Crop an image

The Crop tool removes the part of an image surrounding the crop marquee, or selection. Cropping is useful for removing distracting background elements and creating a focus for your photo. By default, when you crop a photo, the resolution remains the same as the original photo. Using the Photo Ratio option allows you to view and modify the size and resolution when cropping a photo. If you use a preset size, the resolution changes to fit the preset.

Crop an image
Crop a photo to remove some of the distracting background.

  1. Select the Crop tool .

  2. From the Tool Options bar, select a cropping guide that meets your requirement. You can choose one of Rule of Thirds, Grid, or None. For more information on cropping guides, see the section on Use guides for better cropping results in this article.

  3. If you want to use a resolution other than that of the original photo, select one of the following options from the Aspect Ratio menu or specify new custom values in the Width and Height boxes in the options bar:

    No Restriction

    Lets you resize the image to any dimension.

    Use Photo Ratio

    Displays the original aspect ratio of the photo when you crop. The Width and Height boxes show the values that are used for the cropped image. The Resolution box allows you to change the image resolution.

    Preset Size

    Specifies a preset size for the cropped photo. If you want your final output to be a specific size, such as 4 x 6 inches to fit a picture frame, choose that preset size.

    Note:

    When you specify values for the Width and Height boxes, the Aspect Ratio menu changes to Custom.

  4. Drag over the part of the image you want to keep. When you release the mouse button, the crop marquee appears as a bounding box with handles at the corners and sides.

  5. (Optional) Adjust the crop marquee by doing any of the following:
    • To change the preset size or aspect ratio, choose new values from the Aspect Ratio menu in the options bar.
    • To move the marquee to another position, place the pointer inside the bounding box and click-drag, or use the arrow keys to move the marquee.
    • To resize the marquee, drag a handle. (If you choose No Restriction from the Aspect Ratio menu, you can constrain the proportions while scaling by holding down Shift as you drag a corner handle.)
    • To swap Width and Height values, click the Swap icon  in the options bar.
    • To rotate the marquee, position the pointer outside the bounding box (the pointer turns into a curved arrow ), and drag. (You can’t rotate the crop marquee for an image in Bitmap mode.)

      Note: You can change the color and opacity of the crop shield (the cropped area surrounding the image) by changing the Crop tool preferences. Choose Edit > Preferences > Display & Cursors and specify a new Color and Opacity value in the Crop Tool area of the Preferences dialog box. If you don’t want to see a colored shield while cropping, deselect Use Shield.

  6. Click the green Commit button  located in the lower-right corner of the marquee, or double-click the bounding box to finish the cropping. If you want to cancel the cropping operation, click the red Cancel button  or press Esc.

    Click the Commit button to accept a crop
    Click the Commit button to accept a crop.

Crop to a selection boundary

Using the Crop command, you can remove the areas that fall outside the current selection. When you crop to a selection boundary, Photoshop Elements trims the image to the bounding box that contains the selection. (Irregularly shaped selections, such as those made by using the Lasso tool, are cropped to a rectangular bounding box that contains the selection.) If you use the Crop command without first making a selection, Photoshop Elements trims the image by 50 pixels from each visible edge.

  1. Use any selection tool, such as the Rectangular Marquee tool , to select the part of the image you want to keep.

  2. Choose Image > Crop.

Automatic cropping suggestions

The Crop tool and technique is an essential part of the photo editing workflow. From Photoshop Elements 13, the Crop tool automatically displays four ready-to-use suggestions. You can choose the best crop for your needs from one of them. You can also continue to crop as much as you want to, after taking one of the four suggestions or rejecting all four suggestions.

Automatic cropping
Original image

Four suggestions, as recommended by Photoshop Elements
Four suggestions, as recommended by Photoshop Elements

To use the automatic cropping suggestions:

  1. Open a photograph in Photoshop Elements.
  2. Choose the Crop tool. Four thumbnails displaying the automatic suggestions are visible in the Tool Options box.
  3. Click a thumbnail that you think is the best fit. However, you can look at more suggestions when you select a different aspect ratio from the drop-down in the tool options.

Note:

Hovering your mouse pointer on the suggestions in the Tool Options box will present a preview of how the particular crop suggestion.

Use guides for better cropping results

The following overlay options are available in the crop tool:

Rule of Thirds

Breaks the image in thirds, horizontally and vertically (equidistant lines) into nine parts thus providing a better visual aid to decide a crop. You can commit or cancel a crop suggestion. The crop overlay is decided based on the W and H options in the options bar. For example, your main subject (A tree, person, or animal) can be at 2/3rd of the horizon coinciding with one of the lines.

Grid

Creates a grid guide on the image. Use the grid to position objects before you crop the image.

None

No crop guide overlay is displayed inside the bounding box.

Perspective Crop tool

Introduced in Photoshop Elements 15

The Perspective Crop tool lets you transform the perspective of a picture while cropping it. This is especially useful when you have an image with keystone or barrel distortion. Distortion occurs when an object is photographed from an angle rather than from a straight on view, or when wide-angle lenses are used to photograph a large expanse of an object. For example, if you take a picture of a tall building from the ground level, the edges of the building appear closer to each other at the top than they do at the bottom.

  1. Open a photo in Photoshop Elements.

  2. In Expert mode, from the Modify section of the toolbox, select the Perspective Crop tool.

  3. Draw a marquee around the object that you want to correct the perspective of while cropping the image to the area of the marquee.

    Perspective Crop tool
    Marquee drawn using the Perspective Crop tool.

  4. Use the corners of the selection to modify the shape of the marquee. Hover your mouse pointer on any corner, and when the pointer turns white, click and move the corner.

    Note:

    For best results, move the corners to align the vertical edge of the marquee with a pattern or object in the photo that should appear vertical.

    Perspective Crop tool
    Modify the shape of the marquee to align the vertical lines in the image.

  5. (Optional) In the tool options area, provide values for the width (W), height (H), and the Resolution boxes. The final image is transformed to this height, width, and resolution.

    Perspective Crop tool
    Perspective Crop tool options

  6. Click to transform the perspective and crop the image to the region of the marquee.

    Perspective Crop tool
    Final, perspective-corrected image.

The Cookie Cutter tool crops a photo into a shape that you choose. After you drag the shape in your photo, you can move and resize the bounding box until you have just the area you want.

The Cookie Cutter tool
Use the Cookie Cutter tool to clip a photo into a fun shape.

  1. Select the Cookie Cutter tool.

  2. Click the Cookie Cutter pop-up menu in the Tool Options bar, and select a shape. To view other libraries, select a different library from the Shapes drop-down.

  3. Double-click a shape to select it.
  4. Set Shape Options:

    Unconstrained

    Draws the shape to any size or dimension.

    Defined Proportions

    Keeps the height and width of the cropped shape in proportion.

    Defined Size

    Crops the photo to the exact size of the shape you chose.

    Fixed Size

    Specifies the exact measurements of the finished shape. The measurements are picked up from the height and width settings that you provide.

    From Center

    Draws the shape from the center.

    Feather

    Decides how soft the edges of the finished shape must be. Feathering softens the edges of the cropped image so that the edges fade out and blend into the background.

    Crop

    Select to trim the image to the bounding box that contains the shape created

  5. Drag within the image to create the shape boundary and move it to the desired location in the image.
  6. Click the Commit button , or press Enter to finish the cropping. If you want to cancel the cropping operation, click the Cancel button  or press Esc.

Change the size of the canvas

The canvas is the workspace around an existing image, within the image window. It is the full editable area of an image. You can increase or decrease the size of the canvas, on any side of an image. Added canvas appears in the currently selected background color on the Background layer (by default), or selected canvas extension color from the Canvas size window. In other layers, the added canvas is transparent.

Change the size of a canvas
Increasing the size of the canvas makes room for a colored border.

  1. Choose Image > Resize > Canvas Size.

  2. Do one of the following:
    • In the Width and Height boxes, enter the full dimensions of the new canvas. Choose the units of measurement you want from the adjacent drop-downs.
    • Select Relative, and enter the amount by which you want to increase or decrease the size of the canvas. Enter a negative number to decrease the size of the canvas. Use this option if you want to increase the canvas by a specified amount, such as 2 inches on each side.
  3. Click an arrow on the Anchor icon to indicate the position at which the existing image should be, on the new canvas.

  4. To change the color of the added canvas, choose an option from the Canvas Extension Color menu and click OK.

Straighten an image

Camera shake may cause an image to be improperly aligned. For example, the horizon in the picture of a  sunset may not be perfectly horizontal. In Photoshop Elements, you can realign the photo to cause the horizon to be perfectly horizontal. You can use the Straighten tool (P) to realign an image vertically or horizontally. If necessary, choose to also automatically resize or crops the canvas to accommodate straightening of the image.

  • In Quick mode, with the Straighten tool (P) active, simply draw a line along the horizon (if visible). If not visible, draw a line that you consider must represent the horizontal axis of the photo.
    The photo is straightened, and depending on the option you chose, any empty edges created are automatically filled.

Manually straighten an image in Expert mode

  1. Select the Straighten tool.

  2. Choose from the available option buttons:

    Grow Or Shrink Canvas To Fit

    Resizes the canvas to fit the rotated image. Straightening causes corners of the image to fall outside the current canvas. The straightened image will contain areas of blank background, but no pixels are clipped.

    Crop To Remove Background

    Crops the image to remove any blank background area that becomes visible after straightening. Some pixels will be clipped.

    Crop To Original Size

    Keeps the canvas the same size as the original image. The straightened image will include areas of blank background and some pixels will be clipped.

    Straightening and cropping to remove the background
    Straightening and cropping to remove the background

    Note:

    The three straighten options are enabled when the Rotate All Layers options is enabled.

  3. To straighten the image, do one of the following:
    • To align horizontally, draw a line along an edge that should be horizontal. For example, you may have the image of a train with an improperly aligned horizon. Draw a horizontal line parallel to the train.
    Align horizontally
    • To align vertically, draw a line along an edge that should be vertical. For example, you may have the image of a tower that is improperly aligned. Draw a vertical line parallel to the tower.
    Align vertically

Automatically fill empty edges

The Straighten tool has an enhanced option to automatically fill the edges with relevant image data intelligently, instead of filling in background color or transparent pixels.

The Autofill edges option is available only in the Grow or Shrink and Original Size modes. Before you draw a line to enable image straightening, select the Autofill edges checkbox. When you draw the line, any gaps created along the edges of the photo are automatically and intelligently filled.

Manually straighten an image in Quick mode

  1. Select the Straighten tool.

  2. Choose from the available option buttons:

    Maintain Canvas Size

    Resizes the canvas to fit the rotated image. Straightening causes corners of the image to fall outside the current canvas. The straightened image will contain areas of blank background, but no pixels are clipped.

    Maintain Image Size

    Resizes the image to remove any blank background area that becomes visible after straightening. Some pixels will be clipped.

  3. To straighten the image, do one of the following:
    • To align horizontally, draw a line along an edge that should be horizontal. For example, you may have the image of a train with an improperly aligned horizon. Draw a horizontal line parallel to the train.
    • To align vertically, draw a line along an edge that should be vertical. For example, you may have the image of a tower that is improperly aligned. Draw a vertical line parallel to the tower.

Automatically fill empty edges

The Straighten tool has an enhanced option to automatically fill the edges with relevant image data intelligently, instead of filling in background color or transparent pixels.

Before you draw a line to enable image straightening, select the Autofill edges checkbox. When you draw the line, any gaps created along the edges of the photo are automatically and intelligently filled.

Automatically straighten an image

  • To automatically straighten the image and leave the canvas around the image, choose Image > Rotate > Straighten Image. The straightened image contains areas of blank background, but no pixels are clipped.
  • To automatically straighten and crop the image, choose Image > Rotate > Straighten And Crop Image. The straightened image does not contain areas of blank background, but some pixels are clipped.

Divide a scanned image containing multiple photos

If you scanned several pictures at once on a flatbed scanner, you can automatically divide and straighten the scanned image into its component photos. The photos must have a clear separation between them.

Divide a scanned image
Separating images scanned from one page into three separate images

  • Choose Image > Divide Scanned Photos. Photoshop Elements automatically divides the image and places each photo in a separate file.

    Note:

    For images with white around the border (images of light skies, snow, and so on), this command works best if you cover the image on the scanner with a piece of dark paper.

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