Using Adobe Photoshop to Add Callouts

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Once you've located a sample image from a FamilySearch Historical Records article that you are able to translate, follow the instructions below to add callouts of the genealogical data in English.

  1. Open the image in Photoshop.

  2. Resize the canvas to make sure that the callouts will fit around the image. To change the canvas size, go to Image and click on "Canvas Size... ."

  3. A box showing the current width and height of the canvas will pop up. Change either the width or the height manually. Adjusting one will automatically change the other. You can continue changing them until you find the size you would like. You can always make the canvas bigger at any point during your editing. Click "OK."

  4. Save the file type as a “Photoshop file” using the same file name as the image. At the end of this tutorial, you should have two files for this one image: the image file (.jpeg/.jpg) and the Photoshop file (.psd). Saving this Photoshop file allows you to come back later to make any other changes or edits to the callouts.

  5. Next, make a new layer to put your callouts on. To do this, go to Layer and select "New."

    The new layer will show up in your layer box, typically in the bottom right-hand corner. You can name your new layer "Callouts."

  6. Now, start adding callouts. Select the "Custom Shape Tool" on the toolbar by right-clicking on the "Rectangle Tool."

  7. At the top of the screen on the "Options" bar choose the paths option.

  8. Further to the right on the "Options" bar, click the drop-down box called "Shape." This opens a list of shapes you can choose from.

  9. The callout (or talk bubble) option will not appear immediately. You need to click the small arrow to pull up the next set of drop-down options. Select "Talk Bubbles."

  10. Scroll through the different shapes of callouts. We want to choose the rounded rectangular callout; these are circled in the image below.

  11. Once selected, you can click and drag anywhere around the image to create the callout.

  12. The callout may go off the canvas. You can adjust the canvas size to fit all the callout on the image. The callout has created a new "Work Path." You can access the "Path" in the "layers, Channels, Paths" box.

    Note: As you place callouts, try to keep them off of the text of the record as much as possible. You may use the blank spaces of the record to place callouts.

Guidelines for callouts:

  • The outline weight (thickness) must be at least 1.5 pt and not greater than 2.25 pt (=”Size” (pixels) and “Hardness” in Photoshop; see image to the right)
  • The outline must be black (=”Stroke Path” in Photoshop)
  • Set the background color to white (="Fill" in Photoshop)
  • Use black text

13. To make the foreground (outline of callout) color black, click the brush tool on the main toolbar.


14. Under the "Options" menu at the top you can select the diameter of the brush. To change the size/weight/thickness of the callout outline, choose size 11 (px) and 100% hardness from.


15. In the "Paths" box, select the "Stroke Path." This adds the border to the callout.


16. You want to fill the callout with white, that is, change the background color to white. You repeat the steps above, but use the "Fill" option in the "Paths" box.


Your callout will look similar to this:


17. With the "Move" tool, you can move the callout wherever you need to. If necessary, adjust the size of the canvas to fit the entire callout.


18. If you need to adjust the size of the callout, click "Edit" and select "Free Transform." The other "Transform" functions include rotating the callout.


19. Click the "Path" box once the callout looks how you would like and drag the path to the recycling bin at the bottom of the box, so that the path disappears and leaves only the callout.

Hint: If you create one callout and format the size, color, and outline weight, you can copy and paste to create more without having to reformat the shape each time you create one. To do this, create a new layer and paste the copied callout on that layer; repeat this step for each callout you create.

20. Lastly, you want to add the text to the callouts. In the main toolbar, select the "T" for text.


21. Click and drag inside the callout to create a text box. Start typing inside the text box. You may keep the text simple by merely typing "Birth name," "Mother's name," "Place of death," etc.
Note: Creating a text box makes another layer in your "Layer" panel. Switch back to the "callout" layer and select the "Move" tool to move the text box around. Adjust both layers to make the text fit inside the callout.


22. When you’re finished adding all of the callouts necessary, crop out any remaining unused canvas space (white space).

FYI: These are other instructions that may help with adding "Talk Bubbles" in Photoshop. For both, or any other instructions about this topic, please follow the guidelines for creating callouts given in step 12:

23. Save the file.

24. Now save the file as an image file (.jpeg/.jpg) by doing the following:

  • Click File and select “Save As"
  • Select the same folder location where you saved the image from the FamilySearch article
  • In the drop-down menu next to “Save as type:”, select JPEG
  • Use the same file name
  • When a dialog appears asking if you want to replace the existing file of the same file name, select yes

25. Email the Photoshop (.psd) file and image (.jpeg/.jpg) file to

Thank you for your help!