Working With TEXT Layers

f you’ve already read my post about Rasterizing Shape Layers, you will already know about the two types of images in Acorn. There is the BITMAP/RASTER image and the VECTOR image. Going through all that again in this post is unproductive since this info is already in my other post. I urge you to read my other post to get the details if you’re unfamiliar with any of this. I mentioned in the post that text characters in the text layer are VECTOR images. This means if you want to alter the text with bitmap tools, you must first convert the text layer to a bitmap/raster layer before that’s possible. But we probably won’t be needing to use bitmap tools on text since you can do much more powerful things with text layers in Acorn. Especially if you make changes with the text palette, which pops up as soon as you click the text tool. When I began working with text in Acorn I was mightily frustrated. I recently put together one of the best book covers, if not the best book cover, I’ve ever designed, and I did it all in Acorn – every last shred of it. Using Acorn to create something specific is the best way I’ve found to learn how it works. But I had one heck of a time with the text layers. If I decided I wanted to go back at some point and make changes, I found the regular text tool nearly useless. This is not a criticism of Acorn. It just works differently than other graphic editors I’ve had. In those editors, the text tool always was the editing tool, and the only editing tool, regardless of what stage of editing I might be at. I could have as many as three or four text layers going before I’d decide to go back and make some changes to one of those layers. So I’d click the text tool and had no problem inserting the cursor in between characters, choosing individual characters, specific groups of characters, or all the characters, change the font, the color, attributes, all by going back to that layer and choosing the text tool again and then using it. But in Acorn I found this almost unworkable. I couldn’t do any of that in Acorn, once I left that layer and went back at a later time. When I was laying out different text layers in my book cover like book title, author, promo text, etc., I got so snarled up trying to make changes that I’d end up deleting an entire text layer and starting over. And then one day, determined to figure this out, I tried clicking on the text layer with the move tool, of all things! Now, I know that Kirstin refers to this in one of her tutorials, but using it was so unintuitive that I didn’t think to even try it. But when I did, everything turned around. Do you remember that part in the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy and her friends and all the little munchkins are dancing down the Yellow Brick Road and all are singing joyously? Well, baby, let me tell you that when I discovered the power of the move tool with text editing, I was right there with Dorothy and her minions, playin’ my banjo and a singin’ my songs! :slight_smile: I can’t emphasize enough how powerful this tool is with text. So be aware that Acorn’s text editing tool is greatly helped along with the move tool. Where’s the move tool? It’s that upward pointing arrow in the NW corner of the tools palette and the tool is dynamite! I could go into exhaustive detail on how to use it, but here are the basics. I use the text tool only to lay out text that first time, but use the move tool for editing after that. Do this and your text editing problems are over. By the way, Acorn’s text tool comes into play – literally comes back to life – after you click on the text layer with the move tool. The move tool opens up the way to use the text tool without any problems, whereas I’ve found that if you try to click into the text layer with the text tool, without using the move tool first, I just end up making a new text layer, which I don’t want. I want to edit the existing text layer. The move tool allows us to move right back into the existing layer and edit. I don’t know why this is, nor do I care. I just know that the move tool makes text editing far easier and far less frustrating. The move tool, in essence, makes the text tool accessible after you’ve initially put down the text layer and left that layer. It should also be said that if you choose the text tool, type out your text, then click outside of the text, then go back to edit with the text tool, the editing problem occurs AT THAT POINT. Maybe others have had better luck with this, or maybe my text is too complex, (putting carriage returns in the text line seems to drive it nuts), but I’ve not had the best of luck with using the text tool exclusively. So, type out the text with the text tool, and when you go back at some point to make changes, choose the move tool, click on the text, and your text tool will again become fully functional as soon as you use the move tool to select the text. You can see the move tool become active as soon as you click the move tool onto the text. Go figure! If the text tool doesn’t do what you want it to at some point, reselect the move tool, click on the text, and you’re back in business.

Something very much worth noting is that the text palette is the most powerful text palette I’ve ever used in any graphic editor. Nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to it. It’s awesome!

If Gus or Kirstin has any comments on this, it would be most welcome. Dealing with text has been my most difficult part of learning Acorn. But the move tool has totally solved it. The move tool is the door knob that lets me open the text layer to edit again and again and again.

Hope this helps!


So, FWIW, this only happens if you have the preference “Always make new layers for text boxes” enabled (it’s off by default). If you have that off, then clicking on an existing text box with the text tool will begin editing it.

I always thought it odd that Photoshop and other editors would make brand new layers for text objects, when it made much more sense to me to group them together for easy aligning and layer filters, etc.