How to Move and Clone Selections in Photoshop Elements 11

When you have your selection in Photoshop Elements 11 modified to perfection, you may then want to move it or clone it. To move a selection, simply grab the Move tool (the four-headed arrow) in the Tools panel and then drag the selection.

Sounds easy enough, right? When you move the selection, however, be warned that the area where the selection used to reside is now filled with the background color. It turns out, though, that the background color appears only if you decide to move both the selection outline and the image pixels.

But you don’t have to move both; you can move just the selection outline (without the pixels). Also, if you’re moving a selection on a layer, you’re left with transparent pixels.

The Move tool has a few options residing in the Tool Options that are mostly relevant when working with layers.

[Credit: ©istockphoto.com/karma_pema Image #2570387]
Credit: ©istockphoto.com/karma_pema Image #2570387

Clone a selection in Elements

If you don’t want to leave a hole in your image, you can copy and move the selection, leaving the original image intac. Just hold down the Alt key (Option key on the Mac) and drag when using the Move tool. This action is often referred to as cloning because you’re essentially making a duplicate of a selected area and then moving that duplicate elsewhere.

[Credit: ©istockphoto.com/karma_pema Image #2570387]
Credit: ©istockphoto.com/karma_pema Image #2570387

Move the selection outline, but not the pixels

If all you want to do is move the selection outline without moving the pixels underneath (for example, to better center an elliptical selection around whatever you want), avoid using the Move tool. Instead, choose any selection tool — a Marquee or Lasso tool — and then click anywhere inside the selection and just drag.

That way, you move only the outline of the selection, not the pixels of the selection itself. You can also use the arrow keys to nudge a selection marquee.

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