How to Change Your Text on Snapchat
Snapchat is one of the most popular social media platforms right now, and for good reason. The popular photo-sharing app didn’t just try to imitate Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram’s experiences. Snapchat, on the other hand, pioneered a completely new mode of communication: time-limited photos and videos that disappear after being viewed. Snapchat (and its parent company, Snap Inc.) exploded in popularity, with apps like Instagram directly copying the app’s various features, and the company becoming a fixture in the online ecosystem of social networks and environments.
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But Snapchat isn’t a perfect app. For all its brilliance in execution and features, Snapchat has a steeper learning curve than any other social network on the market, even more so than Twitter. Over the past half-decade, the app has become increasingly complex, adding dozens of new abilities while never quite explaining how to use them well to the end-user. Snapchat’s poor documentation of how to use the app to its fullest extent is a serious problem when it comes to gathering new users that will continue to use the app.
So let’s take care of what Snapchat won’t. The ability to add text to a Snap, both within photos and videos, is one of the most basic features of Snapchat’s own app. There are a slew of options for adding text to Snapchat, including size, color, position, and more—but if you’re new to the app, you might be unfamiliar with them all. We’ll go over everything text can do inside of Snapchat so you can perfect your snaps before sending them to your friends. Although a picture is worth a thousand words, your photos can benefit from the additional context that words and phrases provide. Take a look at this comprehensive guide to using text on Snapchat.
Text Size and Position
If we’re going to cover how the text works on Snapchat, we need to start with the very basics before moving on to more advanced tactics and designs. For brand-new Snapchat users, even placing text on a Snap might be a bit confusing to start with. For most users, simply knowing how text size and positioning work will be enough to get their feet wet in the world of Snapchat before moving on to bigger and bolder designs. So, grab your smartphone, open the Snapchat app, and take a photo. From here, it’s easy to add text anywhere on your picture.
Adding Text in Snapchat
When you’ve captured an image, tap anywhere on the screen to bring up the text box and keyboard. It’s that simple—just type your text as you would in a text message, note, email, or any other app on your device. When you’re finished, press the ‘Done’ icon on your keyboard, which is usually in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. This will center your small-but-legible text on a transparent-black background, allowing you to read the white text on any image.
By placing your finger or thumb on the text bar and moving your finger up and down the screen, you can easily move this text up and down. If you need to change something in your message, tap the text in the middle of the bar. This will reopen your keyboard and allow you to make changes to your message.
Changing Text Size
But this is just scratching the surface of your text; there are two more ways to display your captions. Tap the ‘T’ in the top-right corner of your display once you’ve finished typing (while the text editor is still open). This will transform your text from a small window with a transparent background to a bold, large, and background-less design. Your text will also be uncentered, flush left. It’s comparable to increasing the font size on a computer from 12 to 36 or 48—a significant increase in both legibility and screen real estate. Oh, and while you’re not in text-editing mode, tapping the ‘Twill automatically opens the text editor.
So, we’ve got this big font version of our caption. What are our options? Unlike the previous text, this text can move around the screen without being locked to a specific orientation or position. With one finger, grab your caption and try sliding it around the screen. You’ll notice that the text can appear in any location on the screen. It doesn’t matter if you put it in the upper-left corner, the lower-right corner, the middle, or the top. This most gives you the freedom to move your text wherever you want it, which is ideal for positioning your text around the subject of your image.
Of course, this causes a slew of issues. First, what about that larger, bolder font? Because you can’t fit nearly as much text into that font as you can with the smaller, transparent-backed text we discussed earlier, if your caption is longer than a few words, this appears to be a complication. Furthermore, depending on your framing, the font’s flush-left placement may cause issues with specific photos. Even worse, the white text can be difficult to read on a variety of backgrounds, including gray, white, and brighter photos, and the captions can be difficult to read because they are so large, especially when each line only contains one or two words.
Modifying Text Size and Position
Let’s start with the most basic issue: the text on the left. There is one more way to change your font orientation here, and it’s as simple as tapping on that capital ‘T’ again. This will move your text from flush-left to centered while maintaining the large, bold text we prefer for our snaps. If you want to go back to any of the three settings (small with backing, flush-left bold, centered bold), you can use the ‘T’ icon to cycle through them.
Now that our text is centered, we can move on to the most serious issue mentioned earlier: text size. While the bold, large font is appropriate for two or three-word captions, it isn’t appropriate for a longer caption of seven to ten words. When in bold format (either in centered or flush-left mode), there are a couple of different ways to change the font size, and they’re both worth memorizing for different types of caption implementation.
Text Color Options
Okay, so you’ve mastered the art of resizing and editing your text and font in Snapchat, but we’re still missing a solution to the other issue with bold text: color options. While most users will be able to read small white text on a transparent black background, if you want a larger font size, you’re stuck with white text, right? Not exactly. Snapchat used to have a built-in color picker, but newer versions of the app have ditched it in favor of the added functionality of a color slider. Let us investigate.
The color slider was probably obvious to most users, but it may not have been so obvious to others. When you open Snapchat’s own text tool, you’ll notice that there’s a colorized slider to the right of your display, underneath the ‘T,’ that can change the font size while you’re editing your text in either bold or default settings. The color of your text can be changed by sliding your finger up and down this slider, with the color displayed in a large circle to the left of the slider. Your chosen color will be applied when you let go of your finger.
You have options after you’ve applied your selection. By reopening the text editor and sliding your finger along the color slider, you can change the color of your font at any time. This will change your color selection in real-time, just like when you first chose it.
Though your color options are limited compared to the free space you have for expressing yourself through text size, orientation, and boldness, you can still customize your text. Because Snapchat’s text tool functions similarly to a text tool within a word processor app, you can use per-character coloration to make your captions pop. As previously stated, when you select a color from the slider, it is applied in real-time, making per-character color selections appear to be impossible. However, with a little creativity, you can make your color choices pop. This is how you do it.
Press and hold your entered text in the text editor to bring up your operating system’s text selector (we’re using Android, but iOS works similarly). Normally, this text selector allows you to cut, copy, and paste text from one app or field to another, but it can also highlight text in this case, just like a standard desktop word application. Instead of highlighting an entire word, simply highlight one letter and then adjust the color with your color slider. Only one letter will be affected by the color slider, and you can do this for each key.
It’s a little more difficult to make sure all of your multi-colored letters have similar designs now that Snapchat has ditched their original palette-based color-picker, especially if you’re looking to repeat the same two or three colors over multiple characters, since you’ll be leaving this color selection to, effectively, the chance of you landing on identical color shades each time. So here’s a quick tip: if you’re going to use a preset color pattern for your text, write out the words separately, then use cut and paste to match the letters together. For instance, if you want to make a post with Spider-Man in the caption, alternate the letters.
red and blue colors, write “SIEMN” and “PDRA” separately, color each with your preferred red and blue shades, and then cut and paste the word back together. It’s time-consuming, but it can pay off if you want your caption to stand out. You can also choose to highlight different parts of each word.
Moving Text on Video
Because Snapchat is primarily an image-based service, we’ve used images as our examples for how text works in Snapchat. That isn’t to say that plenty of people don’t use Snapchat to send video snaps—far from it. After all, Snapchat supports both photos and videos, and while we’re sure more photos are sent than videos, video is just as important in the Snapchat ecosystem. And, for the most part, text behaves exactly as we’ve come to expect it to behave on a snap. You can use all three text versions—small, bold flush-left, and bold centered—as needed and alternate between them. Colors can be applied to individual letters or to the entire alphabet.
You can also resize, rotate, and move your text around the video as needed. Almost everything works the same here; however, there is one very important change to text within videos that is worth mentioning because it can be confusing for new users. Consider this Snapchat’s most difficult text-based lesson, similar to a final exam.
It may seem absurd, but Snapchat has successfully taken the concept of superimposed text, modified it to work properly using augmented-reality technology, and delivered it to the masses in the form of Snapchat videos. It’s incredibly ambitious, and while it may not perform as well as After Effects on mobile (due to the lack of a timeline and keyframes), it’s still incredibly cool technology that you can use and master right from your phone.
Text Effects and Fonts
Snapchat introduced fonts in early 2018, and the feature has undergone several changes and updates since then to help improve how fonts work on the app. It’s very simple to change your font. After you’ve taken a photo or video, tap the screen or the Text icon to access Snapchat’s text editor. You’ll find your font selection list below the text entry field. This also eliminates the need for two separate large text options: flush-left and centered. Instead, all “Big Text” is flush-left by default, with no option to center it. The good news is that you can still resize this text by opening the text editor and zooming in with two fingers.
The existing text tool has only been modified in this way. Colors are still controlled by a slider on the left side of the screen. The real good news comes in the form of the long-awaited addition of text effects and, more importantly, text fonts. It’s as simple as sliding your finger along the menu at the top of your keyboard and tapping on the icon that corresponds to the effect you want, so let’s go over the general look and effect of each option, starting with font effects: