I scanned in an image which into Photoshop. It is black and white written text on a white background.

I am able to select/colour range and grab all of the black elements into a new layer. However I am unable to change the colour of the letters from black to brown.

The image is in RGB (also tried in CMYK) so it's not an issue of greyscale.

I am also able to select a new colour which then appears in my fill, however it does not change the image in any way.

I feel like there will be a simple explanation, but I just can't think what.

I would really REALLY appreciate any help.


  • have you selected the layer with the letters? do you know how to use the fill bucket tool? I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this very elementary question is answered fully in the application Help Files.
    – Luciano
    May 23, 2016 at 8:28

1 Answer 1


What are you trying to achieve? I guess you want to put the black text onto another background, so you want all the white to become transparent.

Easiest way in photoshop is to use a layer blend mode. - make your scanned text into a new layer - change the layer blend to "Multiply" or "Darken" - you can see which gives best results.

enter image description here

I edited this after I re-read your post - I see you want to change black text to brown text. Here's a way: - Create a new layer, fill it with the shade of brown you want. - Add the scanned text as a new layer on top of your brown layer - Change the layer blend mode (of the scanned text) to "Screen"

enter image description here

Another way without layers is to adjust the brightness/contrast of the scanned text until the background is white and the text is mid-grey. Now you can adjust channels or hue/saturation until you get the text the colour you like: - go to Brightness/Contrast - set brightness to maximum - set contrast to minimum - go to Hue/Saturation - set saturation to maximum - mess with the hue until text colour is desired. turn the saturation down if required.

Cheers Neil

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