Photoshop 101 - The Marquee Tool

The first in a new series on Photoshop Tools from a web perspective. The Marquee Tool is undoubtedly one of the most useful at your disposal and holds some unexpected capabilities.

A Tool for Daily Use

The Rectangular Marquee is one that you will use on a daily basis particularly for slicing up psds.

Tip: The shortcut key for the Marquee Tool is ‘M’. If you have the Photoshop window highlighted press M on the keyboard and this will select the Rectangular Marquee Tool.

Cutting out images and shapes

With the Rectangular Marquee Selected click, hold and drag the mouse over the part of the image that you want to turn into an image for use on the web. Then copy the selection using Apple + C (CTRL + C on Windows). If you are using a layered .psd then it is important that you remember to copy all layers rather than just the selected one. To do this hit Apple + Shift + C (CTRL + Shift + C on Windows). Then hit Apple + N (CTRL + N on Windows) to bring up a new document.

You will note it automatically selects the size of the image you have copied. Paste the image you have copied into the new window using Apple + V (CTRL + V on Windows). Finally save this image for the web. To bring up the Save for Web screen hit Apple + Alt + Shift + S (CTRL + Alt + Shift + S on Windows).

Selecting and saving an image
Selecting and saving an image

This is a task that I perform on a daily basis so learning the keyboard shortcuts can really save you time.

Returning to your original image you will note that your selection is still selected. To remove the selection hit the deselect shortcut: Apple + D (CTRL + D on Windows).

Getting a precise selection

Tip: I recommend using the Info box when you are making selections. To get this up hit F8. As you drag you will be able to see the size of your selection.

The Marquee tool has a number of options to help you get the precise selection. If you need a freehand selection though I recommend using the Lasso Tool. Playing with these tools is much better than describing them so I suggest you open Photoshop and see them in action.



In the menu bar at the top you will see a series of options:

Marquee Toolbar
Marquee Toolbar

Using the Marquee Tool with Free Transform

A powerful use of the Marquee Tool is to combine it with the Free Transform. Lets say for example you have pasted your selection into a new image and you want to fill out the rest of it. You can use the Marquee tool to select an area of the image that you want to expand. Once you have selected it hit Apple + T (CTRL + T on Windows) and you will see it changes to a box. Drag the box so it appears as you want it to. Then hit return to confirm your selection. If you don’t like your selection hit escape.

The Marquee Tool with Free Transform
The Marquee Tool with Free Transform


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See Also