Select a shape tool or a Pen tool. In CS6, make sure Shape is chosen from the menu in the options bar. In CS5, make sure that the Shape Layers button is selected.
The shape tools provide an easy way to create buttons, navigation bars, and other items used on web pages. For an overview of all drawing features in Photoshop, see About drawing.
Create a shape on a shape layer
- To constrain a rectangle or rounded rectangle to a square, to constrain an ellipse to a circle, or to constrain the line angle to a multiple of 45 degrees, hold down Shift.
- To draw from the center out, position the pointer where you want the center of the shape to be, press Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS), and then drag diagonally to any corner or edge until the shape is the desired size.
Drawing from the corner (left) and drawing from the center (right)
Drawing from the center out is the default behavior of the Star tool in Illustrator and the Polygon tool in Illustrator and Photoshop.
Creating, editing, and working with shape layers
Photoshop team member Jeanne Rubbo shows you how to create, edit, and work with shape layers in a series of informative videos. Learn how to:
For more information, see Drawing and type tools gallery.
Draw multiple shapes in a layer
You can draw separate shapes on a layer, or use the Add, Subtract, Intersect, or Exclude options to modify the current shape on a layer.
Draw a wheel shape
You cut out a shape within an existing shape so that the layers underneath show through. This procedure shows you how to create a doughnut shape, but you can use this technique with any combination of the shape tools, including custom shapes.
Draw a custom shape
You can draw custom shapes by using shapes from the Custom Shape pop-up panel, or save a shape or path to use as a custom shape.
If you don’t find a shape you want in the panel, click the arrow in the upper right corner of the panel, and choose a different category of shapes. When asked to replace current shapes, click either Replace to view only the shapes in the new category or Append to add to the shapes already displayed.
Save a shape or path as a custom shape
For more information, see Work with the Preset Manager.
Create a rasterized shape
When you create a rasterized shape, you’re drawing and rasterizing a shape and filling it with the foreground color. You cannot edit a rasterized shape as a vector object. Raster shapes are created using the current foreground color.
Controls how the shape will affect the existing pixels in the image. (See Blending modes.)
Determines to what degree the shape will obscure or reveal the pixels beneath it. A shape with 1% opacity appears nearly transparent, while one with 100% opacity appears completely opaque.
Shape tool options
Each shape tool provides a unique subset of the options below. To access these options, click the arrow to the right of the row of shape buttons in the options bar.
Accessing shape tool options in the options bar (Line options shown)
Arrowheads Start And End
Adds arrowheads to a line. Select the Line tool and then select Start to add an arrow to the beginning of the line; select End to add an arrow to the end of the line. Select both options to add arrows to both ends. The shape options appear in the pop-up dialog box. Enter values for Width and Length to specify the proportions of the arrowhead as a percentage of the line width (10% to 1000% for Width, and 10% to 5000% for Length). Enter a value for the concavity of the arrowhead (from –50% to +50%). The concavity value defines the amount of curvature on the widest part of the arrowhead, where the arrowhead meets the line.
You can also edit an arrowhead directly using the vector selection and drawing tools.
Renders a rectangle, rounded rectangle, ellipse, or custom shape as a fixed shape based on the values you enter in the Width and Height text boxes.
Indent Sides By
Renders a polygon as a star. Enter a percentage in the text box to specify the portion of the star’s radius taken up by the points. A 50% setting creates points that are half the total radius of the star; a larger value creates sharper, thinner points; a smaller value creates fuller points.
Renders a rectangle, rounded rectangle, or ellipse as a proportional shape based on the values you enter in the Width and Height text boxes.
For rounded rectangles, specifies the corner radius. For polygons, specifies the distance from the center of a polygon to the outer points.
Lets you set the width and height of a rectangle, rounded rectangle, ellipse, or custom shape by dragging.
To change stroke width for other shape tools, choose Layer > Layer Style > Stroke. (See Apply or edit a custom layer style.)
A shape is a fill layer linked to a vector mask. You can easily change the fill to a different color, a gradient, or a pattern by editing the shape’s fill layer. You can also edit the shape’s vector mask to modify the shape outline, and apply a style to the layer.
- To change the color of a shape, double-click the shape layer’s thumbnail in the Layers panel, and choose a different color using the Color Picker.
- To fill a shape with a pattern or gradient, select the shape layer in the Layers panel and choose Layer > Layer Style > Gradient Overlay.
- To change stroke width, select the shape layer in the Layers panel, and choose Layer >Layer Style > Stroke.
- To modify the outline of a shape, click the shape layer’s vector mask thumbnail in the Layers panel or Paths panel. Then change the shape using the Direct Selection and pen tools.
- To move a shape without changing its size or proportions, use the Move tool.