Crop images

Cropping is the process of removing portions of an image to create focus or strengthen the composition. You can crop an image using the Crop tool  and the Crop command. You can also trim pixels using the Crop And Straighten and the Trim commands.

Using the Crop tool

From an expert: Cropping to a Specific Size

In this excerpt from The Adobe Photoshop CS5 Book for Digital Photographers, you'll learn how to crop any image to a predetermined size. If you're outputting photos for clients, chances are they're going to want them in standard sizes... Read more
by Scott Kelby

Scott Kelby is Editor, Publisher, and co-founder of Photoshop User magazine, host of top-rated weekly videocast Photoshop User TV, and co-host of D-Town TV (the weekly videocast for DSLR shooters).

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Crop an image using the Crop tool

  1. Select the Crop tool .
  2. (Optional) Set resample options in the options bar.
    • To crop the image without resampling (default), make sure that the Resolution text box in the options bar is empty. You can click the Clear button to quickly clear all text boxes.

    • To resample the image during cropping, enter values for height, width, and resolution in the options bar. To switch the height and width dimensions, click the Swaps Height And Width icon .

    • To resample an image based on the dimensions and resolution of another image, open the other image, select the Crop tool, and click Front Image in the options bar. Then make the image you want to crop active.

    Resampling while cropping uses the default interpolation method set in the General preferences.

    To select or create a resampling preset, click the triangle next to the Crop tool icon in the options bar. (See Create and use tool presets.)
  3. Drag over the part of the image you want to keep to create a marquee.
  4. If necessary, adjust the cropping marquee:
    • To move the marquee to another position, place the pointer inside the bounding box and drag.

    • To scale the marquee, drag a handle. To constrain the proportions, hold down Shift as you drag a corner handle.

    • To rotate the marquee, position the pointer outside the bounding box (the pointer turns into a curved arrow), and drag. To move the center point around which the marquee rotates, drag the circle at the center of the bounding box. (The marquee can’t be rotated in Bitmap mode.)

  5. In the options bar, set the following:
    Cropped Area
    Select Hide to preserve the cropped area in the image file. You can make the hidden area visible by moving the image with the Move tool . Select Delete to discard the cropped area.
    Note: The Hide option is not available for images that contain only a background layer; you must convert the background to a regular layer.

    Crop Guide Overlay
    Select Rule Of Thirds to add guides that help you place compostional elements at 1/3 increments. Select Grid to display fixed guidelines with spacing that depends upon crop size.

    The cropping shield shades the image area that will be deleted or hidden. When Shield is selected, you can specify color and opacity for the shield. When Shield is deselected, the area outside the cropping marquee is revealed.

  6. Do one of the following:
    • To complete the crop, press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac OS), click the Commit button  in the options bar, or double-click inside the cropping marquee.

    • To cancel the cropping operation, press Esc or click the Cancel button  in the options bar.

Crop an image using the Crop command

  1. Use a selection tool to select the part of the image you want to keep.
  2. Choose Image > Crop.

Crop an image using the Trim command

The Trim command crops an image by removing unwanted image data in different ways than the Crop command. You can crop an image by trimming surrounding transparent pixels, or background pixels of the color you specify.

  1. Choose Image > Trim.
  2. In the Trim dialog box, select an option:
    • Transparent Pixels to trim away transparency at the edges of the image, leaving the smallest image containing nontransparent pixels.

    • Top Left Pixel Color to remove an area the color of the upper-left pixel from the image.

    • Bottom Right Pixel Color to remove an area the color of the lower right pixel from the image.

  3. Select one or more areas of the image to trim away: Top, Bottom, Left, or Right.