How to Outline Text

Posted by kasrak
Created Jan 1, 2007
Category Tips & Tricks
Views 289,061
Favourites 6  


A quick an easy way to add an outline to any text.




Step 1 Open up the GIMP if it's already not open and create a new file. The defaults are ok for the purposes of this tutorial.

Step 2 Now using the text tool (Shortcut: T), add some text to your canvas. I didn't make the color of the text have too much contrast with the color of the background. We'll make the text stand out by giving it a dark outline.

Step 3 While the text tool is still selected, select the text you just created. Next, go into tool options and click "Create Path from Text":

Step 4 Now create a transparent layer under your text layer. I called it "Outline":

Step 5 Then go to Select > From Path (Shortcut: Shift+V):

Step 6 Next, go to Select > Grow and select the width of your outline. I chose 5px. After you have grown the selection, fill it with the bucket tool (Shortcut: Shift+B). Then press Ctrl+Shift+A to Select None and there you have it: outlined text!

24 Comments

  1. Aug 16, 2007, GimpUserJazmine said:

    thanks ive been trying to find out how to outline

  2. Nov 21, 2007, piminger said:

    Are you serious? 6 steps to outline text?

  3. Jan 27, 2009, mamboze said:

    Since nobody else has thought to ask the obvious question, I will.

    How would you do it then? Why not enlighten us?

  4. Apr 13, 2009, relsqui said:

    After you create the path from text, go to the paths window, right-click the text outline, and select "stroke path." Done in four steps.

  5. Aug 15, 2009, AiYume said:

    I just finished trying both methods. And perhaps it was the font I was using, but I got slightly different results. The original method looks nicer to me by placing the outline behind the original text. The 4-step method creates an effect over the text. It looks interesting and will have applications for some people, but it didn't give me what I was looking for.

  6. Sep 11, 2009, tenebrae said:

    Fabulous tut! This worked flawlessly save for one issue I had with v:2.6.6. For the record, I'm not sure if it's something with the version or if perhaps I'm missing something but what's happening is the layer remains above the text after choosing "select>none". A simple solution however was to select the text the layer belongs to then go to Layer > Stack > Raise Layer. The pathing may vary for different versions of the software.

    Thanks again for the tut!

  7. Sep 15, 2009, goodtimesathome said:

    thanks for the tutorial. i accidentally closed a window and now can't seem to be able to find it. The image under step 3 above is the screen i've managed to make disappear. It is the one with the different font options and the 'create path from text' button. how can i get that back? thanks!!

  8. Dec 6, 2009, CandyKane said:

    great tutorial now if i can do it in neon colors :)

  9. Apr 29, 2010, thorne51 said:

    @goodtimesathome go to Windows -> Dockable Dialogs -> Tool Options

    @CandyKane try drop shadow with no offset in your favorite neon color :)

  10. Apr 29, 2010, thorne51 said:

    @CandyKane try out this tut: http://gimpology.com/submission/view/super_glowy_rainbow_text_effect/

  11. Oct 21, 2010, GLyonsks said:

    I'm running AutoCAD 2010 and in trying to follow these directions my boxes and tool files are not same. Do you have a process for the latest version of AutoCAD?

  12. Nov 23, 2010, sbrbot said:

    Thank you! Great "How to". Also trick with "stroke path" works as well (mentioned in commend by relsqui).

  13. Sep 28, 2011, ameme said:

    Thanks, very simple and worked. You are AWESOME :)

  14. Oct 2, 2011, askita said:

    Thanks so much for this! I'm super happy with it!

  15. Oct 24, 2012, robkane said:

    time for MEMES! muahahahaha!

  16. Jan 11, 2013, arteh said:

    Thank you so so much! i definitely prefer my outline behind my test. This tut is perfect.

  17. Jan 13, 2013, Artichoke said:

    Hi, I use a Mac, and I was trying to do this tutorial but weirdly when I select all my text, then turn it into a path, some of the text doesn't turn into part of the path. Is there some way to fix this?

  18. Jan 13, 2013, Artichoke said:

    Hi, I use a Mac, and I was trying to do this tutorial but weirdly when I select all my text, then turn it into a path, some of the text doesn't turn into part of the path. Is there some way to fix this?

  19. Jun 5, 2013, grrrnet said:

    Exactly what I needed. Thanks! I'm looking forward to digging through this site - I'd even buy a t-shirt or kick into a tip jar. Just sayin'.

  20. Aug 15, 2013, chinamike said:

    This was good. I had to search around because my Gimp version--2.8.6--had the various parts for Text in different locations (i.e. right click and so on) but it did work! One question. I tried it again with letters that have "hollows", like A, B, O, P, D and the outline didn't go inside of them, even on very large letters. So must be a flaw?

  21. Oct 9, 2013, dfcollin said:

    Yeah, it didn't work for me in 2.8.6 on Windows 7. When I finally found the "create path" after right-clicking the text selection in Text tool nothing happened.

  22. Oct 21, 2013, simspace said:

    I can't take credit for this. I found it on another forum. Works great and so easy...

    1) Right click the text layer and choose alpha to selection. 2) Pick black as your primary color 3) Goto Edit>Stroke Selection and put it by 1 or however thick you want your text "border" to be.

  23. Oct 23, 2013, simspace said:

    I can't take credit for this. I found it on another forum. Works great and so easy...

    1) Right click the text layer and choose alpha to selection. 2) Pick black as your primary color 3) Goto Edit>Stroke Selection and put it by 1 or however thick you want your text "border" to be.

  24. Oct 26, 2013, Uhfgood said:

    I didn't count the steps but another way is to duplicate your text layer. Use the "select by color" tool, select your text, go up to the select drop-down, "grow" your selection by how many pixels you want, then fill in with your selected outline color. Then you simply switch the order of the layers.

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