I'm a Photoshop n00b, working with version CS6. I'm trying to fix up a PSD I was sent from my client so I can convert it to HTML and CSS. Here's a screenshot of some layers I've extracted, that hopefully will help illustrate my question:


The two white shapes are in one layer. The black "i" is a text layer on top of this. How can I make the "i" be a cutout inside the white layer, that allows the transparent background to show through? I can't find any tutorials online that demonstrate how to do this.

  • Going to need to see some examples to fully understand the image.
    – Scott
    Jun 26, 2012 at 18:53
  • Sorry about that. I added a screenshot and rewrote the text for clarity.
    – curtisdf
    Jun 26, 2012 at 19:03

2 Answers 2


The image helps.....

  1. cmd+click (Mac) or Ctrl+Click (Win) the layer thumbnail (the T) for the i in the Layer's Panel. This should load the i as a selection.
  2. Inverse the selection - From the menu choose Select > Inverse
  3. Highlight the shape layer in the Layer Panel.
  4. Click the layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layer's Panel.
  5. Turn off visibility for the text layer.

End result:



Scott's method will work (and probably gets the job done perfectly in this case), but this can be done in a way that retains the scalable vector property of the text, which the layer mask doesn't. And considering that the white area is a shape, the whole thing would be scalable to any size.

  1. Right click the text layer and select "Create Work Path"
  2. Select the pen tool and select the "Subtract front shape" option on the toolbar enter image description here
  3. Put the shape layer in a group (ctrl+g) and select the group (because I don't believe vector masks can apply directly to shapes)
  4. Right click in the image and select "Create vector mask"
  • Unfortunately, the shape interaction options are not available for Text layers. This will work with multiple Shape/Vector layers, but not with Text layers unless you convert the text to a shape layer first.
    – Scott
    Jan 25, 2018 at 20:55

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