Replacing Text in a Graphic

Question: I have a figure (a scientific graph), which I scanned. Now I want to edit the text on the graph. Could you tell me how I can do that?

Answer: If you scanned the graph into a graphics program then the entire graph forms a single image. You can edit this graph in the graphics program just like any other image. The simplest way to edit the text is to remove the text from your image completely and then add it again using the text tool.

For the purposes of demonstrating this I will assume that you're going to edit the image in Paint Shop Pro but other graphics programs will work similarly. The first step is to open the image in your graphics program.

original image

Now text in an image is no different from any other part of the image as far as your graphics program is concerned so the only way to edit the text is to completely remove the text and then enter new text into the graphic in its place. The first thing to do is to check that the background colour that you have set matches the background behind the text that you are going to remove. You can then use the selection tool (the button that looks like a dashed square in most graphics programs) to select the area around the text to be removed. Once the area containing the text is selected, pressing the delete key should replace the selected area with the background colour and the text will disappear. You repeat this process for each piece of text that you want to replace.

with the text removed

Once all of the unwanted text has been removed from the image you can use the text tool (the button that has a letter on it in most graphics programs) to enter the replacement text. First make sure that the foreground colour is set to the colour that you want to use for the text. Once you have selected the appropriate font, size, entered your text, and selected OK the text will appear on your image. If you place the mouse over the text and left click you will be able to drag the text to the exact location where you want it to appear. Right clicking will then fix the text in place.

If you position the text wrongly and decide to move it you can use the selection tool to select the area containing the text and then use the mouse to drag that area to the correct location. To place text on an angle first place it somewhere on your image where it doesn't interfere with anything else (you may want to use the 'Enlarge Canvas' option in the 'View' menu to give yourself more space around your image first). Select the area around the text to be rotated and then select 'Rotate' from the 'Image' menu to select the direction and angle of rotation. Now drag the rotated selection to where you want it and then select and delete the original.

the final result


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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