Learn about basic selection skills in Photoshop.

What is a selection in Photoshop?

A selection is the area of an image that you define for manipulation of any kind, allowing you to isolate one or more parts of an image. By selecting specific areas, you can edit and apply effects and filters to portions of your image while leaving the unselected areas untouched.

You can make a selection with various selection tools, commands, and the Select and Mask workspace in Photoshop. When you make a selection, a border appears around the selection area. You can move, copy, or delete pixels inside the selection border, but you can’t touch areas outside the selection border until you deselect the selection. 

A selection in Photoshop

Select all pixels on a layer

To select all pixels on a layer within the canvas boundaries, do the following:

  1. Select the layer in the Layers panel.

  2. Choose Select > All.

Deselect a selection

Do one of the following:
  • Choose Select > Deselect
  • Press Control + D (Win) / Command + D (Mac).
  • If you are using the Rectangle Marquee tool, the Elliptical Marquee tool, or the Lasso tool, click anywhere in the image outside the selected area.

Reselect the most recent selection

Choose Select > Reselect.