Chapter 9. Text Management

Table of Contents

1. Text Management
2. Text Tool Box
2.1. Text Tool Box Context menu
3. Text
3.1. Embellishing Text
3.2. Adding Fonts
3.3. Font Problems

1. Text Management

Text is managed with the Text tool. This tool creates a new layer containing the text, above the current layer in the layer dialog, with the size of the text box. Its name is the beginning of the text.

Figure 9.1. Example of a text item

Example of a text item

Example of a text item, showing the boundary of the text layer. (Font: Utopia Bold)

Example of a text item

The layer dialog, with the text layer above the layer which was current.

The Text tool is progressively improved. With GIMP-2.8, you can now edit text directly on canvas. A text tool box has been added which overlays the canvas above the text box.

As soon as you click on the canvas with the Text tool, you get a closed text box and a semi-transparent tool box just above.

Text tool options are described in Section 6.6, “Text”.

The default box mode is Dynamic, and you can start typing text at once. The text box will enlarge gradually. Press Enter to add a new line.

You can also enlarge the text box by click-and-dragging, as you do with selections. Note that box mode turns to "Fixed". You also have to press Enter to add a new line.

To edit text, you must, first, select the part you want to edit by click-and-drag, or Shift+arrow key and then use the options of the Section 2, “Text Tool Box”.

Instead of using the on-canvas text editing, you can use the text editor dialog described in Section 6.6.4, “Text Editor”.

You can move the text on the image using the Move tool: you must click on a character, not on the background.

You can get Unicode characters with Ctrl+Shift+U plus hexadecimal Unicode code of the desired char. Please see Section 6.6.4, “Text Editor”.

You can edit the text later, if the text layer still exists and has not been modified by another tool (see below): make the text layer active in theLayer dialog, select the Text tool and click on the text in the image window.

Managing Text Layer

You can operate on a text layer in the same ways as any other layer, but doing so often means giving up the ability to edit the text without losing the results of your work.

To understand some of the idiosyncrasies of text handling, it may help for you to realize that a text layer contains more information than the pixel data that you see: it also contains a representation of the text in a text-editor format. You can see this in the text-editor window that pops up while you are using the Text tool. Every time you alter the text, the image layer is redrawn to reflect your changes.

Now suppose you create a text layer, and then operate on it in some way that does not involve the Text tool: rotate it, for example. Suppose you then come back and try to edit it using the Text tool. As soon as you edit the text, the Text tool will redraw the layer, wiping out the results of the operations you performed in the meantime.

Because this danger is not obvious, the Text tool tries to protect you from it. If you operate on a text layer, and then later try to edit the text, a message pops up, warning you that your alterations will be undone, and giving you three options:

  • edit the text anyway;

  • cancel;

  • create a new text layer with the same text as the existing layer, leaving the existing layer unchanged.

Figure 9.2. Warning lose modifications

Warning lose modifications

Text Editing Context Menu

Figure 9.3. Text Editing Context Menu

Text Editing Context Menu

You get this menu by right-clicking on text. It is somewhat different from that of the Text Editor dialog.

  • Cut, Copy, Paste, Delete: these options concern a selected text. They remain grayed out as long as no text is selected. Paste is activated if the clipboard is full of text.

  • Open text file: this command opens a file browser where you can find the wanted text file.

  • Clear: this command deletes all the text, selected or not.

  • Path from text: this command creates a path from the outlines of the current text. The result is not evident. You have to open the Path dialog and make path visible. Then select the Path tool and click on the text. Every letter is now surrounded with a path component. So you can modify the shape of letters by moving path control points.

    This command is similar to LayerText to Path.

  • Text along path:

    This option is enabled only if a path exists. When your text is created, then create or import a path and make it active. If you create your path before the text, the path becomes invisible and you have to make it visible in the Path Dialog.

    This command is also available from the Layer menu:

    Figure 9.4.  The Text along Path command among text commands in the Layer menu

    The Text along Path command among text commands in the Layer menu

    This group of options appears only if a text layer exists.

    Click on the Text along Path button. The text is bent along the path. Letters are represented with their outline. Each of them is a component of the new path that appears in the Path dialog. All path options should apply to this new path.

    Figure 9.5. Text along Path example

    Text along Path example
    Text along Path example

  • From Left to Right / From Right to Left: fix the writing direction of your language.

  • Input Methods: methods are available for some languages. For example, selecting Inuktitut transforms your keyboard into an Inuktitut keyboard, temporarily.