photoshop creative

How to use the Type Mask tools

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
June 27, 2012

They may not be Photoshop’s most talked about tools, but are useful for photo-inside-text effects

Type mask tool

Step 1 – Locate the tools

The Type Mask tool comes in two versions: Horizontal and Vertical. They are hidden under the normal Type tool. Just hold down the mouse button over the icon in the Toolbar to open up the additional options.

Step 2  – Set font size

Click once in your image to activate the tool. A coloured mask will appear to indicate that the tool is ready to use. Once active, set the size and font within the Options bar, using the flashing cursor to see how large the text will look.

Step 3 – Type over image

Type a word and see how the text reveals the image underneath. The mask is actually removed. Hit the tick in the Options bar to apply this text.

Step 4 – Mask image

When you hit apply, the text turns into a selection. To apply this as a mask to a locked Background layer, hold Opt/Alt and double-click over the layer to convert it to an editable one, and then click on the Add layer mask button.

Step 5 – Move layers

At the moment, the layer pixels are locked with the mask. Click on the chain symbol between them and then use the Move tool to either reposition the text or the image, depending on which thumbnail is selected.


  • g maxwell

    Great suggestion on using masks – but you neglected to show a few simple (or complex) instructions that would bring a great deal of meaning to this suggestion! If you know how to do this (and a skilled photoshop user would, and would not probably need these mask comments) then he would most probably be bored (and not lost) with this explanation!

  • Simon Skellon

    Cheers for the feedback – as you can see, this particular tutorial is aimed at the complete beginner and not skilled Photoshop users. I look to include tutorials for all abilities throughout the Photoshop Creative blog. Hope you enjoy reading the posts

  • Thanks, easy to follow your tutorial about image masking technique.

  • simple and easy. thank you so much. keep posting new tips

  • If you just want to “dig through” a layer with a text layer, you can use this technique instead (much simpler than using masks):

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  • What a great idea to enhance photography with Beauty of Photography. Like it most . Keep it up. Thanks