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This tutorial will teach you how to add an underline to text in Photoshop 2021 in seconds. You’ll also learn how to create custom size and color underline in Photoshop.

This tutorial uses Photoshop 2021 however the methods used to underline text in it will work in any Photoshop version from the past decade and most likely the next decade.

Add an Underline to Text in Photoshop 2021 Using the Character Panel

To begin, create a text layer. Hit the T key to turn on the Horizontal Text Tool. Then draw a box inside the canvas to create the text layer. Type in the text you want to underline.

Like any text layer in Photoshop 2021, you want to use the Character Panel to manipulate it. Inside the Character Panel you can change a text layer’s font, size, leading, kearning, color, and more. You can also use the Character Panel to make a text layer or selected text on the layer subscript; superscript; strikethrough; and, of course, underlined.

If you cannot find the Character Panel, go to the Window menu at the top of the screen and choose Character. The Character Panel should pop up when you do this.

Character Panel in Photoshop to show which icon to use to make an underline
Find the “T” with the underline in the Character Panel

Select the text layer in the Layers Panel. Back in the Character Panel, towards the bottom of it you’ll find a row of icons that are T’s. Each one does something different. Hover your mouse over each one for a moment to see Photoshop’s Tooltips — hints describing the action of the icon. Towards the end of the row of T icons, there’s a T that is underlined — T. Click it. This will underline all the text of the layer.

Helpful hint: If the underline is not working when you click the T, it’s probably because the layer is not selected in the Layers Panel.

Photoshop with a word in a text layer underlined
This is what the standard underline looks like

Underline a Portion of a Text Layer

You can also underline just a portion of a text layer as well. This can be a letter, a word, every other word, or whatever you want. Enter the text layer. You can do this by double-clicking the “T” icon of the layer in the Layers Panel. Now that you’ve entered the text layer, select / highlight the portion you wish to underline. Then click the T icon in the Character Panel to underline that part. Repeat as necessary.

How to Create a Custom Underline in Photoshop 2021

Let’s say that the default underline settings just don’t work for you. That’s cool — that happens to me all the time too. Here’s how you can create a custom underline.

Instead of using the Character Panel, we need to draw a line. Turn off the underline if it is turned on in the Character Panel as explained above. Next activate the Line Tool. The Line Tool may be hidden in the Toolbar under one of the other Shape Tools (see image below). Click and hold on the Shape Tool icon to bring up the menu of other Shape Tools and then select the one that looks like a line for the Line Tool. Alternatively you can use the keyboard short Shift+U to cycle through the Shape Tools until you get to the Line Tool.

Shape Tools in Photoshop
Activate the Line Tool

In the Line Tool’s Options (that bar at the top of Photoshop), choose the color of the underline you are going to create by clicking the box next to Fill:. If you want a stroke around the underline click the box next to Stroke: and choose a color. Otherwise leave this set to the white box with the red line going through it — this signifies there will not be a stroke.

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Line Tool Options in Photoshop for making a custom underline
Line Tool Options

At the end of the Line Tool’s Options find Weight:. This determines how thick the underline will be. You’re probably not going to get the proper weight correct the first time but that’s okay. I’ll show you how to adjust this.

Now go to the canvas and with the Line Tool still active click and draw a line where you want to create your underline. It’s helpful to hold the Shift key down while doing this so Photoshop forces the line to be straight.

If the thickness is too much or not enough or if you need to change how long the underline is, select the new line layer in the Layers panel. Then use the keyboard shortcut Command+T if you’re on a Mac or Control+T if you’re on Windows. This activates Free Transform and you’ll see boxes surrounding the line in the canvas. Click on a box and drag as needed to change the height or width of the line.

Showing a custom underline in Photoshop 2021
See? You don’t have to be limited to Photoshop’s default underline options.

If you want to make a copy of the line to use in another part of your PSD, select the layer and use the keyboard shortcut Command+J if you’re on a Mac or Control+J if you’re on Windows to duplicate the layer. Use the Move Tool (keyboard shortcut = “V”) to move this new line around your canvas. Then use Free Transform to adjust as needed.


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Here are a couple other similar tutorials that might help you if you found this one useful:

– Josh