Revision Date: 27 August 2015

Text Tool Text Tool

This tool allows text to be typed onto the current layer using the Primary color.

The Text Controls in the Tool Bar can be used to change the font, the size of the font, formatting, text rendering mode, justification, antialiasing and blend mode.

In a change from 3.5x, Fill Styles for the Text Tool are no longer supported.

Text options Text Controls

Change the color of the text by changing the Primary color in the Colors Window.

While typing, notice the presence of a pulsing four-way arrow icon below and to the right of the blinking text cursor.  This is called a control nub. It is used to move the text before it is "finished". Click and drag the nub to move the text while it is still active.


Tap the Ctrl key to hide the nub. Tap Ctrl again to restore it.
Hold down the Ctrl key to make both the nub and cursor disappear.  They will reappear when the Ctrl key is released.

When text is complete, press the Esc key or click Finish in the Tool Bar to render the text to the layer.


When text is rendered to the layer it no longer exists as text characters, but only as pixels.  This means text cannot be re-edited using the Text tool once it is committed to the layer.

Text Tool Options

Text Options Text Tool Bar Options

The first two controls in the Tool Bar determine the font to be used to render text and the size of the characters (shown here as 20pt).  Change the Font or Size by selecting another entry in the drop down lists.  In the case of the Size, a new value can be typed directly into the text box.  Note that the Size will support values in between integers like 18.3pt.

Text Formatting

There are four basic formatting options for text: Bold, Italic, Underline & Strikeout.  These options can be enabled or disabled via the icons in the Tool Bar when the Text tool is active.

Text Formatting Text Formatting Options

The formatting options can be combined by selecting multiple options simultaneously.

Text Rendering Modes

There are three text rendering modes: Smooth, Sharp (Modern) & Sharp (Classic). These correspond to DirectWrite rendering modes of Outline, ClearType Natural Symmetric, and GDI Classic, respectively.  The rendering mode can be selected from the Tool Bar when the Text tool is active.

Text Rendering Modes Text Rendering Modes

Text Justification

Justification can be explained as the direction that typed text will extend away from the initial cursor position. There are three justification options:

 Align Left: Aligns the text to the left. Text will extend to the right of the initial cursor position.

 Center Align: Aligns the text centrally. Text will extend equally to the right and left of the initial cursor position.

 Align Right: Aligns the text to the right. Text will extend to the left of the initial cursor position.

Text Justification Text Justification

The type of justification can be selected using the icons in the Tool Bar when the Text tool is active.


There are two antialiasing modes associated with the Text tool. These dictate whether the text is rendered in a clip-to-pixel mode or not.

Text Antialiasing Modes Text Antialiasing Modes

When Antialiasing is enabled, the characters appear smoother, fatter and softer (upper example).

When Antialiasing is disabled, characters are rendered in solid pixels and appear more jagged and thinner (lower example).

Antialiasing can be switched on or off via the Tool Bar when the Text tool is active.


We recommend always placing text on it's own transparent layer. If text needs to be edited, the layer can be erased and the text retyped.
The layer name makes a good place to store the font name, size and formatting used.


Text tool supports colored fonts (e.g. Segoe UI Emoji) on Windows 8.1.