Scale layers proportionally

Updated in Photoshop 21.0 (November 2019 release)

When transforming any layer type, dragging a corner handle now scales the layer proportionally by default, indicated by the Maintain Aspect Ratio button (Link icon) in the ON state in the Options bar. To change the default transform behavior to non-proportional scaling, simply turn OFF the Maintain Aspect Ratio (Link icon) button. The Shift key, while pressed, now acts as a toggle for the Maintain Aspect Ratio button. If the Maintain Aspect Ratio button is ON, the Shift key toggles it OFF while pressed and vice versa. Photoshop remembers your last transform behavior setting—proportional or non-proportional scaling—it will be your default transform behavior when you start Photoshop the next time. 

Use the Maintain Aspect Ratio button (Link icon) in the Options bar to choose the default scaling behavior.
Use the Maintain Aspect Ratio button (Link icon) in the Options bar to choose the default scaling behavior.

For instructions, see Transform freely.

How do I switch back to the legacy transform behavior?

From the menu bar, choose Edit (Win)/Photoshop (Mac) > Preferences > General, then select Legacy Free Transform.

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:
      • If the Maintain Aspect Ratio button (Link icon) is ON in the Options bar, drag a corner handle to scale the layer proportionally.
      • If the Maintain Aspect Ratio button (Link icon) is OFF in the Options bar, drag a corner handle to scale the layer non-proportionally.  
      • Hold down the Shift key while transforming to toggle between proportional and non-proportional scaling behavior.
    • 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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