Adding Text to Images in iPhoto 7 (iLife 08)

This request seems to come up regularly and I wanted to share my preferred method here…

Since iPhoto 7 allows you to use images as the background on text pages, it’s finally possible to add text to any given image, although it’s not obvious how to do so. It envolves first creating a book and then importing its pages as images back into iPhoto.

Collect Your Images

Place all images you want to add text to in an album and click the Book button. I use the Contemporary theme here for its clean and simple looks.

Adjust Settings

The new book will show up in the sidebar, select it and click Settings at the bottom of the iPhoto window. Here you need to uncheck Show page numbers. Note that your font selection will probably look a bit different from mine.

Change the Page Layout

Scroll past the cover and inside flap to the first page of your book. From the Layout button’s pop-up menu select option #2, the plain text page.

Place Your Background Image

Click the Background button and choose option #3, then place your image onto the page.

Place Your Text

Click in the text field and enter your text. To better control the font specs (type face, size, colour, alignment etc.) you might want to resort to Text Edit. It actually makes things a lot easier to prepare your text there, make any adjustments and then copy&paste the text back into iPhoto’s text fields; adjust vertical positioning by simply adding empty lines above the text.

Continue with your other images…


Once you’re pleased with everything, select Print…

…and from the PDF button’s pop-up menu select Safe PDF to iPhoto – this initiates the conversion process.

After a little while you will be prompted to save the converted images to a new album; I simply called mine Title Images and hit Continue.

And There They Are…

In your newly created album you will find your images with the added texts at a size of 2200 by 1700 pixels (200 PPI). You can now use them just like any other images in iPhoto for slideshows etc. However if you want to place them as full-page covers in a book, you’d want a higher resolution than is provided by the standard option Safe PDF to iPhoto. I have created an Automator Workflow for this purpose that you can download here.

Place the file Save PDF to iPhoto 300 PPI.workflow into Macintosh HD > Library > PDF Services. If it doesn’t show up in iPhoto’s print dialogue right away, simply restart iPhoto and try again.