How to outline text in GIMP or Photoshop

Recently, a friend approached me to assist with a logo for his website. His previous designer had created this friend’s logo with an outline of the text. This is what I found for adding the outline using GIMP or Photoshop.

This tutorial assumes you know the basics such as layers, text tool, paint bucket and working with selections.

Photoshop solution

  1. In the area you want text to appear use the Text tool and create the text you wish to outline. Screen capture of Photoshop image with Text Layer 'Your Logo'.
  2. Move your mouse over to the Layers panel and click on the text layer to make sure it is the layer selected. Then, execute the combination on Ctrl-Click, Click being the left mouse button. Screen capture of layers panel in Photoshop showing text layer chosen.This will select all of your text. Screen capture of selected text.
  3. Move your mouse to the menu and choose Select > Modify > Expand Screen shot of chosen path outlined to expand selection.
  4. This will bring up the dialog to specify how many pixels to expand the selection. For this example, we’ll specify 2 pixels Screen shot of Photoshop Expand Selection dialog box.
  5. From the Toolbar, choose the Paint Bucket tool and select a foreground colour. For this example, I chose red. Screen shot of Photoshop tool bar hovering over Paint Bucket Tool
  6. This next step is important to understand. Up to this point, it was possible to resize the text. Clicking the area selected to fill-in with the chosen outline colour, you will be prompted to convert the text to a rasterized layer. This means the text will no longer be text and as such can not be edited. Photoshop dialog box showing this step can not be reveresed. Ok or Canel Click OK to proceed.
  7. Using the Paint Bucket tool, fill-in the gaps between the black and the expanded selections. For letters like R and O, don’t forget to fill-in inner areas. Screen shot of partially completed logo showing black letters outlined in red
  8. Save your work.

GIMP solution

  1. In the area you want text to appear use the Text tool and create the text you wish to outline. Screen capture of GIMP image with Text Layer 'Your Logo.
  2. Once your text is complete, return to the Toolbox panel and click on Path from Text. Screen capture of GIMP Toolbox with 'Path from Text' circled in red
  3. Move your mouse pointer to the Select menu and choose From path Screen capture of GIMP menu item 'From Path' This will select your text. Screen capture of GIMP image showing text selected
  4. Click on the Select menu once more and chose Grow… Screen capture of GIMP menu showing Select > Grow
  5. For this example, grow the selection by 2 pixels. Click OK. Screen capture of GIMP dialog box to increase pixels by 2
  6. From the Toolbox menu, choose the Bucket Fill Tool and a foreground colour. For this example, red was chosen. Screen shot of GIMP Toolbox hovering over Bucket Fill Tool
  7. Using the Paint Bucket tool, fill-in the gaps between the black and the expanded selections. For letters like R and O, don’t forget to fill-in inner areas. Screen shot of partially completed logo showing black letters outlined in red
  8. Save your work.

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