Photoshop Crop Tool for Image Cropping and Resizing

Photoshop crop tool is one of Photoshop CC’s most commonly used tools by Photographers and photo editors. Many of us want to accomplish a cropping task as quickly as possible. The good news is that; Photoshop has many different keyboard shortcuts, helping a person speed up his/her workflow.

In this tutorial, we will learn the tips and tricks of the Crop tool. We will go into an in-depth process to get answers related to this tool.

Photoshop Crop Tool

It will be a long journey. So, let’s fasten the seat belt and take a deep breath.

We will be using the below image for this tutorial.

Photoshop crop tool tutorial

How to Crop an Image Using Photoshop CC 2020

You can crop an image quickly using the Crop Tool. Crop Command is another option that also can be used to crop an image.

Follow the below instruction for image cropping with the Crop tool or Learn Tools & Toolbar of Adobe Photoshop CC 2020.

Step 01: Choose the Crop tool from Tool Panel

Go to the Tool panel and select the Crop Tool. Also, you can hit the keyboards shortcut key “C.”

Crop Tool

Select the Crop tool and you will find a Cropping border in the image. Remember, if you worked with the Crop tool in any other image, the settings are set to the earlier settings. So, before making any progress, we will need to preset the settings of the Crop tool 

Look at the below image. It is showing the earlier images were cropped at 8 X 10 measurements.

Cropped image measurement

And below is the current image with earlier cropping measurements.

image with cropping measurement

Step 02: Crop Tool Resetting 

To restore the Crop tool’s default settings, go to the Options Bar, put your cursor on the Tool Icon, and right-click (for windows), or Control-click (for Mac).

Now you will have 2 options: “Reset Tool” & “Reset All Tools”. If you click on the Reset Tool, it will allow you to Reset the Crop Tool only. So, click on it.

Resetting the Crop Tool

This way, the Width and Length boxes will get empty, and the Aspect Ratio option will become Ratio.

You will have a small problem at this point. Looking at the image, you will find that the image is still showing with an 8 X 10 measurement. You have to reset the Border.

Reset Crop Tool

To do this, press the ESC key. Now, if the Cropping Tool border doesn’t appear in the image, select any Tool from the Tool panel and again resect the Crop Tool. And, you will have the Cropping border in the image.

Ratio box
Cropping Tool border doesn’t appear
Cropping border in the image

Step 03: Cropping Border Resizing

Look intently at the cropping border area; you will see small handles at every side of the border.

Cropping Border Resizing

Using these handles, you will be able to Crop an image. And this is the easiest way since you don’t need to follow any other process. Click on any handles, drag them. Thus, the image will get automatically reshaped, and you can choose any size as per your requirement. The inner portion of the border will be the cropped area, and outer parts will be removed.

cropping border area

Once you finish the above steps, you will have your cropped image.

In the above image, the subject is in the center. Would you like to see the subject on one side of the picture? Let’s learn from below.

How to Move an Image Inside the Crop Border

This is a simple process thus a beginner will not face any problem in accomplishing it.

Move Image Inside Crop Border

The process is repositioning the image inside the border. Click on the image and drag it inside the border. Position the image as per your requirement.

We will examine other options to Crop an image. So, we have to cancel this Crop option. Follow below

At the Options bar, click on the cancel button. The current Crop option will be canceled.

Crop Cancel button

We will draw our crop border. Are you excited to learn how to do that? Read the below instructions.

How to Draw Your Own Crop Border

We can draw our own crop border rather than using the Crop tool from the Options bar.

How to Draw Your Own Crop Border

By clicking any image area inside and dragging, you can quickly draw your own crop border.

Now, just resize the image.

You can follow 2 options for resizing an image.

Click on any of the handles and drag them for resizing the image.

resize the image

Or, click inside the border and drag it to reposition it. 

Whenever you are doing any new process, remember to click on the Reset button to reset the Crop tool.

Reset button to reset the Crop tool

How Should I Lock Crop Border’s Aspect Ratio

Generally, Photoshop allows us to freely shape crop borders without taking care of the aspect ratio. How to keep the original image aspect ratio?

Lock Crop Border’s Aspect Ratio

Ist Step: Press the Shift key and hold it.

2nd Step: Click on the cursor to any of the corner handles and drag it. The aspect ratio will be locked at this stage.

How to Reshape the Border of the Crop at Its Center

How to Reshape Border of the Crop

WindowsPress the Alt key and hold it and drag the handles.

MacPress the Option key and hold it and drag the handles.

Resizing an Image from Its Center and Lock an image Aspect Ratio

Resizing an Image

For Windows: Press and hold the Shift and Alt key together. Then drag the handles of the corner.

And for Mac: Press and hold the Shift and Option key together. And drag the handles of the corner.

How to Select a Specific Aspect Ratio and Crop an Image

Sometimes we may need to use a specific aspect ratio for cropping. It is required if you need to take a printout of a particular frame.

Aspect Ratio options bar

At this point, you have to set the Aspect Ratio at the options bar, 

Selecting a Preset Aspect Ratio

In fact, 8 X 10 is the standard photo aspect ratio. Go to the Aspect Ratio option to preset it.

After clicking, you will find a preset aspect ratio list. Different aspect ratio such as 1 : 1 (square), 4 : 5 (8 : 10), 5 : 7, 2 : 3 (4 : 6) will appear.

Selecting a Preset Aspect Ratio a

For instance, we will choose 4: 5 (8: 10).

required aspect ratio

Once you choose your required aspect ratio, Photoshop will automatically enter the width and length box measurements. After entering the required aspect ratio, the image will jump to the 4: 5 (8: 10) aspect ratio option.

Image aspect ratio

Swapping the width and length value

In between the width and length measurement box, you will find the Swap Icon. Click on it if you will require to swap the width and length value.

swap icon crop tool photoshop

Using this option, you can smoothly switch between landscape and portrait mode.

crop tool in photoshop

Selecting Customized Aspect Ratio

Often you will need to put an aspect ratio option that is unavailable in the aspect ratio value. For example, you have to crop an image that requires an 11 X 15 aspect ratio, but this ratio option is unavailable in the preset option. How will you do that?

Customized Image Aspect Ratio

Well, the solution to the problem is also straightforward.

Click the width box and put your required number. Then press Tab. Now you will be inside the length box and again put your desired number. Let’s say you set width 11 and length 15.

Photoshop will show you the result of the customized aspect ratio without making any late.

aspect ratio photoshop

At this stage, resizing the border is also possible with the help of the handles. Simply drag the handles, and don’t assume that the aspect ratio will change. The truth is, since you customized the aspect ratio manually, the aspect ratio is automatically locked. So, pressing and holding the Shift key is unnecessary. But pressing and holding the Alt (for Windows) and Option (for Mac) will allow you for resizing the border from its center.

change aspect ratio of image

How Can I Save Customized Preset Crop

The truth is, we will require the same aspect ratio sometimes to use in other images. So, saving the customized preset crop will help us to save valuable time. How to save it then?

#1: Go to the Options Bar and select the Aspect Ratio option.

select the Aspect Ratio option

#2: From the Menu, you will see an option named New Crop Preset.

new crop preset a

#3: Click on that, a new dialog box will appear where you will need to put a new name of your customized aspect ratio.

I named the new preset as “11 X 15 Landscape”. Once you click OK, the dialog box will be closed.

named the new preset

Whenever you need it next time, you will find it on the list.

Showing Customized Preset Crop

How to Clear an Image Aspect Ratio

Are you finding an option to clear an image aspect ratio? This means, resizing the crop border independently is your primary purpose. 

Clear an Aspect Ratio

There is a Clear option on the right side of the aspect ratio length. Click on it to Clear the customized aspect ratio.

After clearing the customized aspect ratio, you can drag the handles freely.

cropping in photoshop

How to Crop to a Specific Image Size and Resolution

In the above steps, we were discussing cropping an image following a general aspect ratio or shape.

Aspect Ratio menu

The most surprising thing is, you can crop a photo to a specific size & resolution using the Crop tool. For this, the Aspect Ratio menu needs to be opened.

Then from the list, select the W X H X Resolution option.

Resolution option a

For example, I want to take a printout of a fixed size of 11″ X 15″ rather than making an aspect ratio of 11″ X 15″ of my image.

Put value in aspect ratio box

At this stage, the width needs to be more extensive compared to the height. So, I will click into the Width box and out 15 and write “in” (for inches) insides the box. Then clicking on TAB, jump to the height box, and apply the same method.

Changing the Resolution Value in Photoshop Crop Tool

Did you notice that we have a 3rd box where we will need to put the resolution value? 300 pixel/inch is the industry standard resolution, and I will put the same resolution value into the box. Remember to select px/in as a measurement of the resolution.

measurement of the resolution

With the above settings, I’ll resize the crop border.

resize image

Image Cropping by Photoshop Crop Tool

Now while cropping the image, make sure to click on the Checkmark of the options bar. You can follow the shortcut key to crop an image by pressing Enter (for Windows) and Return (for Mac). 

Checkmark of the options

Once the image is cropped, press the Spacebar and don’t release it. Drag the image into the viewing area so that you can see it.

resize image pixels

How to Check the Image Size 

To learn the image size, you will need to go to the Image Menu and then choose Image Size from the list. A new dialog box will appear to find the width, height, and resolution of the image.

Image Menu

Click Cancel to close the dialog box.

Image Size

What is the Procedure to Undo the Crop

Go to the Edit menu and select Undo Crop.

Edit Menu

You also can follow the Keyboard Shortcut.

For Windows: Ctrl + Z

And for Mac: Command + Z

Thus, you will get the original image.

crop image Original

To fit the image on the screen,

For Windows: Ctrl + 0

And for Mac: Command + 0 

If you require to zoom in/out, press the +/- key holding the Ctrl (for Windows) or Command for Mac).

How to Crop Overlay Using Photoshop Crop Tool

Using the crop tool, you also can create a crop overlay, which is another handy feature. The cropping border is invisible in the image; click on the image to get it again. Inside the border, a 3 X 3 grid will appear, and its name is Rule of Thirds.

Crop Overlay Using the Crop Tool

With the Rule of Thirds, you can easily place the image subject in or near a spot where grid lines are intersecting.

crop overlay photoshop

How to Select a Different Overlay

Don’t assume that the Rule of Thirds is the only option to create an overlay. Other options are also available, and to use them, you will need to go to Option Bar and click on the Overlay Icon.

Select a Different Overlay

A list will appear where different overlaying options are available. I am selecting the Golden Ratio.

selecting the Golden Ratio

You may find the Golden Ratio similar to the Rule of thirds. But intersection points are closer to the center of the image in this overlay option.

how to crop in photoshop

These are all the basics related to the Crop Tool.

how to crop image in photoshop

How to Straighten an Image in Photoshop Using Crop Tool

At this stage, we will work with a different image. Look at the below image. The horizon line is entirely unconventional. 

How to Use Crop Tool to Straighten an Image

So, go to the toolbar and select the crop tool to straighten the image.

select the crop tool to straighten the image

And you have to select the Straighten Tool too.

Using the Straighten Tool Photoshop

select the Straighten Tool too

When using the straighten tool, find something in the photo that should be vertically or horizontally straight. In this image, it is the horizontal line that is not straight.

First, you have to draw a path. Place your cursor on any point of the left side horizon line and click the left button. Then drag it to the right side to draw a path. Between the two points, you will find a path. Following this path, the image will be rotated, so the path has to be straightened.

How to Straighten an Image in Photoshop

Once you release the mouse, the image will be rotated by Photoshop to straighten it. Because of the image rotation, some transparent areas will appear in every corner of the image. Photoshop will keep these transparent corners out of the photo by resizing them.

Straighten an Image in Photoshop

You can now use the crop borders to give your image a new size as per your requirement.

Once cropping is done for Windows, click on ENTER, and for Mac, click on RETURN.

straightening an image using the Crop Tool

And you have accomplished straightening the photo by applying the Crop Tool.

how to straighten an image in photoshop 2020 CC 2020

What is the Process of Non-Destructive Image Cropping

At this stage, we will use another new image. We will learn the process of non-destructively image cropping.

Non-Destructive Image Cropping

Go to the Toolbar option and select the Crop Tool.

Crop Tool Box Option

You will have to change the Aspect Ratio settings from the Options Bar. 8 x 10 will be the aspect ratio preset setting.

aspect ratio preset setting

Hold the top handle of the crop border and drag it downward. Since you are resizing the image from its center, make sure to hold Option (for Mac user) and Alt (for Windows user).

resizing the image

Now, press ENTER (for windows) or RETURN (for Mac) to Crop the image.

Crop the image

How to Delete Cropped Pixels

So far, we did excellent work. Some may don’t like the changes in cropping the image and thus look for an option to change the crop. What to do now? What to do if someone wants to change the orientation from portrait to landscape? This is not a difficult task.

Go to the Options Bar again, click on the Swap icon to swap the aspect ratio.

swap the aspect ratio

The crop border will again appear in the image.

Close Image Cropping

Cropping the image so closer to the center will not be looked great. So, hold the handles and drag them back to bring more area to the background.

image cropping online

After making the selection, release the mouse. Ops! All extra areas of the image become white, right? No worries, it also has a solution.

photoshop image cropping tutorial

Do you know why it happens?

When you cropped the original image, Photoshop deleted all the pixels that surrounded the image. And the surrounding area is filled with a white background because the background’s current color is selected as White.

Background color option box

Now you might be wondering why Photoshop deleted the surrounded pixels?

If you look at the options bar intently, you will find an option named Delete Cropped Pixels. This option is turned on.

Delete Cropped Pixels

Let’s Restore the pixels in an effective way.

Go to the Options bar. And click on the Cancel button to cancel the crop.

click on Cancel button to cancel crop

Then go to the File menu and choose Revert. This way, the image will revert to its original copy.

choose Revert in file manu

Now all surrounding pixels will be restored.

restored cropped pixels

Then again, the aspect ratio needs to be swapped.

aspect ratio needs swap

And then Crop Border will appear again. Hold the handles for resizing the border as per the requirement, as you did previously.

Image Cropping and Resizing

Click on the Delete Cropped Pixels box.

Finally, press ENTER (for Windows) or RETURN (for Mac) to complete the Cropping Process.

FAQs on Photoshop Crop Tool

What is the Crop Tool?

Photoshop crop tools allow a person to crop or straighten any image as per requirement. This tool is non-destructive. Following the cropping option, a person can create more focus on image composition.

How can I turn off the Crop tool?

Applying a crop tool is a straightforward task.
First, use the Crop tool from the Options bar to crop an image. Inside the crop area, give a double click. Hit the ENTER button (for windows) or RETURN button (for Mac), the cropping process will finish.
For canceling Crop, select the Cancel icon. Or press the Esc key.

Does Image Cropping have any effect on quality?

The process of image cropping is taking a part of an image, not making any change to the image. The truth is that the crop tool doesn’t affect image quality; only magnification does.

Final Words

Out of many Photoshop tools, the Crop tool is widely used for different purposes. Thus, any of the discussed Photoshop Crop Tools tips and tricks will help you while doing any Photo editing work.

It would be best to remember that you couldn’t progress in these tips and tricks without practicing. So, If you don’t practice, you will soon forget all these Crop tools, tips, and tricks.

Thanks for reading this article.

Learn more:

Leave a Comment

Need Photoshop Services?