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A Tutorial for GIMP: How to Edit Text and How to Make Text Follow a Path

Updated on February 14, 2018
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What is GIMP and how do I get it?

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an image editing program.GIMP is released under the GPLv3 license as free and open-sourced software. For more information on GPLv3 license see here: . You can do many things with GIMP, including: cropping, editing, free-form drawing, digital painting, resizing, converting image formats and many more tasks. If you know what Adobe Photoshop is, think of GIMP as a kind of free version of that program.

Since GIMP is released under the GPLv3 license it is free to download, use, study, share (copy), and modify the software. You can download GIMP from here: .


What is Text to Path?

Text to path is a term used to describe a flow of text that follows along a designated line the user created. It allows you to make some pretty cool text effects. You can wrap your words around objects, scroll up and down a hill, etc. Once you learn how to add text to a path you will be able to make some really cool pictures!


Step 1

Start off by opening GIMP. Click file>new (ctrl+N) to create a new document. You can be any size you like. Next you will select the Path tool and create a line selecting to anchor points on your layer. After two points are selected you can hold down CTRL and select an anchor point to manipulate your line. This tool will take a while to get familiar with so, I suggest you play around with it until you are comfortable making lines. Once you are happy with your line press the Enter key. You will see a bunch of dotted lines around your path you have created. We are now done with step one, yeah!


Step 2

Now click on the Text Tool. It looks like the letter "A". It is located in the Toolbox on the left side of your screen. Create a text box by selecting an area of the blank page and drag then dropping. Click inside the box and insert the words or text that you want to follow along your path. Now, highlight your text and right click inside the highlighted text. Then select "Text Along Path". Your text will get a red outline around it. Good job , you finished step two!


Step 3

Next you will need to open the "Path Dialog". It is located on the bottom left of your toolbox. If you do not see it click the small arrow that says "Configure this tab" when hovered. Select "add tabs" then "Paths dialog". Find the text path with the text you have written. Make sure it is visible (An eyeball should appear by it). Right click the text path and select "Path to Selection". This will outline your text, "selecting it". You will now see the dotted lines around the actual words/numbers you have entered. Next, go to Select>Grow enter 1 into the box and click okay. Now we will make make sure none of the paths are visible . There should be no eyeballs in the "Paths Dialog" after you have made your selection. Great job, you have just finished step three, we're almost there!


Step 4

If you followed the steps correctly you should have something that looks like the picture below.


Now select your "Paintbrush Tool" (located in the "toolbox"), select a color (The colored box in the middle of the "toolbox") and begin painting your words/numbers. Make sure you have the layer labeled "background" selected, otherwise you will not be able to add color to your text! Hang in there, you're doing great, we're almost done!


Step 5

After completely filling in your words/numbers selection with the color or colors of your choosing go to the top of the page and click Select then Invert(Or simply press ctrl+i) The dotted lines should dissapear and you are left with the outer page selected. Now go to the layers on the right side. Right click the "background" layer and select "Add Alpha Channel". After selecting Add Alpha Channel press the del key. You're white background is now a gray checkerboard. This checkerboard simply means there is nothing there. But how did I get rid of the numbers on top? You may ask. Go to the layers box on the right. Then , drag and drop the top layer beneath the "background" layer. Or you could simply right click the layer with the unwanted words and choose "delete layer". It should now resemble the picture below.


Step 6

Now we will finish up by adding a background. Right click the empty space in the "Layers" area then select "Add New Layer". A box will pop up, select "OK". Now select your new layer and add any color background you want! Alternatively if you have a picture pasted to you clipboard you can go to Edit>Paste As>New Layer. This will add your selection as a layer. You can also import a picture saved on your computer. Do this by selecting File>Open as layers. Simply find your file and import it.

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Advanced Text To Path Tutorial : Circle

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    • Ceres Schwarz profile image

      Ceres Schwarz 

      7 years ago

      Good hub on how to make text follow a path with GIMP. This step-by-step tutorial complete with images will be very useful and helpful for those that are wondering how to do this in GIMP.


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