Photoshop gives a lot of options to the editors/ artists from easy and quick selection methods to more of complex ones, for all types of editing needs. The Photoshop selection tools can select, deselect, creates intersections, and also help you select a perfect region.

Adobe Photoshop is the most heard name even by those who are not into editing or from the creative field. But how did this tool become so famous that it is the most common name when someone utters the word photo editing?

Well the major reason for this is considered to be the usability and multiple options this tool provides to the editors which makes this tool a popular choice among the creative industry.

Photoshop selection tools are helping the artists, photographers, editors, and others in many ways and in this write-up, we will discuss various selection tools that you must be aware of and should have in your creative arsenal.

Sounds like something you wanted to know for a long time? Keep scrolling to explore!

Before we discuss the different types of selection tools of Photoshop, first let us understand what it actually means?

What is Selection in Photoshop?

If we talk about selection tools present in the Photoshop toolbar, it is basically used to create an enclosed area within which the tools and effects are used in the Photoshop.

Denoted as dashed lines also called as ‘Marching Ants’, the selection area is very helpful in giving a different effect to a particular section leaving the rest in the natural state.

Now it’s time to discuss the diverse selection tools available in Photoshop and their usage.

Photoshop Selection Tools & Their Usage

  1. Marquee Tools

    This tool helps the editor to drag a shape over an object in the picture editing is being done. It comes in various shapes mentioned below-

    This is a combination of four tools in total namely

    • Elliptical Marquee Tool
    • Single Row Marquee Tool
    • Rectangular Marquee Tool
    • Single Column Marquee Tool

    Elliptical Marquee Tool

    As the name suggests, this tool helps in making the selection in circular shape. However, to make a perfect circular selection, it is important to hold the shift key when the selection is being done.

    Single Row Marquee Tool

    This tool allows one pixel width based horizontal selection in Photoshop and with the help of this tool, the creators make guides or perform such editing or wee bit cutting from the pictures.

    Rectangular Marquee Tool

    This tool is basically used to make a Rectangular Selection of pixels in the adjustment layer on which the editing is to be done within Photoshop.  Or in simple words, to select a rectangular part of an image.

    For the Rectangular Marquee Tool, the shortcut key is M.

    Apart from the above mentioned usage, this tool has many other options as well such as “style”.

    The default setting of it is “normal” but you can also change it into “Fixed Ratio”. Using this option you can fix the ratio of the selection.

    Single Column Marquee Tool

    This tool allows the editor to choose 1-pixel wide vertical selection. It is however quite similar to marquee tool (single row), only the selection angle is vertical instead of horizontal.

  2. Lasso Tools

    This one is considered to be the easiest tool of all the selection tools in Photoshop. The reason is it provides a free-hand selection to the users to just drag and select a particular portion of an image in free-flow with no set shapes.

    There are three different types of Lasso tools available in the Photoshop namely

    • Standard Lasso Tool
    • Polygonal Lasso Tool
    • Magnetic Lasso Tool

    Standard Lasso Tool

    Considered to be a freehand drawing tool, it basically helps in refining the selection in Photoshop. It works based on four steps listed below-

    • The Selection of a Particular Part or Pixel from the Picture/Image to be Edited
    • Adding More Pixels to the Selection
    • Subtract Some Unwanted Pixels from the Selection
    • Selection of 2 loops that are Intersecting

    Polygol Lasso Tool

    A straight edge based selection, this tool provides a map sort of selection where the way your cursor moves it creates pointers till you reach the starting point.

    Magnetice Lasso Tool

    This tool helps even the beginners who don’t have a steady grip while creating a selection in the picture. While using this tool, it attaches small anchor-like pointers to the selection making the selection process even easier for the editors.

    This tool comes with some additional options listed below

    • Width: Distance between the cursor and the edge
    • Frequency: Controls the pointers drawn by the magnetic tool
    • Edge Contrast: Controls the contrast between the pixels, before the tools snaps it out
  3. Object Selection Tool

    First introduced in the year 2019 this tool eases out the selection process of not only the object but also a small part of the object.

    However, Photoshop already has a subject selection tool within, but this tool has made the job easier by selecting all the subjects present in an image.

    Initially it looks like making a selection like you do in the marquee tool, creating a rectangular shape, but once it is done, it takes the shape of the object marked.

  4. Quick Selection Tool

    This tool was first introduced in the Photoshop CS3 version. This tool provides a very fast way of selecting a designed object in an image on the basis of color tone and it is somewhat similar to the Magic Wand Tool.

    But this tool is far more diverse than the latter as it easily identifies the edges of the object. It provides a brush-like usage to select the area on which the editing is to be done.

    Useful Link: Complete Guide on Using Photoshop Quick Selection Tool

  5. Magic Wand Tool

    This tool helps you in making selection on the basis of color, choose any color in the picture present and this tool will identify the similar colors automatically.

    Here, to make a precise color selection, you can use the ‘Tolerance’ option present in the top panel, this gives Photoshop a range and tone to choose.

    Useful Link: How To Remove Image Background With Photoshop Magic Wand Tool

Some Other Photoshop Selection Tools

  1. Select Color Range- To choose colors, families of colors, and also the skin tones. It is quite similar to the Magic Wand Tool
  2. Select Focus Area- To highlight the area to be in the focus
  3. Select Subject- Similar to Object Selection tool, but the usage is easy
  4. Paintbrush (Quick Mask Mode)- Using this, you can mask the areas that are not to be selected
  5. Inverse- Used for inverting the selection
  6. Grow- Extends the selection that is based on two factors, First: Current Selection, Second: Color & Tone


Photoshop is a dynamic tool that has become an eminent part of the editing industry and is benefitting both photo editors as well as photo editing service providers.

This sums up the topic of Photoshop Selection tools and we hope our knowledge sharing has helped in clearing the topic to you quite well!

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Christa Elrod serves as a senior graphic designer at ProGlobalBusinessSolutions. She is a creative designer with robust skills in typography, UI/UX designs, printing designs, video post-production, and 3D designs. Possessing years of experience across diverse industries, Christa loves to educate fellow designers with her experience and domain knowledge.