How To Create a Custom Shape From a Font in Photoshop 6 and up

Photoshop 6 now has vector drawing tools. It comes with lots of preset shapes, but you can also create your own from dingbat fonts or your own custom shapes. Follow these steps to add a font character to your custom shapes palette in Photoshop 6 and up.

  1. Open Photoshop and create a new blank document.
  2. Select the Type Tool (the shortcut key is T).
  3. From the options bar, choose a symbol font and adjust the font size as desired.
  1. Click in your document and press the key that corresponds with the symbol you want to create.
  2. Go to the Layer menu and choose Type > Convert to Shape. You may encounter an error if you have Faux Bold style selected. Check the tips below to find out how to change this setting.
  3. At this point you can modify the shape using the Path Component Selection Tool, Direct Selection tool, or any of the Pen Tools.
  4. When you have modified the shape to your liking, select the path by clicking on the path thumbnail in the layer palette.
  5. Go to the Edit menu and choose Define Custom Shape.
  6. Type a name to identify your custom shape.
  7. The new shape will be appended to the current shapes in the custom shape picker.
  8. To save your custom shape to a file, go to Edit > Preset Manager and choose custom shapes from the menu.
  9. Click on the shape you want to save (shift-click for selecting more than one shape). Click the Save Set button and name your file.
  1. The new shape set will be available from the custom shapes picker menu the next time you start Photoshop.


  1. To turn off Faux Bold, access the Character palette by clicking on Window in the top menu and selecting Character. In the Character palette, click on the menu button in the upper right corner, and select Faux Bold to uncheck it.
  1. You can combine several shapes using the boolean operators for the shape tool to create your own unique custom shapes.
  2. Use CorelDRAW's export to TrueType font feature to create custom shapes for Photoshop using CorelDraw's drawing tools.