How To Create Circular Text in Photoshop

Last week I was at the zoo with my daughter and took this photo of her (and her kitty in the backpack!) watching the sea otters.

Circular Text in Photoshop - Birdwing Paper Designs

The circular viewing window gave me an idea for a layout that would require journalling written in the shape of a circle.  I don’t write text on a shape very often so I had to do some research on how to do it in Photoshop.  I decided the best way to remember how to do this for next time would be to write a tutorial about it!

So here it is… a Photoshop tutorial for creating circular text, or really text of any shape, and modifying it to work with any project.

(NOTE:  This tutorial was done using Adobe Photoshop CC.)

1. Right click on the Custom Shape Tool and select the Ellipse Tool from the drop down menu.

2. Most of the time, for me anyway, the tool mode is in Shape, but for this purpose change it to Path.

3. On the document, click and drag to create an ellipse path.  Hold the SHIFT key at the same time to make a perfect circle.

Circular Text in Photoshop - Birdwing Paper Designs

4. Now we can start adding the text to the path by selecting the Horizontal Type Tool.

5. I find it easier to add the text to a shape when the text is aligned to the left, so choose that option from the Paragraph menu if you want.  (If you don’t have a Paragraph menu opened yet, it can be found in the top menu bar under Window.)

6. Since the left align text is chosen, where ever you click on the circle will be the starting point of the text.  By default, the text will be on the outside of the path going in a clockwise direction.  (If you had chosen to center align the text, then the text will be centered on that initial starting point – which is fine too.)

Circular Text in Photoshop - Birdwing Paper Designs

Now, start writing the text:

Circular Text in Photoshop - Birdwing Paper Designs

But what if you decide to move and resize the text so it is layered on top of the photo?

7. Select the text layer in the layers panel.

8. Use the Move Tool to change the size of the circle the text is on (will also change the font size of the text) and to rotate the text along the path.

9. If necessary, change the font size, spacing, and colour in the Character menu.

Circular Text in Photoshop - Birdwing Paper Designs

Quite often I want the text at the bottom of the circle and need to flip the text so it is not upside down.  To do this, use the Path Selection Tool.

10. Choose the Path Selection Tool.

11. Drag the dot on the path to the inside of the circle to flip the text.

Circular Text in Photoshop - Birdwing Paper Designs

Earlier I rotated the text along the path using the Move Tool, but this time it will be rotated using the Path Selection Tool. The text path will have a dot and an “X” on it.  (They will both be in the same position until moved, as shown above.)

(NOTE:  The photo is hidden for this part of the tutorial so the dot and the “X” can be more easily seen.)

To move the text, click on the “X” and rotate it around the path as needed.  (The “X” represents the beginning of the text, while the dot will be the end of the text.) 

Circular Text in Photoshop - Birdwing Paper Designs

That is all there is to it!  Now you should be a pro at creating text on a circle, or any other shape for that matter.

Here is the finished layout that was the inspiration for this post:

Love the Zoo - Birdwing Paper Designs

This layout has one circle text for the journalling and another one flipped for the “Zoo” title.  (Digital elements from One Little Bird Designs, Simply Tiffany Studios, and Birdwing Paper Designs.)

While I was on a roll with the circular text, I decided to design some loot bag tags for Casey’s birthday:Oilers Birthday Tags - Birdwing Paper Designs


I hope this tutorial has been helpful and that you are now inspired to create some text on a shape!









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