Photo Editing and Retouching Tutorials
Help your photos and your subjects look their very best with our easy-to-follow, step-by-step Photoshop photo editing and retouching tutorials:
How to Crop Images in Photoshop with the Crop Tool
Let’s start with the basics. I’ll use this image from Adobe Stock:
Selecting the Crop Tool
To crop an image in Photoshop, we use the Crop Tool which is found in the toolbar. The Crop Tool can also be selected from your keyboard by pressing the letter C:
Selecting the Crop Tool.
The cropping border
As soon as you select the Crop Tool, Photoshop places a cropping border around the image. And if you’ve used the Crop Tool on a previous image, the border will initially be set to that previous size.
In the Options Bar, we see that my last image was cropped as an 8 x 10:
Photoshop automatically loads the previous Crop Tool settings.
And in the document, the cropping border appears at that 8 x 10 aspect ratio. We’ll look at all of this in more detail in moment:
The cropping border is set to the previous aspect ratio.
How to reset the Crop Tool
Before we go any further, let’s reset the Crop Tool to its default settings. In the Options Bar, right-click (Win) / Control-click (Mac) on the tool icon:
Right-clicking (Win) / Control-clicking (Mac) on the tool icon.
And choose Reset Tool from the menu:
Resetting the Crop Tool.
This resets the aspect ratio to Ratio and leaves the Width and Height boxes empty:
The default Crop Tool settings.
How to reset the crop border
But notice that resetting the Crop Tool did not reset the cropping border itself, which is still set to that previous 8 x 10 size:
Resetting the Crop Tool options did not reset the cropping border.
To reset the border, choose a different tool from the toolbar (any tool will do) and then reselect the Crop Tool.
The cropping border now surrounds the entire image:
The cropping border itself has been reset.
How to resize the crop border
If you look around the border, you’ll see crop handles. There’s one on the top, bottom, left and right, and one in each corner:
The handles around the crop border.
Click and drag the handles to reshape the crop border into any size you need. The area inside the border is what you’ll keep while the faded area outside the border will be cropped away:
Dragging the handles to resize the border.
How to reposition the image inside the crop border
You can also click and drag inside the border to reposition the image. As you drag, the crop border will remain in place while the image moves around inside it:
Repositioning the image inside the crop border.
How to cancel the crop
To cancel the crop without applying it, click the Cancel button in the Options Bar. I’ll cancel it so we can look at another way to work:
Clicking the Cancel button.
Drawing your own crop border
Instead of using the initial crop border that Photoshop places around the image, you can also click anywhere inside the image and drag out your own border:
Clicking and dragging a crop border manually.
Then drag the handles to resize it, or click and drag inside the border to reposition the image:
Adjusting the crop after drawing the border.
How to reset the crop border
To reset the border without canceling the crop completely, click the Reset button in the Options Bar:
Clicking the Reset button.
How to lock the aspect ratio of the crop border
By default, Photoshop lets us resize the crop border freely without caring about the aspect ratio. To keep the original aspect ratio of your image, press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard as you drag any of the corner handles. This locks the aspect ratio in place:
Hold Shift and drag a corner handle to lock the aspect ratio of the border.
I’ll click the Reset button again to reset my crop:
Clicking the Reset button.
How to resize the crop border from its center
To resize the border from its center, press and hold the Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key on your keyboard as you drag a handle.
Here I’m dragging the left side handle while the right side handle moves along with it:
Hold Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) to resize the crop border from its center.
I’ll click the Reset button to reset it:
Resetting the crop.
How to lock the aspect ratio and resize from center
And to lock the aspect ratio and resize the border from its center, hold the Shift key and the Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key as you drag the corner handles:
Hold Shift plus Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) to lock the aspect ratio and resize from center.
How to crop an image to a specific aspect ratio
If you need to crop to a specific aspect ratio, like 5 x 7 or 8 x 10, you can set the aspect ratio in the Options Bar.
Choosing a preset aspect ratio
For common aspect ratios like 8 x 10, click the Aspect Ratio option:
Clicking the Aspect Ratio option in the Options Bar.
And then choose from a list of presets, like 1:1 for a square, or 8:10, 4:6, and so on. I’ll choose 8:10:
Choosing 8:10 from the Aspect Ratio menu.
Photoshop enters the aspect ratio into the Width and Height boxes. In my case, it entered 4 x 5 which is the same as 8 x 10:
The preset is entered into the settings.
And as soon as I select it, my cropping border jumps to the 8 x 10 ratio:
The crop border instantly switches to the chosen aspect ratio.
Swapping the crop orientation
To swap the Width and Height values, click the swap icon (the two arrows) between them:
Swapping the Width and Height values.
This lets you easily switch between Portrait and Landscape mode:
The crop border updates with the new orientation.
Choosing a custom aspect ratio
If the aspect ratio you need is not found in the presets, you can enter it manually.
Let’s say I want to crop my image as an 11 x 14 and I want it to be in Landscape mode so that the width is larger than the height. I’ll click inside the Width box and enter 14. Then I’ll press the Tab key on my keyboard to jump over to the Height box and I’ll enter 11:
Entering a custom aspect ratio.
Photoshop instantly resizes the crop border to the 11 x 14 ratio:
The custom aspect ratio.
With a specific aspect ratio entered, there’s no need to hold Shift as you drag the handles to lock the aspect ratio in place. But you can still hold the Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key to resize the border from its center:
Resizing the crop border.
How to save a custom crop preset
If you’ll need the same aspect ratio again, you can save it as a custom preset. Click the Aspect Ratio option in the Options Bar:
Clicking the Aspect Ratio option.
And in the menu, choose New Crop Preset:
Choosing “New Crop Preset”.
Give the preset a name. I’ll name mine “11 x 14 Landscape”. Then click OK to close the dialog box:
Naming the new preset.
The next time you need the preset, just click the Aspect Ratio option and choose it from the list:
The new custom crop preset.
Clearing the aspect ratio
To go back to resizing the crop border freely after entering a specific aspect ratio, clear the aspect ratio by clicking the Clear button:
Clearing the current aspect ratio settings.
You can then drag the handles independently:
Resizing the crop border without being locked to an aspect ratio.
How to crop to a specific image size and resolution
So far, we’ve been cropping to a general aspect ratio, or a general shape. But the Crop Tool can also be used to crop your image to a specific size and resolution. To do that, open the Aspect Ratio menu:
Opening the Aspect Ratio menu.
And then choose W x H x Resolution (Width, Height and Resolution):
Choosing “W x H x Resolution” from the menu.
Instead of cropping my image to an 11 x 14 aspect ratio, let’s say I want to crop it so that it will print at a specific size of 11 x 14 inches. Since I want the width to be larger than the height, I’ll click inside the Width field and I’ll enter 14. But instead of just entering the number, I’ll also enter “ïn” (for “inches”). Then I’ll press the Tab key on my keyboard to jump to the Height field, and I’ll enter 11 in for the height:
Entering a specific size for the width and height, in inches.
The Resolution value
Notice that we now have a third box as well, and this is where we enter a Resolution value. Since the industry standard resolution for high quality printing is 300 pixels per inch, I’ll enter 300 into the box, and I’ll make sure that the measurement type is set to px/inch (pixels per inch):
Entering a print resolution of 300 pixels per inch.
With my settings entered, I’ll resize the crop border:
Cropping the image to a print size of 11 x 14 inches.
How to commit the crop
Then to crop the image, I’ll click the checkmark in the Options Bar. You can also crop it by pressing Enter (Win) / Return (Mac):
Cropping the image by clicking the checkmark.
And Photoshop crops the image:
The image after accepting the crop. Needs editing?