In Photoshop there is a menu option to create a vector from a text layer: Layer > Type > Create Work Path. Does this lose any quality over leaving it as a text layer, such as font hinting?

2 Answers 2


There could be circumstances when you want to do this, for a special vector mask, maybe, but they are rare. This is one of those legacy features, like the Type Mask tools, that's long since been superseded by better ways to do things.

It might help to understand what hinting is. Back in the very early days of laser printers and Adobe Postscript, it was John Warnock and Chuck Geschke who solved the problem of good text reproduction on these low resolution raster devices (300 dpi is low resolution for text) with hinting. Hinting is only used when text is rasterized for output to this kind of low-resolution device.

Without hinting, text tends to look too dark when printed on a desktop laser or inkjet printer, so you'll often see recommendations to "never outline text because you lose the hinting." But professional plate making for a printing press will render outlines or text at a full 2400 dpi or more, where hinting isn't needed and isn't used.

But there's a big, big caveat with Photoshop, quite apart from hinting issues:

Photoshop is a raster application, and all of its core functions pretty much assume that the final output will be an image. It does its own version of rasterizing text, offering several flavors of rendering: None, Sharp, Strong, Crisp and Smooth. These influence how the text is rasterized at current document resolution. That's fine if you're creating a web banner or something similar that will be seen only on a screen, and can even work semi-okay for a desktop printer, but all that text is rasterized at whatever your document resolution is, which is unlikely to be enough for press work.

Even if you place your Photoshop file into InDesign, what appears in the layout is a fully rasterized image. It doesn't contain font information, nor any vector data at all.

To maintain the best quality of text on press, save the Photoshop document as a PDF and place that in your layout or send it to your printer. PDF keeps all of the vector information (shapes, etc.) intact and embeds the fonts. These will be rendered by the printer's RIP (Raster Image Processor) at full 2400 or 2800 dpi resolution, not the document's overall 300 ppi (or whatever).


I should think that would depend on which resolution you are creating the vector path from.

If it's really tiny text there could be some issues, but if you make it from larger text it would probably remain mostly true through whichever sizes you choose.

I would generally just leave it as a text layer, as the font itself contains the information needed to render it best at whichever size, and it's a vector format anyway. I don't see the advantage of creating a work path of text.

Hope that helps some.

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