8 Ways to Add Text to Photo

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How often have you wanted to use a photo for Instagram or Facebook but feel it’s too bland? Maybe it lacks description or annotation? Sure, you can write a caption with your post, but wouldn’t it be cool if you could add stylish text to your photos? It can give them more depth, style, and personality.

There are some fantastic tools, apps, and software available that allow you to easily add text to your pictures and most of them are free to use!

Below, I explore 8 ways to add text to an image including photo editors for Windows, mobile apps, and web-based platforms. Enjoy!

how we test products

How I picked apps to add text to photo?

Selecting the best service to put text on images can be a thoughtful process. All applications and platforms that I picked for this article are free to use, can handle various file formats, and have user-friendly interface with basic photo and text editing tools.

Program Available Editing features System requirements Rating
Icecream Photo Editor
Windows
Yes
4GB of RAM, 2.66Ghz, 1024x768, 100MB - 5GB of disk space
5.0
Canva
Online
Yes
Internet access
5.0
Windows Paint
Windows
Limited
Pre-installed
3.0
Kapwing
Online
Yes
Internet access
4.0
Picfont
Online
No
Internet access
4.0
Text2Photo
Online
No
Internet access
3.0
Add Text on Photo
Android
Yes
Android 13
3.0
Adobe Express
Online
Yes
Internet access
4.0

1. Icecream Photo Editor

Icecream Photo Editor is a free photo editing software available for Windows users. It is my top pick due to the customization it offers and the intuitive user interface.

This is the best way to add text to photos. The great thing is, is that the software is free to download and doesn’t need a super powerful computer to run either.

Once you have opened a photo, simply click the "T" icon from the top menu which is the text tool. You can then add a text box to the image and position it easily.

I like how you can alter the size of the text box too. It changes the wrap of the text if you want it on one or multiple lines.

Icecream Photo Editor

On the right-hand side, you have an extensive toolbar with a load of options. You can change basic settings like the font type, size, orientation, and color.

There are also some advanced options like adding a drop shadow, and outline. You can even alter the line spacing and spacing of the letters which not many editors offer.

If you want to add multiple separate text boxes, beneath the text toolbar you can see a list of all the current text boxes on your photo. Select each one individually to edit your photo with text further.

Rating

Trustpilot 4.7

Pros:

  • Intuitive interface and tools that are easy to use.
  • Ability to change the letter spacing.
  • Advanced options such as drop shadows and outlines.
  • You can add several separate text boxes.

Cons:

  • The font style drop-down doesn’t show a font preview.

2. Canva

Canva is an online picture editor that has an array of tools. It’s free to use and the basic version has great functionality although some templates and features are available with the premium subscription only.

It’s one of the best ways to add text to photos and has the benefit of having hundreds of templates to choose from. This can feel a little overwhelming at first, and I do find it difficult sometimes to just get to the photo editor.

Nonetheless, you can use your photos in projects like social media posts, book covers, and photo albums.

Canva

Once you get into the picture editor you can easily upload your JPEG or other photo formats. I like that they stay in your memory so you can reuse them multiple times.

Once a photo is added, there is then a dedicated text tool. You can choose the default text type, such as a heading, subheading, body text. Canva also provides a range of stylish font templates.

The customization of the text is really good and you have an extensive list of fonts you can choose. You can then add shadows, and backgrounds, and even animate your text. Overall, it’s easy to use and offers good customization for adding text to photos.

Rating

Trustpilot 2.7
G2crowd 4.7
Capterra 4.7

Pros:

  • The editor is intuitive and easy to use.
  • Visual representation of the different font styles.
  • You can have the option to animate text.

Cons:

  • It’s difficult to just open the editor and add a photo and text.
  • The sheer number of options and templates can be overwhelming.

3. Windows Paint

Everyone always forgets about Windows Paint free picture editor but it is one of the ways to add text to photos. It’s pre-installed on all Windows devices which is a bonus!

The first step is to open Paint and then load a photo. I find it annoying that the image displays at full size. You may need to use the zoom tool to pan out so you can see the whole photo and position your text properly.

Windows Paint

With a photo open, you then click the "A" tool from the top menu. You can then choose the font type, size, and color and also give it a block background if you want. The font list is taken from your own device so whatever fonts you have installed can be used in Paint.

I have used iterations of this program for years now for simple graphics tasks. While it’s really basic, you can at least use it to put text on images or resize photos.

In terms of customization, there aren’t too many options. You can only add text to pictures and do the typical editing found in Microsoft Word like bold, italic, or underlined. Also, be careful with positioning as once you have clicked off of the text, you can’t move it again!

Rating

Capterra 4.3

Pros:

  • It is included free with all Windows computers.
  • Really easy to use.

Cons:

  • It can be difficult to move the text afterward.
  • Limited customization for the text.
  • Incredibly basic compared to other tools.

4. Kapwing

Kapwing has a range of photo editing tools. There is a free subscription that allows you to use the editor but has limitations on using tools like video editing and exporting. Examples of its additional tools include a meme generator, video converter, screen recorder, and PNG maker.

The text add tool is part of the free photo editor. It has some brilliant customization and offers some of the best detail available in the tools to add text to an image. I like how easy it is to reposition the text on your image and adjust the text box size.

Kapwing

On the right side of the screen, you have a text toolbar with basic font attributes like type, size, and alignment.

Underneath that, there are additional stylistic options like drop shadows, outlines, and rotation. Essentially, you have full customization over the text and how it fits with your image.

I like the selection of templates too. It’s got some useful options like streaming or social media nameplates. You can create a name badge for Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Instagram, for example.

Rating

Trustpilot 4.4
G2crowd 4.4
Capterra 4.4

Pros:

  • Clearly defined text toolbar that is easy to use.
  • Lots of customization options.
  • The text can easily be repositioned and resized.
  • Templates to create things like streaming nameplates.

Cons:

  • The free version adds watermarks to your images.

5. Picfont

Picfont is an online photo editor. It has been around since 2008 and may look a little dated. Overall, it has a decent set of tools that allows you to quickly add text to your photos.

It is a web-based browser platform and is completely free to use. However, there are adverts shown in the editor which can feel a little obtrusive.

When first opening the website, you have a nice big upload box. I like that you can choose from a range of pre-defined image sizes such as YouTube thumbnails, Twitter headers, Facebook cover photos, and book covers.

This means that if you want to use your photo for a specific purpose it will resize it automatically.

Picfont

Once you have selected your PNG or other types of photo you can then add text using the left-hand toolbar. I like that there is a box to enter the text. You can press the "New" button to add multiple separate lines of text.

There is great customization and you have loads of fonts to choose from, plus a range of preset text styles.

The only downside of the free picture editor I found is that the font dropdown list doesn’t give a preview of the font. If you don’t know what a font looks like, it’s a case of trial and error until you find the right style!

Pros:

  • Large selection of fonts.
  • Full customization including shadows and text effects.
  • You can insert your own custom fonts.
  • Preset text models to make the process quicker.

Cons:

  • There is no preview of the font type from the list.
  • The adverts can be intrusive.

6. Text2Photo

Text2photo is another web-based browser app that works on desktop computers, Macs, and smartphones via browsers like Google Chrome.

It’s incredibly easy to use and a good option for adding text to photos if you don’t want to bother installing software. It’s free to use too and as far I can see, there is no maximum photo size limitation.

After opening the website you have to upload a photo and this then takes you to the editor. It’s got a modern design and I like the simplicity of the toolbar. If you have never used any type of editing software before you should be able to figure out how to use it quickly.

Text2Photo

There is a variety of fonts and you do get a preview of the font too. It makes choosing an appropriate design of a photo with text much easier. I like that you can filter the fonts by different categories too.

The editor has minimal text effects and you can apply a shadow and change the alignment. But other than that, there aren’t any additional options.

Although it is easy to use, there might be usability issues and I found the photo editor frustrating at times. For example, once you have written the text, you can't resize the text box. It is annoying if you want the text on one line only.

Pros:

  • Great selection of fonts.
  • A font preview is shown to make selection easier.

Cons:

  • Limited text customization options.
  • There are some usability issues.

7. Add Text on Photo

I wanted to include a smartphone option too and Add Text on Photo is a decent free picture editor that is available on Android devices. Just be warned though, the app regularly asks you to upgrade to the premium version. Plus, you do have to watch adverts at times before using the tools!

Regardless, once you have the app open you can choose to take a new photo or upload from your device which is convenient. You can then choose from a range of text options like simple text, text with a background, text inside a speech balloon, and curved text.

Write on Photos

With the text written, there is then a great range of customization options and a large library of fonts to pick.

I like how there is a toolbar at the bottom that shows all the different text customization tools. Everything uses sliders and updates the text with a real-time preview. This means you can always see what effect your changes have after you've put text on the image.

Pros:

  • Lots of customization options.
  • Free for Android users.
  • Different text categories like simple annotation and speech bubbles.

Cons:

  • The ads are persistent and intrusive.

8. Adobe Express

Adobe Express is essentially an online photo editor and creative design suite like Canva. It is free to use if you have an existing Adobe Cloud Subscription.

It’s got thousands of templates that you can use with your photos. Once you are in the editor you can add text with great levels of customization.

Like Canva, it can initially be difficult to get started as you have to choose a template to work with. It doesn’t seem like you can just go into the editor and add a photo which can be annoying. Regardless, once the editor opens a photo, you can use the text tool.

Adobe Express

This has some of the best customization available and you can really get creative with your fonts. You can change basic parameters like the font size, alignment, and color, but also add shadows and outlines.

Not only that, but there are some cool shapes you can add around your photo with text like scrolls, arrows, and circle wreaths.

Rating

Trustpilot 3.2
G2crowd 4.5
Capterra 4.6

Pros:

  • Add shapes to your text such as arrows and scrolls.
  • Plenty of customization options.
  • Huge array of templates for social media.

Cons:

FAQ

How can I ensure that the text is readable on the image?
Use high-contrast colors, position text in a clear space, and experiment with font size and style to ensure readability and visual appeal.
What file formats support text overlay on images?
JPEG, PNG, and GIF are common formats that support text overlay. Ensure your chosen format maintains image quality.
Are there any restrictions on adding text to stock photos or images created by others?
Check the licensing terms. Some images may have restrictions on modifications, so always respect the creator's terms.
What's the difference between adding text to a raster photo and a vector image?
Adding text to raster images involves incorporating text into the pixel data, leading to potential quality loss upon resizing. In contrast, adding text to a vector photo treats text as a separate object, allowing for scalability without compromising quality.

How to add text to photo: conclusion

Now you know how to add text to a photo. Using any of these 8 ways to put text on any image can boost your creativity and allow you to take your graphic design, marketing, or photography to the next level.

Adding text gives you far more creative freedom to produce memorable and engaging social media posts, blog content, and even infographics.

  • Dedicated photo editing software like the Icecream Photo Editor has a fantastic text tool. Plus, it allows you to do other neat things such as creating collages and editing the basic quality of the image.
  • Alternatively, there are quick web-based options that may not have the same depth of tools, but allow you to add text quickly in a range of fonts and colors.

Whichever software or app you choose, I hope you enjoy experimenting with the different types of text and seeing what amazing graphical masterpieces you can produce with your photos.

Paul Skidmore

Tech Writer and Photography Aficionado

Paul is a self-professed photography and tech nerd and has years of experience working with various editing software. He has a passion for travel and has taken his camera to destinations including Antarctica, Singapore, Indonesia, and Greenland.
8 min read
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