Tutorials Photoshop Photoshop Basics Type Basics: Point Type and Area Type

Type Basics: Point Type and Area Type

Type in Photoshop is either point type or paragraph type. Point type is added to a document at a specific location (or point) in the image. In contrast, area type (also called paragraph type) fills a portion (or area) of the image.

Point type is often used for single lines of text, such as headlines, and paragraph type is used for large blocks of text. Note the difference between the highlighted point type (top) and the paragraph type container (bottom).
The area type bounding box can be re-sized by dragging any of the anchor points around the outside with the Type tool. When you re-size the bounding box, the text within "re-flows" to adjust to the new dimensions. On the other hand, if you use a Transform command with point type, the type is scaled.

Here are the primary differences between the two categories of type:
• Point type continues in a straight line unless you press the (Return) [Enter] key to insert a line break. Paragraph type automatically wraps to the next line when the text reaches the boundary of its box.
• The space occupied by point type continues to expand as more characters are added. Paragraph type is restricted to the designated rectangle; characters that don't fit in the rectangle are hidden.
• Point type is added from the specific spot in the image where the Type tool was clicked. Paragraph type is added from the top of the bounding box.
• To add point type, click with a Type tool. For paragraph type, drag with a Type tool to create a rectangle to fill with the type.
• Resizing the bounding box around point type scales the type. Resizing the container rectangle for paragraph type forces the text to reflow within the container; the type maintains its original size and proportion.

Consider point type to be similar to headlines in a newspaper or magazine. It typically occupies one line, but might require two or three lines. To add lines, type to the desired width, press (Return) [Enter] to move to the next line, and continue typing.

Paragraph type, on the other hand, can be compared to the body text of a newspaper or magazine. It flows from one line to the next, and if you go back to the beginning and add a word, the text repositions itself, automatically adjusting the line breaks.

Consider one of the major differences between a typewriter and a word processor. With a typewriter, you must be aware of the warning bell that indicates you've reached the end of a line, the edge of the paper. You then advance the paper, return to the left margin, and begin typing on the next line. With a word processor, you can continue typing and the text will automatically wrap from line to line.

With a typewriter, if you need to go back to the first line to add a word, the length of that line is thrown off. If it's a long word, you can't just erase the top line and retype it; you have to retype the entire paragraph. Adding a word to the opening line with a word processor simply moves all the text to the right and, if necessary, down to the next line – the text reflows.

Compare the pairs. Observe how adding a single word extends the point type past the acceptable boundary, but simply causes the paragraph type to reflow without affecting the width of the type container.


Pete Bauer

Pete Bauer is the Help Desk Director for NAPP, as well as a Contributing Writer for Photoshop User and Mac Design magazines. His books include "Special Edition Using Adobe Photoshop 7" (with Jeff Foster), "Special Edition Using Adobe Illustrator 10," "Sams Teach Yourself Adobe Illustrator 10 in 24 Hours" (with Mordy Golding), and "Special Edition Using Adobe Illustrator 9." Pete writes documentation for a variety of computer graphics related products, as well as testing software for a number of companies. As a computer graphics efficiency consultant, Pete specializes in customized training programs. He is based in Columbus, Ohio, and can be contacted via Email.

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