Do you know how to merge images with text?
I’m currently looking at creating a new product, a newsletter. It’s for my niche clients around the subject of Christian entrepreneurs and startups. It’s been in the works for a while as I dive into this market with market research. Like any entrepreneur, we don’t have lots of cash to pay high prices for our tools. We use what we have.
Merge the right tools with the right size of the job
After figuring out that I could both write and design a book (How to Start a Business: Mac Version and HWJDB How Would Jesus Do Business?) using Apple’s iWork Pages (the issue of leading was my major hurdle), I was “off to the races” after I had solved this issue to get more things done. I didn’t have to pay an arm and a leg for Adobe’s InDesign or to pay someone else, I learned the skills myself. Even though they’re basic skills, I will be forever using them in my lifetime in my business. What does this mean? I don’t bring a backhoe when a garden trowel will do.
Creating this newsletter is not only creating content, but also what it will look like. I’m not a graphic artist and, like me, I know that most of my audience of my newsletter are not graphic artists either. So I have to keep things simple, yet functional. In other words, I “eat my own dog food.” I use my own tools in my every day business.
As entrepreneurs, we learn as we go, solving problems as we encounter them and then moving on. My current issue was how to merge images with text.
How to start with the image to the right and then create the featured image for the blog post. Here’s how I did it.
How to merge images and text
I found this YouTube video, but found it much too cumbersome to follow (but using Mac’s Preview, it does have more tools that I might be able to use in the future, but that’s another blog post).
There had to be a better way. After about an hour, I figured it out. Here are my steps how to use Pages and the Grab app to merge images with text.
Headline text. Start with knowing what will be your text, in my example I use the word “DENVER”. Since most of the times you’ll be merging images with text for a graphic or headline, your text or headline needs to be one word or a few short words.
- Select a font or typeface. Open new document in Pages and select a typeface or font, either bold a font or use a thick one (I used the font GENUINE that comes with each Mac).
- Type the text. Ensure you have the right leading (line spacing) and character spacing (spacing between characters) for multiple words. Open Pages and type your text and find the right combination of these elements to give you the right image you want. DENVER was my choice of text.
- Open Grab. Once you have your near final text (it make take a few trial and errors to find the right combination), then open up the Grab app and create a JPEG image of your text and save it to your Mac’s desktop. I then inserted the JPEG DENVER graphic into my Pages document. UPDATE #1: If I right-click on the text box, the command “Capture Selection from Screen” comes up and I can highlight the text box I want to create an image from. Then I can size the text box if I want a small or large border or not around my text. I no longer need Grab to do this step, but I leave this step using Grab here because you might have another reason or process to use it instead.
- Select an photo or image for your background. Copyright is a HUGE issue (“Cut and paste” someone’s content to YOUR web page, Google will slap down your SEO rankings!!!). I don’t download “free” images off of the internet when someone created it (give them credit). My friend fellow author, marketer, and business mentor Jan Verhoeff told me about pixabay.com, a free source of good stock images, so I found and downloaded my Denver image.
- Insert the background image. I inserted the Denver picture in my Pages document so that both the Denver picture and DENVER text are graphic objects.
- Send to back. I select the Denver picture and under Arrange > Send to back I make it a background image with my DENVER text in the foreground.
- Instant Alpha. Using the “Instant Alpha” tool, I used a filled colored shape as my background and hit the button under Image > Instant Alpha to make my black text transparent. This gave me a box which I clicked and dragged to make each letter transparent. The background colored filled shape comes through. Then I delete the colored filled shape and made my Denver picture the background image. Presto!!
- Size both of your images. Since both the Denver picture and DENVER text are graphics, I can vary the display size of each of them. Double clicking on each and “Edit Mask” of each image to fit my final dimensions. For my web site, I need 200 x 200 pixel image for good SEO. This is just under three inches, so I made sure I was about three inches height and width. My newsletter might need different dimensions.
There you have it. How to merge images with your text using Pages and the Grab app, both free with your Mac. Experts might nit pick what I have done, but nearly all of my readers may not care. For me, it’s a start. It’s about getting the job done.
Next problem to solve!!