Move a selection

The Move tool lets you cut and drag a pixel selection to a new location in the photo. You can also use the tool to move or copy selections between photos in Photoshop Elements, and to photos in other applications that support selections.

Move a selection
Moving a selection from one photo into another using the Move tool

Note:

To activate the Move tool when another tool is selected, hold down Ctrl (Command in Mac OS). (This technique does not work when the Hand tool is selected.)

  1. In the Edit workspace, make a selection with a selection tool and select the Move tool from the toolbox.

  2. (Optional) Change Move tool settings in the options bar.
  3. Move the pointer inside the selection border, and drag the selection to a new position. If you’ve selected multiple areas, all pixel selections move as you drag.

Move tool options

When you select the Move tool, you can change the following settings in the options bar:

Auto Select Layer

Selects the topmost layer that has pixels under the Move tool cursor, rather than the currently selected layer.

Show Bounding Box

Displays the bounding box around the selection in the image, or around the currently selected layer (if there is no active selection on the image). The boxes on the sides and corners allow you to resize the selection or layer.

Note:

A bounding box is not visible for a Background layer.

Show Highlight On Rollover

Highlights individual layers as the mouse hovers over the image. Click on a highlighted layer to select and move it. Layers that are already selected do not highlight on rollover.

Arrange menu

Moves the selected layer in front, in between, or in back of other layers. Options include Bring To Front, Bring Forward, Send Backward, and Send To Back. To arrange a layer, select the layer, and then choose an item from the Arrange menu.

Align menu

Aligns the selected layers. Options include Top Edges, Vertical Centers, Bottom Edges, Left Edges, Horizontal Centers, and Right Edges. Multiple layers can be aligned simultaneously. To align layers, select a layer, hold down Shift, select another layer, and then choose an item from the Align menu.

Distribute menu

Spaces selected layers equally apart. Options include Top Edges, Vertical Centers, Bottom Edges, Left Edges, Horizontal Centers, and Right Edges. Multiple layers can be spaced simultaneously. For this option to be enabled, you must have a minimum of three selected layers. To space layers apart, select a layer, hold down Shift, select other layers, and then choose an item from the Distribute menu.

Copying selections or layers

You can copy and paste selections using the Move tool or the Copy, Copy Merged, Cut, Paste, or Paste Into Selection commands in the Edit menu.

Keep in mind that when a selection or layer is pasted between photos with different resolutions, the pasted data retains its original pixel dimensions. This can make the pasted portion appear out of proportion to the new image. Use the Image > Resize > Image Size command to make the source and destination photos the same resolution before copying and pasting.

Selections that you cut or copy are stored in the clipboard. Only one selection is stored in the clipboard at a time.

Copy selections with the Move tool

When copying between photos, drag the selection from the active image window into the other image window. A border highlights the image window when you can drop the selection into it.

  1. Select the part of the image you want to copy.
  2. In the Edit workspace, select the Move tool  from the toolbox.
  3. Press Alt (Option in Mac OS) while dragging the selection you want to copy and move.
  4. To make additional copies of the same selection, do one of the following:
    • Hold down Alt (Option in Mac OS) while dragging the selection to each new location.
    • To offset the duplicate by 1 pixel, hold down Alt (Option in Mac OS), and press an arrow key. (This moves the pixels and copies the pixels, creating a blur effect.)
    • To offset the duplicate by 10 pixels, press Alt (Option in Mac OS) + Shift and press an arrow key. (This moves the pixels rather than copying them.)

    Note:

    When you drag a selection (with Shift key pressed) from one image to another image, the selection is pasted at the center.

Copy a selection using commands

  1. In the Edit workspace, use a selection tool to select the area you want to copy.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Choose Edit > Copy to copy the selection to the clipboard.
    • Choose Edit > Copy Merged to copy all layers in the selected area to the clipboard.

Paste one selection into another

You can use the Paste Into Selection command to paste clipboard, or copied content, within a selection. This command lets you take advantage of elements within the selected area and prevent the pasted image from looking flat and unnatural. For example, you can use a Hard Light blending mode at 85% opacity to retain the reflection in a pair of sunglasses. When using blending modes this way, you need to create a new layer and paste the selection into that layer.

Copying a selection from one image to another
Copying a selection from one image to another

A. Part of the original photo selected B. Photo to copy and paste into original C. Resulting image 
  1. In the Edit workspace, use the Copy command to copy the part of the photo you want to paste. (You can even copy from photos in other applications.)
  2. Make a selection in the photo into which you want to paste the copied photo.
  3. Choose Edit > Paste Into Selection.

    Note:

    The copied photo appears only within the selection border. You can move the copied photo within the border, but if you move it completely out of the border, it won’t be visible.

  4. With your pointer within the selection border, drag the pasted image to the proper location.
  5. When you’re satisfied with the results, deselect the pasted image to commit the changes.

    Note:

    To activate the Move tool when another tool is selected, hold down Ctrl (Command in Mac OS). (This technique does not work with the Hand tool.)

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License  Twitter™ and Facebook posts are not covered under the terms of Creative Commons.

Legal Notices   |   Online Privacy Policy