Apply Marquee Selections in Photoshop Elements 10

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

The Marquee tools offer additional options when you need to make precise selections at specific measurements. You also find options for making your selections soft around the edges.

The only thing to remember is that you must select the options on the Options bar before you make your selection with the Marquee tools. Options can’t be applied after the selection has already been made. The exception is that you can feather a selection after the fact by choosing Select→Feather.


Here are the various marquee options available to you:

  • Feather. Feathering creates soft edges around your selection. The amount of softness depends on the value, from 0 to 250 pixels, that you enter. The higher the value, the softer the edges.


    Very small amounts of feathering can be used to create subtle transitions between selected elements in a collage or for blending an element into an existing background. Larger amounts are often used when you’re combining multiple layers so that one image gradually fades into another. If you want a selected element to have just a soft edge without the background, simply choose Select→Inverse and delete the background.

    Don’t forget that those soft edges represent partially selected pixels.

  • Anti-Alias. Anti-aliasing barely softens the edge of an elliptical or irregularly shaped selection so that the jagged edges aren’t quite so obvious. An anti-aliased edge is always only 1 pixel wide. Leave this option chosen for your selections. It can help to create natural transitions between multiple selections when you’re creating collages.

  • Mode. The Mode drop-down menu contains three settings:

    • Normal. The default setting, which allows you to freely drag a selection of any size.

    • Fixed Ratio. Lets you specify a fixed ratio of width to height. For example, if you enter 3 for width and 1 for height, you get a selection that’s three times as wide as it is high, no matter what the size.

    • Fixed Size. Lets you specify desired values for the width and height. This setting can be useful when you need to make several selections that must be the same size.

  • Width and Height. When you select Fixed Ratio or Fixed Size from the Mode drop-down menu, you must also enter your desired values in the Width and Height text boxes. To swap the Width and Height values, click the double-headed arrow button between the two measurements.

    The default unit of measurement in the Width and Height text boxes is pixels (px), but that doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with it. You can enter any unit of measurement that Elements recognizes — pixels, inches (in), centimeters (cm), millimeters (mm), points (pt), picas (pica), or percentages (%). Type your value and then type the word or abbreviation of your unit of measurement.