In this GIMP help article, I’ll show you how to create vertical text using the text tool. This is super easy to do and is very beginner friendly. Let’s dive in! You can watch the video tutorial below, or skip over it for the full text article version.

For starters, open GIMP and create a new composition by hitting ctrl+n on your keyboard (cmd+n on a MAC). Set the dimensions for your image (I went with 1920×1080 pixels – green arrow in the image above) and click OK to create the image (red arrow).

Next, grab your text tool from the toolbox using the “T” shortcut key, or by simply clicking the text tool icon in the toolbox (green arrow in the above image). Set your font style, size, and other formatting using the Tool Options below the Toolbox (red arrow).

When you’re ready, click on the canvas with the Text tool to create a new text layer. Type your text – in my case I’ll type “GIMP” (red arrow).

Next, right-click on your text to bring up the context menu. At the bottom of the menu you’ll see four options for vertical text (outlined in green in the image above) – the first two options are for languages that write from right to left, while the last two options are for languages written from left to right (such as English).

If I select “Vertical left to right: mixed orientation” (red arrow), my text will be vertical, but it’ll simply appear as if the entire word was rotated 90 degrees.

If I select “Vertical left to right: upright orientation” (red arrow), my text will be vertical and all letters will remain “upright.” However, in this case there may be too much of a gap between each letter of your word(s).

To decrease the gap between letters, simply click on the text to select it, hit ctrl+a (cmd+a on a MAC) to select all the text in the text box, then decrease the “kerning” value of the text. Kerning is simply the space between individual letters. I set my kerning to -120.

If you hold the “alt” key, you can click and drag your text box to reposition it on your canvas, or you can simply use the “Move” tool from the Toolbox (inside the first tool group).

That’s it for this tutorial! If you liked it, you can check out my other GIMP tutorials, GIMP help articles, and my GIMP Masterclass!

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