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A selection is a tool for controlling where changes to an image can be made. The border of the selection is marked by the iconic "marching ants". Any region "inside" the selection can be edited; any region "outside" the selection is preserved. Selections can be made or altered by using manual tools, the Select menu commands, or by converting another object. Changes can also be controlled by use of masking, locks, and visibility.

In Photoshop, partial selections can be made, allowing for transparency effects, feathering, and anti-aliasing. A selection can be considered an 8-bit channel, with gray areas defining partial regions. The marching ants border lies on the 50% boundary between "selected" and "deselected", meaning that the full extent of a selection might lie outside of the visible border. It is also possible for a selection less than 50% to be active, in which case the marching ants border will not appear.

A warning dialog will indicate when an edit attempt will not affect any changeable pixels, since the affected area is entirely outside the selection.

By default, no selection is active, meaning that any tool or command can affect the entire canvas.

Selection by toolEdit

There are three tools available for direct

Selection by commandEdit

The various commands in the Select menu can make or alter an existing selection.

Of note is the Color Range command, which can quickly select all regions of a particular color.

Selection by conversionEdit

Various objects can be converted into a selection:

See alsoEdit

  • Masking, a tool that allows an editable region to be defined using painting tools.
    • Quick Mask, tailored especially to switching between a selection and a mask.
  • Lock, a layer-specific option that can prevent accidental change.
  • Visibility, another layer-specific option.

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