How to Use the Elliptical Marquee Tool in Photoshop CS6

In Photoshop CS6, the Elliptical Marquee tool is designed for elliptical, including circular, selections. You can easily select objects such as clocks, balls, and full moons by using this tool.

When you select with the Elliptical Marquee tool, you don’t drag from corner to corner per se; you drag from one corner of the ellipsis’s bounding box to the other, which makes the process a little tougher. Here are the steps:

  1. Select the Elliptical Marquee tool from the Marquee flyout menu in the Tools panel.

    You can also use the keyboard shortcut. If the Elliptical Marquee tool is visible, press the M key. If the Rectangular Marquee is visible, you must press Shift+M.

  2. Position the crosshair near the area that you want to select and then drag around your desired element.

    While you drag, the selection marquee appears.

    You may find it easier to create an elliptical selection by holding down the Alt (Option on the Mac) key and dragging from the center outward. First, click the mouse button, and then before you move the mouse, hold down Alt (Option on the Mac) and drag. Release your mouse and then the key when you have your desired selection.

    If you want to draw from the center out and want a perfect circle, hold down the Shift key, as well. When you have your desired selection, release your mouse button and then the Shift+Alt (Shift+Option on the Mac) keys. This technique works for creating squares, also.

  3. When you’re satisfied with your selection, release your mouse button.

    Your elliptical selection is alive and well.

    [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/AnnettVauteck Image #3385650]
    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/AnnettVauteck Image #3385650
  • If you need to move the selection marquee to better center your selection, click and drag inside the marquee.

  • You can move a selection with any of the Marquee tools by pressing the spacebar while you’re drawing.

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