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Photoshop’s Crop Tool is a versatile feature that allows you to resize and crop images with precision and ease. Whether you want to adjust the composition of a photo, prepare images for different platforms, or create custom dimensions, the Crop Tool can help you achieve your desired results. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll explore how to use the Crop Tool effectively, so you can resize and crop your images like a pro.

Why Resizing and Cropping

Resizing and cropping are essential skills for a variety of purposes:

– Composition: Improve the composition of your photos by eliminating distractions and emphasizing the main subject.

– Social Media: Prepare images for different social media platforms with specific aspect ratios and dimensions.

– Print: Resize images for printing projects to ensure they meet the required sizes and resolutions.

Getting Started with the Crop Tool

Let’s dive into using the Crop Tool effectively:

Step 1

You can find The Crop Tool in Photoshop’s Toolbox. Click and hold to reveal all available tools in that same spot. The Crop Tool has C for its shortcut which is also used by some other tools. Hit Shift + C to scroll through all the tools.

Step 2: The Good Old Crop

Let’s start with the standard crop technique. Cropping an image means cutting away parts of an image deliberately to change its focus, size, or simply remove unwanted areas. Take a look at the following photo. There are a seller, a buyer and a few big chinese characters. Let’s say we want to refocus our image to the seller.

Step 3

Activate The Crop Tool. A rectangular frame will appear, covering the image. Drag its corner until it only covers the seller. You can drag inside the frame to reposition the image.

Step 4

Hit Enter key or the Confirm icon to confirm the cropping. If you don’t want to continue the cropping, hit Escape key to cancel it.

Step 5

There are more than one way to do something in Photoshop. It also applies to cropping. You can crop by making selection using one of the selection tool and then click Edit > Crop.

Step 6

If you use a non rectangular selection, Photoshop will retain the outmost part of the selection.

Step 7: Non-destructive Cropping

Uncheck the Delete Cropped Pixels option to prevent Photoshop from deleting cropped pixels.

Step 8

No pixels are deleted, they are only hidden. To see other part of the image, move it by clicking and dragging using The Move Tool.

Step 9: Extending the Canvas

When cropping, we remove part of the image. In Photoshop, we can do the opposite, enlarge the canvas. You just need to make the crop frame bigger than the image itself.

Step 10

To compensate the extra space, you will see empty canvas added to the image which is represented by a checkerboard pattern.

Step 11

Make a new layer underneath the image and fill it with solid color. The image is now having a simple frame.

Step 12: Cropping With Content Aware

Sometimes, when reframing an image we are limited to the image size. This can be solved by content aware feature which will generate artificial new image to fill the empty canvas. Take a look at the image below. We have bark on half of the image and the other half is filled with grass. We can change its composition, making the bark wider.

Step 13

Activate The Crop Tool and select Content-Aware option. Make the crop frame bigger than the original image.

Step 14

Photoshop will think for a while, trying to come up with an image to fill the empty canvas.

Step 15

This is the result, not bad for a machine. You may see some repeating unnatural pattern, but thats easy to fix. Just patch them using clone tool.

Step 16: Crop Overlay

To help you position the image, the crop frame is by default divided into a 3 x 3 rectangles. This grid is known as the Rule of Thirds. You can use other type of grid from the Grid icon on the Options Bar. Hit O to scroll through all the available grid types.

Step 17

You can decide how the grid is displayed. The grid can be shown only when the crop frame is active, shown all the time, or hidden.

Step 18: Crop Options

Click the gear icon to change the crop frame appearance. By default, the cropping frame stays stationery and the image re-positions itself. You can invert it by deselecting the Auto Center Preview option.Cropping Image in Photoshop

Step 19

You can unselect Show Croppped Area to show only areas inside the crop frame and hide the rest.

Step 20

Areas that will be cropped is covered by thin pixels. You can change its Color and Opacity. You can even opt to discard it by deselecting the Enable Crop Shield option.

Step 21

You can also step back to the simple crop appeared in earlier version of Photoshop by selecting Use Classic Mode.

Step 22: Straightening Image

In the Options Bar for The Crop Tool, you will find Straighten icon. Use it to straighten an image by dragging to make a line on any reference that should be straight, either horizontally or vertically. In the image below, we do it to the shoreline.

Step 23

Photoshop will rotate the image and then put the extra spaces outside the crop frame. You can confirm the result by hitting the Enter key.

Step 24: Crop Ratio

You can change size or ratio of the crop frame using one of the available preset or input your desired number in the Options Bar.

Step 25

For example, to get an image with size 600 px × 800 px and resolution 96 pixels/inch input the folowing numbers. If you just want to crop the image by draging and resize it later using the Image Size command, clear all the input using the Clear button.

Step 26: Matching The Dimensions of Two Images

You can also use The Crop Tool to match the dimension of an image to another images. First, open up the image whose dimension you want to use. Activate The Crop Tool and then click Front Image.

Step 27

Photoshop will put the dimension and resolution of the image into The Options Bar.

Step 28

Next, open the second image. Don’t change any settings in The Options Bar. Leave it as is. Click and drag to make the crop frame.

Cropping Image in Photoshop

Step 29

You can reposition the crop frame or resize it to match your need.

Step 30

Hit Enter to apply the changes and here’s the result. Both images are in same dimension.


The Crop Tool in Photoshop is a powerful feature that empowers you to resize, crop, and straighten images effortlessly. In this beginner’s guide, you’ve learned how to select the Crop Tool, define crop areas, maintain aspect ratios, and fine-tune your crops. You’ve also discovered how to resize images while cropping and straighten crooked horizons for better composition.

As you practice and experiment with the Crop Tool, you’ll gain confidence and precision in adjusting the composition and dimensions of your images. Whether you’re preparing photos for social media, print, or simply enhancing their visual appeal, the Crop Tool will be your trusted ally in achieving professional-looking results. So, go ahead and resize and crop your images like a pro with Photoshop’s Crop Tool!

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