Introduction To Photoshop's Crop Tool

The Crop tool is a basic but useful tool that's available in Photoshop. Learn how to use it here.

27/07/2012 - 07:00

The Crop tool does exactly what it says on the tin – it crops your image. You can use it to improve the composition of your images, changing the shape of your image, fixing wonky horizons and removing any excess space, so your subject fills the frame. You can also use the Crop tool to add a border/frame to your image.

Basic Crop

To crop an image, select the Crop tool Crop Tool and draw out a square or rectangular shape over the area you want to keep by left-clicking your mouse and dragging it over your shot.


When you let go of your mouse button the area of the image you don't want to be included will appear darker than the part you want to keep.


You can adjust the opacity of the darker area, if you can't see enough of the image under it, by going to the tool bar towards the top of the window and clicking in the box where it says 'Opacity'. You can also change the colour from black if it's not a particular favourite shade of yours.

Crop Tool Bar

You can use the anchors/handles around the edge of the crop area to fine tune your selection and if you move your cursor outside the crop, you can rotate it, something which is useful to know when you're trying to straighten a horizon (as you'll see shortly).

Crop on an angle

Straighten Horizons

If you've taken a shot and find the horizon's not straight when you get home, you can use the Crop tool to fix it. To do this:
  • Open the image up in your chosen editing software, select the Crop tool and draw out a rectangle so the top or bottom middle anchor point is positioned over where the horizon should be.
  • Move your cursor so it's outside of the box, towards one of the corners so the shapes changes to a curved, double-pointed arrow. Now rotate the crop shape you've created until it lines up with your original wonky horizon.
  • You now need to pull the anchor points on your crop so it covers as much of the image as possible without going over the edges of the image. When you've drawn out your larger box hit enter on your keyboard or right-click and choose crop to apply the changes. Your horizon will now be straight.
How to straighten the horizon

Create a frame/border

Another way to use the Crop tool is to add a border/frame to your image by dragging the crop shape outside of your image, as shown here:

Create a frame

When you hit enter to apply your crop, a border will be created around your image. The colour of it will change depending on what colour your background colour is set to, in our case it's white. Make sure the background colour is set to the colour you want to use before you apply your crop.

Frame with the crop tool

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Link Posted 20/07/2017 - 15:05
Photoshop's Crop Tool is the main tool of designing, the designer can't complete design without this tool. All the web designers & web design companies would never create a design without this massive tool.


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Link Posted 07/03/2019 - 11:26
Here are my five “best-features” of the Photoshop crop tool which I am sure helpful for the most of website designers

1. Rotate as you Crop
2. Perspective Crop
3. The Crop that’s not a Crop
1. 4 Create and Use Crop Presets
2. 5 Crop to the Same Size
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Last Edited by continuumsoft on 07/03/2019 - 11:27


Link Posted 01/10/2019 - 12:34
Great article !

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Link Posted 26/03/2021 - 16:05
This is a solid introduction to the world of cropping, though I doubt this is something that is able to be explained completely here. I read another article on this site detailing a fabulous young photographer named Andrei Seki over here. I think it is a great article, and someone like Mr. Seki would be able to use these tools. On the contrary, I know a mobile tire repair company that chooses to take their own photos with their iPhone and uses that as their basis. There is usually no editing, no cropping, no anything. It is just raw images of him doing mobile tire service work like repairs, installations, and wheel balancing and tire alignment. I do like the images, because they are authentic. However, it is easy to see that it is a one man show, with him doing the best he is able to. That is better than most, though I like it.

Overall, I believe something like this would be great and helpful for someone like Mr. Seki, who is able to use the tips to augment his photography. For someone like my friend who does mobile tire repair, not so much. He would probably hire someone like Mr. Seki to edit his photos in order to make them pop!


Link Posted 26/07/2021 - 14:20
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