How to Add Multiple Strokes in Photoshop

Learn how to add multiple strokes in Photoshop to type and objects on individual layers by using one of these two super simple techniques.

Below, I explain adding stroke layers, which is a feature in the newer versions of Photoshop, and also go through a nifty little workaround if you’re using an older version of Photoshop, where you are only able to add one stroke to the layer.

Add Multiple Strokes Video Tutorial

Want to follow along with me as I demonstrate both methods of adding multiple strokes in Photoshop? Feel free to watch the video tutorial below, and follow along at your own pace.

Step-by-Step Tutorial

First, we’re going to go through the new method, which involves adding multiple stroke layers from the layer style box. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe Adobe introduced this feature in 2020, though I could be mistaken.

New Method (2020 Version Onwards)

Step 1 – Either draw out your object, type your text, or add your image, and select the individual layer in the layers panel.

Step 2 – Right-click the layer and select ‘blending options’.

Step 3 – When the ‘layer style’ panel appears, check the ‘stroke’ option and select it. From there, you can set your first stroke options.

For the purpose of this exercise, I am going to work in increments of 10px when it comes to each stroke. Hence, set the size to 10px, the position to outside, keep the blend mode as normal, and select a color of your choice. Once done, press ‘ok’ on the stroke color option.

Step 4 – Click the + icon on the stroke option to add a 2nd stroke. Select that stroke, and proceed to change the numbers. Set your size to 20px, so that your first stroke is 10px in height and your second an additional 10px, and change the color accordingly.

Step 5 – Repeat step 4 as many times as you like for as many strokes as you like (adding 10px each time in my case), then press ‘ok’.

When you return to your document, you will see all the ‘stroke’ layers applied to the layer in question. Simply click them at any point to return to the ‘layer style’ box to make changes.

Old Method

For older versions of Photoshop, the ‘add stroke layer’ + button isn’t an option. If that is the case, try this method instead.

Step 1 – As before, first either draw out your object, type your text, or add your image, and select the individual layer in the layers panel.

Step 2 – Right click the layer and select ‘convert to smart object’.

On the layer panel, you should see the little icon appear, indicating the layer has changed from a type layer to a smart object.

Step 3 – Right click the layer and select ‘blending options’.

Step 4 – In the ‘layer style’ box, check the stroke option, and proceed to adjust your first stroke.

Again, I’m going to work in increments of 10px for each stroke, so as before, set the size to 10px, position to outside, blend mode as normal, as set a color. Press ‘ok’ on both boxes to return to the document.

Step 5 – Right click the layer with the stroke now added and select ‘duplicate layer’.

Step 6 – Feel free to change the name or keep it as a copy, and press ‘ok’.

Step 7 – Click and drag the duplicated layer in the layers panel below the first layer, so that we can add a bigger stroke and it will appear behind the first layer.

Step 8 – Repeat steps 4 and 5 by right clicking the layer, selecting ‘blending options’, and then adjusting the stroke. In my example, I’ve changed the size to 20px and set a different color. Once finished, click ‘ok’.

Step 9 – Repeat steps 5-8 as many times as you desire for as many strokes as you like. Remember, always duplicate the newest layer, then click and drag the duplicated layer underneath that layer in the layers panel. With each stroke, I added 10px each time and changed the color.

Step 10 (Optional) – This will explain the reason why we create a smart object in the first place. If we had simply duplicated the text layer each time, if we ever wanted to change the type or make changes, the changes would only happen to one layer, and not all of them.

Step 10a – If you want to change the type, object, or subject matter, select the original layer and double click the smart object icon to go into the smart object.

Step 10b – As you can see, I am now in ‘old school.psb’ which is the smart object document, and not the original document. Here I can make changes to the text.

Step 10c – Select the type tool on the left, click the text, and type out your new text.

Step 10d – Once you have typed out your new text, if the height or length of the text exceeds the area of the smart object, simply use the crop tool on the left hand side to drag out a canvas size that fits the new text, then click the tick (top bar to the right) or press enter.

Step 10e – Finally, all you have to do is save changes. Press cmd/ctrl + S to save, and then click the original psd file (top left tab) to return to the original document.

As you will then see, not only have your changes been saved, every single text layer has changed accordingly. You can at any time click the ‘stroke’ option in the layers panel of any of the text layers and return to the layer style box to make changes.

Adding multiple strokes to type and objects in Photoshop is such an awesome effect, but particularly back in the earlier days of Photoshop, it wasn’t the most straightforward of effects to figure out.

Hopefully, either of these methods has shown you how simple it is to add as many strokes as you like to type and objects on individual layers and go back and make changes at any time you like. Have fun!

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