How to Add Text to a Picture

If you'd like to create your own poster, postcard, Internet meme, or cute caption for a family photo album, you'll first need to learn how to add text to a picture. With today's streamlined programs, mobile apps, and social networks, it only takes a few seconds to type on an image. Depending on how particular you are about fonts and other text-based effects, you may need to use a professional photo editor, but for most users, there are plenty of free options out there. Below, we've outlined a few easy approaches for adding text.


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Using Shutterstock Editor

  1. With Shutterstock’s new Editor tool, quick photo customization has never been easier. Before downloading a stock image, select "Custom Size" and click "Edit Image".

  2. Once you're in Editor, click on the "Text" icon where you will be given the option to "Add headline", "Add subheadline", or "Add body text". You will be able to drag the text box and place it anywhere you like on the image, as well as adjust the color, font, and size of the text with the tool bar on top.

  3. When you are ready, click on "Download" at the top right corner to download the edited image with the added text. 


Using Paint (Windows) or Preview (Mac)

  1. Preview is bundled with every version of OS X, and it's great for viewing and editing image files. However, many Mac users don't know that the software can also be used to add text onto images. To do this, first open the image file in Preview. Then, click on the "Show Edit Toolbar" icon near the top of the program window. Depending on your version of Preview, this icon will either look like a toolbox or a pencil.

  2. When you’re ready to type, click on the “A” icon (a.k.a. the Text button) in Paint or the “Markup Toolbar” button (it looks like a tool chest) in Preview. The latter will open a new row of editing icons, including a “T” for text.

  3. In Paint, click and drag to create a new text box. These boundaries will hold any text you type, but if the box is too small, not all of the text will be visible. You can always adjust the box’s size after typing. In Preview, clicking on the “T” icon will automatically create a text box with the word “Text” inside, which you can replace with any words you like.

  4. After typing your text and tweaking the box’s size, you can adjust the text size, font, and color. Make sure to choose fonts and colors that are easy to read. Depending on the project, you may want to make the text bold, underlined, or italicized.

  5. In Preview, you can change the font by clicking on the "Fonts & Font Size" tool (it looks like a capital "A"). This will open the Font panel, which has a huge collection of fonts and typeface options. Meanwhile, if you'd like to change the text color, just click on the rectangular icon called "Fill Color". 

  6. ​When you’re happy with how the text looks, click outside of the text box to confirm your changes. Then, click the Save button to save the image file. We recommend that you come up with a different file name, so that you save a new version and keep the sans-text image as well. 


Using Microsoft Word

  1. Word allows you to quickly insert images into a document, add text and Word Art, and then save your project in a number of file formats. First, you’ll need to place an image on the blank page — either by clicking “Photo” under the Insert menu, or dragging an image onto the document.

  2. Next, go back to the Insert menu and choose “Text Box” to create a new text field. There’s also a Text Box icon at the top right of the toolbar. It’s easier to type (or paste) the text you need first, and then handle the formatting afterwards.

  3. To ensure that your text box is transparent, select “No Fill” from the Shape Fill icon (a.k.a. the tilted paint can) and “No Outline” from the Shape Outline icon (a.k.a. the pencil). Now, you can tweak all of the other text options — including colors, fonts, effects, and box alignment — from the Format tab. 


Using Facebook

  1. The world's most popular social network has made it easy to add text to images. If you're using a computer, click "Add Photos/Videos" at the top of your News Feed, and then select your desired image. It will now appear as a thumbnail, and if you hover your cursor over it, you'll see two icons. Click on the one that looks like a paintbrush, called "Edit Photo". 

  2. A new editing window will appear, allowing you to add special filters, stickers, tags, and text. Select the "Text" option, and then click "Add Text" to create a text box on your image. Change the default color by clicking anywhere on the color box, and then play around with the other icons to move, rotate, and enlarge your text. When you're happy with how it looks, click "Save" to upload the edited picture.

  3. If you ever need a personal copy of the image file, you can always download it from your profile. Click on the image within your Photos page, and then hover your cursor over it to display a toolbar at the bottom. Click on "Options" and then "Download" to send a copy to your desktop.

Using Mobile Apps
Finally, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of smartphone apps for beautifying your images, and most of them allow you to add stylish typography with a few swipes. At present, some of the best free options include Phonto (available for iOS and Android), Over (iOS and Android), and Typic (iOS only). 

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