Is there a difference between using Transform commands to scale text and altering the size of the font via Character panels?

I'm working in Photoshop CC

  • Your question is a bit unclear. Expanding text is a bit ambiguous. But simply if you mean turning text to paths, then yes it removes font editability and hinting. Not sure what it has to do with changing font size though.
    – joojaa
    Sep 29, 2017 at 16:19
  • By manually expanding text I mean like (this is probably suuper unorthodox btw) using Ctrl+T and expanding the text instead of using font size. I just want to know if there's a difference, although either way it's probably better to use font size.
    – chen
    Sep 29, 2017 at 16:30
  • Theres no difference if you scale proportionally, if you do not scale proportionally then you will just have a non orthogonal transformation matrix.
    – joojaa
    Sep 29, 2017 at 16:36
  • Hi Chen, I edited your question so it's a bit more clear. "Expanding" text generally means something completely different than altering its size. If you feel my edit was incorrect, please click the EDIT link under the question and revise as you se fit. Thanks.
    – Scott
    Sep 29, 2017 at 18:20

3 Answers 3


If your text is still text, it's not rasterized and you do the scaling proportionally (=not distorting the glyphs), you see that the text stays editable, only the font size changes. There's no difference.

If you have rasterized the text, the scaling afterwards makes it probably somehow detoriated. The rasterization is no more optimal for the size + there's all resampling muddines. Also font can have internal metric rules that change line widths and spacings non-linearly along the font size. If you scale a rasterized font, you bypass those rules.

You can have converted the text to a vector shape. Scaling it also bypasses optimal rasterization rules(=hinting, important in small sizes) and all metric rules.

  • Note that scaling allows you to distort the text making it narrower or wider, even while it stays as text. Changing the font size alone doesn't allow for this. This isn't necessarily a benefit though, just a minor difference between the two. Oct 6, 2017 at 5:38

The primary difference are final sizes... 23.3343pts vs 24pts.

One may be easy to match if there's a need.

The other can be terribly frustrating and time consuming if all the type is different and not whole numbers.

There's also the possibility of non-proportional scaling if you use the transform method. This can "stretch" or "squish" a typeface, which you really should never do.

In terms of how this may effect various output methods, there's no real difference.


Put it simply, @joojaa is the correct answer. If it's straight up text in PS, then using transform to scale is no different then entering the fonts size. It's probably quicker to use transform BUT if you need accuracy, just enter the correct font size. Also, it's important to constraint while transforming or you'll not only change the font size but the vert and horz percent. This is fine if it's what you intend but it's not a true representation of the font.

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