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Chapter 4. Making Selections > Using the Marquee Tools

Using the Marquee Tools

The Rectangular and Elliptical Marquee tools are the easiest and most straightforward selection tools to use. With these tools, you can select rectangular or oval (elliptical) areas. You can also select a perfectly square or circular area. You will often want to move the selection area (or marquee) to get it aligned perfectly, and Photoshop Elements offers a couple ways to do this quickly and easily.

To make a rectangular or elliptical selection:

1.
From the toolbar, choose either the Rectangular Marquee (M) or Elliptical Marquee (Shift-M) tool (Figure 4.8).

Figure 4.8. Simple geometric selections can be made with the Rectangular or Elliptical Marquee tools.


The default setting on the options bar creates a new selection (Figure 4.9). See “Adjusting Selections” later in this chapter for more information on other options when creating selections.

Figure 4.9. The default setting on the options bar creates a new selection.


2.
Click and drag to choose the selection area (Figure 4.10).

Figure 4.10. After selecting one of the marquee tools, just click and drag to make a selection.


Tips

  • To select a perfect square or circle, hold down the Shift key while making your selection (Figure 4.11).

    Figure 4.11. To select a perfect square or circle, hold down the Shift key while dragging.

  • You can draw the marquee from the center outward by holding down Alt/Option (Figure 4.12).

    Figure 4.12. To draw a selection from the center outward, hold down the Alt/Option key.

  • To toggle between marquee tools, press Shift+M. In fact, this works for any tool with hidden tools—simply hold down the Shift key while you press the keyboard shortcut to toggle through all of the choices.

  • To select all pixels on a layer, press Ctrl+A/Command+A. This creates a selection around your entire image window, and is useful when you want to make universal color corrections or special effects to your image.


To reposition a selection border:

1.
Once you’ve made a selection, and with the New selection icon active, position the pointer anywhere inside the selection area.

The pointer becomes an arrow with a small selection icon next to it (Figure 4.13). Note that if the Add to, Subtract from, or Intersect with icons are active, then the pointer indicates that choice and the selection can’t be moved.

Figure 4.13. To move the selection area, position the pointer within the selection boundary.


2.
Click and drag to reposition the selection area.

The pointer arrow changes to solid black as you move the selection (Figure 4.14).

Figure 4.14. Drag the selection border to a new location.


Tip

  • You can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move a selection in 1-pixel increments. Holding down the Shift key changes the movement to 10-pixel increments.


To reposition a selection border while making a selection:

1.
Click and drag to create the selection area.

2.
While keeping the mouse button pressed, press the spacebar.

3.
Move the selection area to the desired location and release the spacebar and mouse button (Figure 4.15).

Figure 4.15. To move the border during a selection, just press the spacebar while holding down the mouse button and adjust the border’s location.


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