Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Adobe Photoshop CS6 Extended for the beginning user: Selection Tools

This guide will act as a quick reference for those who are first encountering Adobe Photoshop CS6 as well as good review for users who have worked with it before.

Select Your Tool

The selection tools are what you will use to select portions of an image to edit. While each of these tools are for selection, they differ in how they go about selecting, and their levels of sophistication vary.  

  • Rectangular Marquee: You can select rectangular portions of an image with this tool.
  • Lasso: This selection tool allows you to draw your own freeform outline of what you wish to select. This works best for those areas that don't qualify as shapes.
  • Quick Selection: This tool is used like the lasso tool except it works best on an area with clearly defined edges. You drag the mouse and the outline "snaps" to the edges. 
  • Crop: This tool allows you to select a portion of the image and get rid of everything not included in the selection. It is useful for getting rid of backdrops you don't want, such as photobombers.
  • Eyedropper: This tool samples a color in the image you are working on and matches it to one in Photoshop. It is useful if you want to retouch part of an image but can't tell which color to use.

Each icon in the Tools Panel also houses other tools.  To see these tools, click and hold any one of these icons and a list will appear displaying the alternate options.

  • Rectangular Marquee Tool: Eliptical Marquee Tool, Single Row Marquee Tool, Single Column Marquee Tool
  • Lasso Tool:Polygonal Lasso Tool Magnetic Lasso Tool
  • Quick Selection Tool: Magic Wand Tool
  • Crop Tool: Slice Tool Slice Select Tool
  • Eyedropper Tool: Color Sampler Tool, Ruler Tool, Note Tool, Count Tool

Additionally, each tool has varying features that are accessed in the "Options Menu", which are discussed in the "Options Tab".

Cropping: Adjusting Perspective

A common procedure after selecting a portion of an image is to crop that portion out, usually to add to another image or because the cropped image looks nicer than the original. These tutorials will help you learn what you can do with cropping.

Cropping: Narrowing and Snipping

Scholarly Commons

Profile Photo
Scholarly Commons
220 Main Library
Drop-ins welcome
Monday-Thursday 10:00am-4:00pm
Phone: 217-244-1331
Contact: Twitter Page
Subjects: Savvy Researcher