to the outside of your type. You can do this from the Character palette in Photoshop.
  2. For a ragged outline, set the Blend Mode to Dissolve and lower the opacity in the Layer Styles dialog.
  3. You can apply a 3D bevel effect to only the outline by using the 'Bevel and Emboss' layer style with the 'Stroke Emboss' effect style. Experiment with it.

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