How to Fill Text with an Image in Photoshop

Filling text with an image in Photoshop is a fun way to add a cool effect as well as reinforce your message. Visuals are a fantastic way to grab people’s attention and help them remember what they’ve read. Imagine how effective this becomes when you put the visual right in the word!

Hey there! I’m Cara and creating cool stuff in Photoshop is my jam. I love how the program gives us creatives seemingly endless possibilities for creating amazing designs. 

Today, let me show you how to fill the text with an image in Photoshop. It’s super easy, yet looks super complicated. I promise your friends will be amazed by your Photoshop skills!

Let’s get started!

Note: I took these screenshots from the Windows version of Photoshop CC. If you working with a Mac you will find that the workspace looks a little different.

4 Essential Steps to Fill Text With an Image in Photoshop 

This effect won’t work with all fonts. Imagine putting a photo in a thin-wispy font. Other than perhaps changing the color, you wouldn’t see much of an effect at all. So choose a font that has a higher weight. In other words, bold font will allow your image to peek through. 

Step 1: Add text and choose a font

Open a new document in Photoshop and choose the Text tool from the toolbar on the left. Add text to your document. 

Up in the Options bar, click the dropdown to open your font options and choose the font you want.

Click on the document and write the text in the text box that appears. Hold down the Ctrl or Command key while clicking and dragging on the corners of the text box to resize the text. To reposition the text, hold Ctrl or Command while clicking and dragging on the text itself. 

Note: You can go back and change the font anytime you like, even after you’ve applied the image. So don’t worry about picking the perfect font at this stage. You can always try different fonts later to find the one you like best. 

Step 2: Add the image

Now, let’s add the image to Photoshop. I downloaded this image to use in this example piece. 

We need to add an image to the project on its own layer. There are a few different ways to do this. You can use your preferred method or go to File in the menu bar and choose Place Embedded. 

Navigate to your image and click Place.

The image will appear as a new layer on top of your project. 

It appears with the Transform tool active so you can use this opportunity to grab the corners and resize if you already have an idea of where you want the image to be. Otherwise, press Enter or Return to accept changes and deactivate the transform tool

Step 3: Add a Clipping Mask

Now here comes the super complicated part that will have you pulling your hair out but makes this effect possible.

I’m totally kidding! We are going to magically watch the effect applied, but it literally couldn’t be any easier. 

We’re going to use a clipping mask to attach the image to the font. When we do this, the image automatically fills the font and looks super cool. 

To add the clipping mask, hold down the Alt or Option key while hovering over the line between the image and text layers in the Layers panel. Your cursor will turn into a little box with an arrow. Click to clip the image to the text. 

Another way to get to the clipping mask is to right-click on the image layer. Choose Create Clipping Mask from the menu that appears.

However you get there, this is what you should end up with. Voila!

Step 4: Make Adjustments

Now that you can see what you’re dealing with, it’s easier to make adjustments. 

With the image layer highlighted in the Layers panel, you can press Ctrl + T or Command + T to activate the transform tool. Then you can easily reposition or resize the image and see the changes in real time.

You may want to make the image smaller so more details are visible. However, it may not be wide enough to fill the whole text. To fix this problem, you can duplicate the image by hitting Ctrl + J or Command + J while the image layer is active. 

Clip the second image to the text layer as well and resize and reposition both images as needed. 

If you want to try out different fonts, click the text layer in the Layers panel.

Then go up to the Options bar and scroll through the fonts. As you hover over a font, you’ll get an instant preview in the workspace so you can easily see how the effect will look. 

Play with it until you find what works for your project and boom! You’ve got a cool, image-filled bit of text!

Bet you didn’t know it was so easy to create something so cool, right? Check out more of our tutorials to learn more, such as how to make text transparent in Photoshop!

About Cara Koch
Cara fell in love with photography circa 2014 and has been exploring all corners of the imagery world ever since. When she felt limited by Lightroom, she dove headfirst into Photoshop to learn how to create the images she wanted.

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