Here are my favorite shortcuts for Photoshop’s Crop tool!
- “C” selects the Crop tool.
- “X” swaps the width and height values Or, click the arrow icon in the Options bar.
- “O” cycles through view overlays (Rule of Thirds, Grid, etc.).
- “H” hides the image area beyond (outside of) the Crop marquee. Note: the forward slash key (/) also works.
- To cancel a crop, tap the escape key. To apply the crop, tap the enter key, double click inside of the crop marquee, or choose another tool from the tool bar (this last method displays the “Crop the image?” dialog).
- Command (Mac) | Control (Win) with the Crop tool selected, temporarily enables the Straighten option.
- “I” auto-populates the Width, Height, and Resolution with the dimensions of the active document. Note: you must make an adjustment to the Crop marquee before tapping the “I” key, otherwise Photoshop will select the Eyedropper tool.
- “P” enables Classic Mode (in Classic Mode, the Crop marquee is repositioned, not the image). Note: you must make an adjustment to the Crop marquee before tapping the “P” key, otherwise Photoshop will select the Pen tool.
02) Click-drag the Crop Marquee
When you first select the Crop tool, most people don’t know that you can click-drag in the image area to define the Crop (instead of adjusting the crop handles that appear around the image by default).
03) Crop, then Crop Again
After applying a crop, Photoshop automatically hides the crop marquee even though the Crop tool is still selected. If you want to use the Crop tool again, click in the image area to display the crop marquee or, click-drag in the image area to define a crop.
04) Cropping to a Specific Ratio or File Size
With the Crop tool selected, choose Ratio from the Aspect Ratio/Crop Size drop-down menu in the Options bar and enter values to constrain the crop to a specific aspect ratio. Choose W x H x Resolution from the Aspect Ratio/Crop Size drop-down menu to enter specific values and crop to a specific image dimension. You can also choose from the preset values in the drop-down list (for either Aspect Ratio or Crop size) or, enter your own values and choose New Crop Preset to add the values to the drop-down.
05) Cropping to Another Image’s Dimensions (File Size)
To use the dimensions of one image to crop another image, select the document with the desired dimensions and select Front Image from the Aspect Ratio/Crop Size drop-down menu to auto-populate the width, height and resolution (or tap “I”). Then, switch to the document that needs to be cropped/resized and drag out the Crop marquee. When the crop is applied, the image will be resized to match the width, height, and resolution of the initial image. To save file size dimensions or aspect ratios (for reuse on future files) choose “New Crop Preset” from the Aspect Ratio/Crop Size drop-down menu.
Note: if an image needs to be resized when cropping, Photoshop uses the image interpolation option set in Preferences > General. The default setting, Bicubic Automatic, enables Photoshop to chose the best resampling method based on the document type and whether the document is scaling up or down.
06) Setting One Dimension in the Crop Tool
If you need an image to be a certain height (4 inches for example) but want to keep the width flexible, choose W x H x Resolution from the Aspect Ratio/Crop Size drop-down menu in the Options bar and enter “4in” for the height while leaving the width value empty.
07) Crop Options in Context Sensitive Menus
When using the Crop tool, Control -click (Mac) | Right -click (Win) within the Crop marquee enables quick access to the majority of options associated with the crop tool (including Reset Crop, Rotate Crop Box, Default Aspect Ratios, etc.). Note: most tools in Photoshop have context sensitive menus designed to increase efficiency so be sure to give them a try.
08) Crop Tool Snaps to Edge
By default, the Crop Tool is set to “Snap To” the edges of the document. While the snapping behavior is useful, it can make it difficult to crop close to the edge of an image. To disable the snapping behavior, choose View > Snap To and toggle off (uncheck) Document Bounds. To temporarily disable this “Snap To” behavior, press and hold the Control key while dragging the Crop marquee near the edges of the document. Note: there are additional options under View > Snap To including Grid, Guides, Layers, and Slices.
09) Cropping to a Selection in Photoshop
If a document has an active selection when the Crop tool is selected, Photoshop automatically matches the Crop marquee to the bounding rectangle of the selection. If you don’t want to crop to the selection, tapping the escape key will reset the crop to the image bounds (or as close to the image bounds as possible if there is an aspect ratio set for the Crop tool in the options bar). Repositioning the Crop marquee deselects the area. Note: Artboards don’t share this behavior.
10) Adding Canvas Using the Crop Tool
To use the Crop tool to add canvas to an image, drag the crop handles outside of the image area and apply the crop. To add transparency around the image (instead of filling the added canvas with the background color), convert the Background into a layer before using the Crop tool by selecting Layer > New > Layer From Background (or by clicking on the lock icon to the right of the word Background in the Layers panel).
11) Maintaining Flexibility when Cropping
To crop an image, yet retain the cropped area outside of the Crop marquee, uncheck Delete Cropped Pixels in the Options bar.
12) Reducing File Size by Deleting Content Outside of the Visible Image Area
To permanently delete information that extends beyond the visible image area (the canvas), select the Crop tool, check Delete Cropped Pixels in the Options bar, and tap Return (Mac) | Enter (Win). Photoshop previews any information that extends beyond the visible image area. Tap Return (Mac) | Enter (Win) again to apply the crop. Saving the document after cropping this way is permanent, so be sure that you won’t need to move/reposition/resize layers. Note: When working with Smart Objects, any extra image that extends beyond the visible canvas will not be deleted.
A second method would be to choose Select > Select All and then Image > Crop.
13) Straightening Images with the Crop Tool
When using the Crop tool’s Straighten option, the entire document (including all layers), are straightened. To straighten only a selected layer, use the Ruler tool.
14) Tool Presets
Tool Presets can increase our productivity by saving commonly used tool options. After setting tool options in the Options bar, click the tool icon at the far left of the Options bar to display the Tool Presets Picker. Click the New Preset icon (the dog-eared page icon) to save your preset. The next time you need to use the tool with those settings, select it from the Tool Preset Picker.
15) Content Aware Cropping In Photoshop CC
When using the Crop tool, the Content Aware option can intelligently fill in transparent areas with computer generated “Content aware” information. The video below demonstrates how.
16) Using the Crop Tool in Photoshop CC
Discover tips and techniques for using the Crop tool in Photoshop in this free video (The Crop Tool), from Photoshop CC 2017 Essential Training: The Basics on Lynda.com.
17) Crop and Straighten Photos in Photoshop CC
To speed up scanning or photographing multiple images, it might be faster to scan them as a single document. Then, choose File > Automate > Crop and Straighten Photos to automate the “cutting apart” of the images into their own documents.
18) Using the Perspective Crop Tool in Photoshop CC
Discover tips and techniques for using the Perspective Crop tool in Photoshop in this free video (Using the Perspective Crop tool), from Photoshop CC 2015 Essential Training: The Basics on Lynda.com.