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Using the New Text Styles in Photoshop CS6

So Photoshop has never been the greatest place to work with text, in comparison to say InDesign or Illustrator for example. That's not so say that working with text in Photoshop is not a key feature for any designer. Well in Photoshop CS6 working with text has improved just that little bit more. I say a little bit, truth is the addition of Text Styles in Photoshop could potentially be a giant leap for some of you out there. 

In this article I am going to look at one particular workflow involving Text Styles, a concept design for a web page. However you should find you are able to utilize these methods on any design work you are doing, TV Graphics, Posters, Cover Design, the lot.


Step 1 - Create a New Document

Press Command-N or choose File > New and create a page using a web preset of 1152 x 864 pixels.

web preset


Here we will create our concept page to these dimensions.


Step 2 - Create a Paragraph Style

The key benefit of text styles is to enable fast and consistent design that is easily edited throughout a document (often referred to as Globally). On a Web page, body is a Tag class that can be applied to all basic text on a site using CSS. To replicate this workflow in Photoshop we are going to create a Paragraph Style. 

Styles Panel “body”


Open the new Paragraph Styles panel in Photoshop and click on the Create New Style icon at the bottom. 


Step 3 - Format the Style “Body”

Double-click on the new style to open its options and name it “Body”.

Body Format


Use the settings to create a basic text style for the web page, keep it simple though. TIP: when you are selecting a color for the text, activate the Only Web Colors checkbox. 


Step 4 - Create a Style H1

Unlike InDesign, the styles in Photoshop don’t have a “based on” feature that allows styles to be embedded into other styles. So to save time creating a Heading 1 style from scratch, duplicate the Body style by clicking on the Paragraph Style Options menu and selecting Duplicate Style.

Duplicate Style


Change the name of the style to “H1” and keeping most of the settings the same, increase the font size and change the font style to Bold. If you wish, repeat this step and create another style named “H2”, set the font size for this style somewhere between Body and H1.  


Step 5 - Create some Character Styles

Paragraph Styles are great for formatting large blocks of text, or multi-word headings in one click, but they do not allow the formatting of individual characters, words or part sentences. For those we need to use Character Styles. 

Character Style Options


Open the Character Style panel and click on the create new style icon. Double-click on the new style and name it “Link”. This will be used to highlight individual words or sentences that would be HTML links (traditionally blue underlined text). Set the styles parameters to your own design. You might also find it useful to duplicate and modify this style and name it “Active” so the active link is highlighted in your design. 


Step 6 - Design your Page Concept

Create the concept image for your web page, including text, images, buttons etc. 

Unformatted page


Don’t worry about how the text looks for now, the styles we created will take care of that next. Just focus on the layout and artwork.


Step 7 - Apply Styles

Start by selecting all the body text on the page, TIP: Double-click on the text layers thumbnail. Then open the Paragraph Styles panel and select the style named Body to apply that style to the text. Do the same for the H1 and H2 text. 

Formatted page


To apply the Character Styles, select only the word or words that should be links and click on the Link style in the Character Style panel to apply the style. The page will start to look as you intended. TIP: If any of the styles aren’t quite what you want, double-click on the style name and modify its parameters. All instances of the style on the page will update immediately, making modifications much more efficient. 


Step 8 - Share the Style

Save the page as Concept Page 1 and then create another, File > New or Command-N. The style panels will reset to their default. It’s imperative for your design that this second web page uses the same text styles as the first. 

Shared styles


Both styles can be loaded from other documents in Photoshop CS6 by clicking on the relevant style panels options menu and choosing Load Paragraph/Character Styles. Navigate to the .PSD file named Concept Page 1 and select it. The styles for that panel will be imported ready for use on this page.  

This use of styles is really quite a useful step forward for Photoshop in CS6. OK so it’s not as complete as the options available in InDesign, however it’s a workflow improvement that is bound to make a difference to you sometime in the future.


David Smith

David Smith | Articles by this author

David Smith is Scotland's most qualified Apple and Adobe certified trainer. Having completed his education at Edinburgh College of Art's BAFTA winning Film School, David moved straight into TV production, first as a Vision Mixer then quickly becoming, at the age of just 24, a director of live TV studio productions. In 2001 he moved into Higher Education where he became a lecturer in TV Production, specializing in post-production and live studio production. During this time, and working with the support of the BBC, Channel 4 and independent production companies, David was instrumental in the design, development and implementation of industry-approved vocational courses across Scotland's Colleges. In 2006, after working closely with Apple Computers to create a unique multimedia studio for education at the Music and Media Centre in Perth, David became Scotland's first Apple-Certified Trainer for Pro Apps. This led on to David forming the first Apple Authorized Training Centre for Education, north of Manchester. In 2008 David made the move to full time training and joined the ranks at Academy Class, Ltd. where he continues to train industry professionals as a certified trainer across the Adobe Creative Suite and Apple Pro Apps range.

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