How to use Pixlr to add text to a photo

Pixlr recently updated their site to include tons of Photoshop-style tools. And since I know not everyone had a billion dollars to spend on editing software I thought I’d do a series of tutorials on how to use their advanced editor. All those buttons and tabs can be a little intimidating, right? So, now is your chance to ask for specific photo editing/graphic making tutorials. Add a comment if there’s anything you’d like to learn!

First up – something easy to get you used to where everything is. Here are instructions on how to add an opaque box with text on a photo…

How to use Pixlr to add text to a photo

1. Open your image and resize it (to fit the width of your blog!)

How to use Pixlr to add text to a photo

2. Create a new layer. I put every new item in its own layer so if I need to change or move it in the middle of a project it’s not attached to the background.

How to use Pixlr to add text to a photo

3. Using the drawing tool, create a circle, then use the move tool to place it where you like. Note the toolbar that appears at the top where you can select square, rounded rectangle, circle or line. You can also change the opacity, fill color and add a border.

(A flaw I noticed with Pixlr is you cannot hold shift to create a perfect circle or line – gotta eye ball it. If you’re like me that will drive you bananas, so hopefully that’s on their list of fixes for the future.)

How to use Pixlr to add text to a photo

4. Adjust the opacity of the layer. Why do this in the layer and not when drawing the circle? Because if you set the opacity with the drawing tool you’re stuck with it, if you set it in the layer you can change it whenever. (In Photoshop this is not the case, you can change the opacity of your custom shapes at any time)

How to use Pixlr to add text to a photo

5. Click the text tool and then click onto your image to add text. There is no text alignment in this app (hopefully that will be added soon too!), so you’ll have to add a few spaces to get it centered.

How to use Pixlr to add text to a photo

6. Save your image as the highest quality jpg and add it to your blog. TA-DA!

If you’d like to figure out what the rest of those buttons are for, Wikihow has a helpful rundown.


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  1. says

    Probably a silly question: any idea why I can’t open a photo I saved from Pixlr using my Picasa Photo Viewer? I saved it as a jpeg, so it should just do its thing, right? It keeps saying that it is an invalid image when I try to open it.

    • says

      Hmmm…I’ve had this problem when adding jpgs to Google Drive speadsheets before. Seems like the file is fine, but I get an invalid image error when I go to upload it. I’m not sure what the issue is, but Pixlr does has a ‘save to Picasa’ option, so I would try that instead :)