Select shape presets in the Shapes panel

Updated in Photoshop 21.0 (November 2019 release)

How to use new Presets in Photoshop

How to use new Presets in Photoshop
Learn all about applying Photoshop’s new and improved Presets panels. Julieanne Kost explores everything from swatches to patterns, from gradients to styles and shapes.
Julieanne Kost

Create a shape on a shape layer

  1. Select a shape tool or a Pen tool. Make sure Shape is chosen from the menu in the options bar.

  2. To choose the color of the shape, click the color swatch in the options bar, and then choose a color from the Color Picker.
  3. (Optional) Set tool options in the options bar. Click the inverted arrow next to the shape buttons to view additional options for each tool. (See Shape tool options.)

  4. (Optional) To apply a style to the shape, select a preset style from the Style pop-up menu in the options bar. (See Apply preset styles.)

  5. Drag in your image to draw a shape:
    • 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 (macOS), and then drag diagonally to any corner or edge until the shape is the desired size.
    Photoshop Drawing from the corner (left) and drawing from the center (right)
    Drawing from the corner (left) and drawing from the center (right)

    Note:

    Drawing from the center out is the default behavior of the Star tool in Illustrator and the Polygon tool in Illustrator and Photoshop.

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.

  1. Select the layer to which you want to add shapes.
  2. Select a drawing tool and set tool-specific options (see Shape tool options).

  3. Choose one of the following in the options bar:

    Add To Shape Area 

    Adds the new area to the existing shapes or path.

    Subtract From Shape Area 

    Removes the overlapping area from the existing shapes or path.

    Intersect Shape Areas 

    Restricts the area to the intersection of the new area and the existing shapes or path.

    Exclude Overlapping Shape Areas 

    Excludes the overlap area in the consolidated new and existing areas.

  4. Draw in the image. You can easily switch between drawing tools by clicking a tool button in the options bar.

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.

  1. Select the Ellipse tool  in the toolbox. It may be hidden by one of the other shape tools or the Line tool .

  2. Make sure that Shape is chosen from the menu in the options bar.

  3. Drag in the document window to draw the shape. Hold down the Shift key while dragging to constrain the ellipse to a circle.
  4. In the options bar, select the Subtract From Shape Area button .

  5. Drag within the new shape to create the cutout. When you release the mouse, the image underneath the new shape shows through.
  6. To reposition either shape, click the Path Selection tool  in the toolbox (it may be hidden by the Direct Selection tool ), and select the path. Drag it to its new location or use the arrow keys on the keyboard to nudge it a pixel at a time.

    Note:

    Shift-click to select more than one path.

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.

  1. Select the Custom Shape tool . (If the tool isn’t visible, hold down the Rectangle tool near the bottom of the toolbox.)

  2. Select a shape from the Custom Shape pop-up panel in the options bar.

    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.

  3. Drag in your image to draw the shape.

Save a shape or path as a custom shape

  1. In the Paths panel, select a path—either a vector mask for a shape layer, a work path, or a saved path.
  2. Choose Edit > Define Custom Shape, and enter a name for the new custom shape in the Shape Name dialog box. The new shape appears in the Shape pop-up panel in the options bar.
  3. To save the new custom shape as part of a new library, select Save Shapes from the pop-up panel menu.

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.

  1. Select a layer. You cannot create a rasterized shape on a vector-based layer (for example, a type layer).
  2. Select a shape tool, and click the Fill Pixels button  in the options bar.
  3. Set the following options in the options bar:

    Mode

    Controls how the shape will affect the existing pixels in the image. (See Blending modes.)

    Opacity

    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.

    Anti-Aliased

    Smooths and blends the edge pixels with the surrounding pixels.

  4. Set additional tool-specific options. See Shape tool options.

  5. Draw the shape.

Shape tool options

Each shape tool provides a unique subset of the options below. To access these options, click the path option icon in the options bar.

Photoshop Accessing shape tool options 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.

Note:

You can also edit an arrowhead directly using the vector selection and drawing tools.

Circle

Constrains an ellipse to a circle.

Defined Proportions

Renders a custom shape based on the proportions with which it was created.

Defined Size

Renders a custom shape based on the size at which it was created.

Fixed Size

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.

From Center

Renders a rectangle, rounded rectangle, ellipse, or custom shape from the center.

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.

Proportional

Renders a rectangle, rounded rectangle, or ellipse as a proportional shape based on the values you enter in the Width and Height text boxes.

Radius

For rounded rectangles, specifies the corner radius. For polygons, specifies the distance from the center of a polygon to the outer points.

Sides

Specifies the number of sides in a polygon.

Smooth Corners or Smooth Indents

Renders a polygon with smooth corners or indents.

Snap To Pixels

Snaps edges of a rectangle or rounded rectangle to the pixel boundaries.

Square

Constrains a rectangle or rounded rectangle to a square.

Unconstrained

Lets you set the width and height of a rectangle, rounded rectangle, ellipse, or custom shape by dragging.

Weight

Determines width, in pixels, for the Line tool.

Note:

To change stroke width for other shape tools, choose Layer > Layer Style > Stroke. (See Apply or edit a custom layer style.)

Fill and stroke shapes

You can fill and stroke shapes with a solid color, a gradient, or a pattern. 

Fill a shape

  1. In the Layers panel, select the shape layer you want to fill.

  2. Do one of the following to set the shape fill type:

    • Select any shape tool (press U) from the toolbar. In the tool options bar, select Fill.
    • In the Properties panel, click the fill type option.  
  3. In the pop-up menu, choose a fill option - Solid Color, Gradient, or Pattern.

  4. Set the fill options as required.

Stroke a shape

  1. In the Layers panel, select the shape layer you want to stroke.

  2. Do one of the following to set the shape stroke type:

    • Select any shape tool (press U) from the toolbar. In the tool options bar, select Stroke.
    • In the Properties panel, click the stroke type option.  
  3. In the pop-up menu, choose a stroke option - Solid Color, Gradient, or Pattern.

  4. Set the stroke options as required.

Fill and stroke shape options

Specify the following options to set the fill type or stroke type of a shape.  

Solid Color

Fills or strokes the shape layer with the current foreground color. Use the Color Picker or color presets to select a different color.

Gradient

Choose a gradient preset or click on the gradient to display the Gradient Editor dialog. Set additional gradient options.

  • Angle specifies the angle at which the gradient is applied.
  • Reverse flips the orientation of the gradient colors.
  • Style specifies the shape of the gradient.
  • Scale changes the size of the gradient.
  • Align With Layer uses the bounding box of the layer to calculate the gradient fill. You can drag in the image window to move the center of the gradient.

Pattern

Beginning with Photoshop 21.2, you can also set an angle to rotate a shape's fill and stroke pattern and easily change its orientation.

Choose a pattern from the pop‑up menu. Set additional pattern options.

  • Angle specifies the angle at which the pattern is applied. Set the angle selector at a certain degree or manually type in an angle value to rotate your pattern at the desired angle.
  • Scale changes the size of the pattern. Enter a value or drag the slider.