Text Spline
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Create panel (Shapes) Splines Object Type rollout Text

Create menu Shapes Text

Use Text to create splines in the shape of text.

The text can use any Windows font installed on your system, or a Type 1 PostScript font installed in the directory pointed to by the Fonts path on the Configure System Paths dialog. Because fonts are loaded only at first use, changing the font path later has no immediate effect: once you have used the font manager, you must restart 3ds Max Design before you can use a new font path.

Examples of text

You can edit the text in the Create panel, or later in the Modify panel.

Using Text Shapes

Text shapes maintain the text as an editable parameter. You can change the text at any time. If the font used by your text is deleted from the system, 3ds Max Design still properly displays the text shape. However, to edit the text string in the edit box you must choose an available font.

The text in your scene is just a shape where each letter and, in some cases, pieces of each letter are individual splines. You can apply modifiers like Edit Spline, Bend, and Extrude to edit Text shapes just like any other shape.


To create text:

  1. Go to the Create panel and turn on (Shapes).
  2. Click Text.
  3. Enter text in the Text box.
  4. Do either of the following to define an insertion point:
    • Click in a viewport to place the text in the scene.
    • Drag the text into position and release the mouse button.

To enter a special Windows character:

  1. Hold down the Alt key.
  2. Enter the character's numeric value on the numeric keypad.

    You must use the numeric keypad, not the row of numbers above the alphabetic keys.

    For some characters, you must enter a leading zero. For example, 0233 to enter an e with an acute accent.

  3. Release the Alt key.


Settings available for text include kerning, leading, justification, multiple lines, and a manual update option.

Rendering and Interpolation rollouts

All spline-based shapes share these parameters. See Splines for an explanation of these parameters.

Parameters rollout

Once you have created text, you can make changes using the following parameters:

Font list

Choose from a list of all available fonts. Available fonts include:

Italic style button

Toggles italicized text.

Underline style button

Toggles underlined text.

Align Left

Aligns text to the left side of its bounding box.


Aligns text to the center of its bounding box.

Align Right

Aligns text to the right side of its bounding box.


Spaces all lines of text to fill the extents of the bounding box.

NoteThe four text-alignment buttons require multiple lines of text for effect because they act on the text in relation to its bounding box. If there's only one line of text, it's the same size as its bounding box.

Sets the text height where the height measuring method is defined by the active font. The first time you enter text, the default size is 100 units.


Adjusts the kerning (the distance between letters).


Adjusts the leading (the distance between lines). This has an effect only when multiple lines of text are included in the shape.

Text edit box

Allows for multiple lines of text. Press Enter after each line of text to start the next line.

  • The initial session default is "VIZ Text."
  • The initial session default is "MAX Text."
  • The edit box does not support word wrap.
  • You can cut and paste single- and multi-line text from the Clipboard.

Update group

These options let you select a manual update option for situations where the complexity of the text shape is too high for automatic updates.


Updates the text in the viewport to match the current settings in the edit box. This button is available only when Manual Update is on.

Manual Update

When on, the text that you type into the edit box is not shown in the viewport until you click the Update button.