How to create a text post on TikTok

The social video site TikTok may consider itself to be the self-expression capital of the internet. Still, while it’s been the domain for endless streams of vertical videos, it lacked something from nearly all the other sites worldwide for the longest time: text posts. Threads and X (the artist formerly known as Twitter) are vying to make them hot again, and it seems the Chinese-owned platform has finally decided to join in. If you want to tap out long prose for your followers, here’s how you can do that on TikTok.

The company announced the feature in late July 2023. While its debut did get caught in the wake of the Elon Musk-Mark Zuckerberg corporate rivalry flare-up of the moment, the lack of a text-only mode was somewhat of a sore point for many TikTok users. Sure, you could plop some words over a photo or video, but that requires some effort on your part with the camera. The app’s text features also aren’t as rich as what Instagram offers when users there post to their stories.

How to create a text post on TikTok

Open up TikTok, then hit the Create (+) button sitting center stage at the bottom. Then, move the mode carousel away from its default position of Photo over to Text.

You’ll be taken straight to a draft editor.

If you’re familiar with editing text in the other modes on TikTok, you’ll more or less have no trouble doing that here. The top row has formatting options, including outline styling, text justification, and a cadre of typeface options. The row below that one is your color wheel for the text (or the outlining, depending on the style you’ve chosen). The vertical slider on the left side controls font size – there’s a smaller maximum size allowed for text posts than multimedia posts. You can also insert emoji to your heart’s content.

You can’t easily create multiple text blocks with different styles or spin and scale them with gesture controls. Some blank line returns will generate an unknown character symbol in that space. We don’t know why, but we’ll take it as a sign that text posts came out of the oven underdone.

Another sign that that is the case is the lack of an obvious background colour toggle. The company listed this as one of the customizations users could adjust, but it doesn’t seem like we can change that now. Guess we’ll have to be content with black for the time being.

At the top, you can choose some music to go with your post – you can select a 15-second selection from 1-minute cuts of licensed music or pick up excerpts from other TikTok videos. Another note in the audio department: you can’t select an AI-generated voice to narrate your text.


Going down the column of buttons in the top-right corner:

  • Drafts can be saved if you back out of the editor midway through creating a post. You can access and resume work on them by tapping on this button. The button is broken as of time of writing – I had two drafts on my account and could only access them from my profile page, not the editor.
  • Stickers brings you to an array of wonderful designs. You can also decide to upload your own pictures, search for GIFs, or put in interactive elements like @mentions or polls.
  • Privacy settings are relatively self-explanatory, but you can set your post to be viewable by everyone, just your friends (people you follow who follow you back), or only you. You can also set that audience choice as your default and toggle whether you’ll allow comments on the post. At some point, TikTok will allow other users to Duet with text posts – you would presumably need to allow this as well – but we don’t see a permission for that here.

When you’re ready to publish, you can hit either of the buttons at the bottom to post to Your Story where it will disappear after 24 hours, or Post to Feed.

As we’ve repeatedly noted, we expect TikTok to fix up the rough patches and put in some missing pieces, so don’t be surprised if things change slightly from what we’ve described here.

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