Scale layers proportionally

Updated in the October 2018 release of Photoshop CC (version 20.0)

When transforming most layer types such as pixel layers, type layers, bitmaps, Placed Smart Objects, simply drag a corner handle to scale these layer types proportionally. Holding down the Shift key while dragging a corner handle during transform, scales these layer types non-proportionally.

However, shapes and paths (that is vectors) scale non-proportionally by default when you drag a corner handle during transform.

For instructions, see Transform freely.

How do I turn off the new proportional scaling by default behavior while transforming layers?

To revert to the legacy transform behavior, do the following:

  1. Use Notepad (Windows) or a text editor on Mac OS to create a plain text file (.txt).

  2. Type the text below in the text file:

    TransformProportionalScale 0

  3. (Windows) Save the file as "PSUserConfig.txt" to your Photoshop settings folder.
    [Installation Drive]:\Users\[User Name]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CC 2019\Adobe Photoshop CC 2019 Settings\

    (macOS) Do the following:

    1. Save the file as "PSUserConfig.txt" to the desktop.
    2. Control-click PSUserConfig.txt saved at the desktop and choose Copy from the pop-up menu.
    3. In the Finder, choose Go > Go To Folder.
    4. In the Go To Folder dialog box, type ~/Library/Preferences/Adobe Photoshop CC 2019 Settings/
    5. Paste the copied file at this location.

  4. Restart Photoshop.

Transform freely

The Free Transform command lets you apply transformations (rotate, scale, skew, distort, and perspective) in one continuous operation. You can also apply a warp transformation. Instead of choosing different commands, you simply hold down a key on your keyboard to switch between transformation types.

Note:

If you are transforming a shape or entire path, the Transform command becomes the Transform Path command. If you are transforming multiple path segments (but not the entire path), the Transform command becomes the Transform Points command.

  1. Select what you want to transform.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Choose Edit > Free Transform.

    • If you are transforming a selection, pixel-based layer, or selection border, choose the Move tool . Then select Show Transform Controls in the options bar.

    • If you are transforming a vector shape or path, select the Path Selection tool . Then select Show Transform Controls in the options bar.

  3. Do one or more of the following:
    • To scale by dragging, do one of the following depending on the layer type you are transforming:
      • If you are scaling layer types such as pixel layers, type layers, bitmaps, Placed Smart Objects, drag a corner handle to scale proportionately. Press Shift as you drag a corner handle to scale non-proportionately. 
      • If you are scaling shapes and paths (that is vectors), drag a corner handle to scale non-proportionally. Press Shift as you drag a corner handle to scale proportionally.
    • To scale numerically, enter percentages in the Width and Height text boxes in the options bar. Click the Link icon  to maintain the aspect ratio.

    • To rotate by dragging, move the pointer outside the bounding border (it becomes a curved, two‑sided arrow), and then drag. Press Shift to constrain the rotation to 15° increments.

    • To rotate numerically, enter degrees in the rotation text box  in the options bar.

    • To distort relative to the center point of the bounding border, press Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS), and drag a handle.

    • To distort freely, press Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac OS), and drag a handle.

    • To skew, press Ctrl+Shift (Windows) or Command+Shift (Mac OS), and drag a side handle. When positioned over a side handle, the pointer becomes a white arrowhead with a small double arrow.

    • To skew numerically, enter degrees in the H (horizontal skew) and V (vertical skew) text boxes in the options bar.

    • To apply perspective, press Ctrl+Alt+Shift (Windows) or Command+Option+Shift (Mac OS), and drag a corner handle. When positioned over a corner handle, the pointer becomes a gray arrowhead.

    • To warp, click the Switch Between Free Transform And Warp Modes button  in the options bar. Drag control points to manipulate the shape of the item or choose a warp style from the Warp pop‑up menu in the options bar. After choosing from the Warp pop‑up menu, a square handle is available for adjusting the shape of the warp.

    • To change the reference point, click a square on the reference point locator  in the options bar.

    • To move an item, enter values for the new location of the reference in the X (horizontal position) and Y (vertical position) text boxes in the options bar. Click the Relative Positioning button  to specify the new position in relation to the current position.

    Note:

    To undo the last handle adjustment, choose Edit > Undo.

  4. Do one of the following to commit the transformation:

    • Select a new tool.
    • Click a layer in the Layers panel. (This action auto-commits changes and also selects the layer.)
    • Click outside the canvas area in the document window.
    • Click outside the bounding box in the canvas area.
    • Press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac OS), click the Commit button  in the options bar, or double-click inside the transformation marquee.

    To cancel the transformation, press Esc or click the Cancel button  in the options bar.

    Note:

    When you transform a bitmap image (versus a shape or path), the image becomes slightly less sharp each time you commit a transformation; therefore, performing multiple commands before applying the cumulative transformation is preferable to applying each transformation separately.

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