Fill and Outline Selections in Photoshop Elements 10 - dummies

Fill and Outline Selections in Photoshop Elements 10

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

When working with Photoshop Elements 10, you may need the Fill and Stroke commands to create an element on your canvas that can’t quite be created with a brush or pencil stroke. You can fill or stroke a selection to create that element, rather than draw or paint it on.

The Fill command adds a color or a pattern to the entire selection, whereas the Stroke command applies the color to only the edge of the selection border.

Fill command in Photoshop Elements 10

You won’t find a Fill tool on the Tools panel. Elements decided to avoid the overpopulated panel and placed the Fill and Stroke commands on the Edit menu.

Here are the simple steps to fill a selection:

  1. Grab the selection tool of your choice and create your selection on a new layer.

    Although you don’t have to create a new layer to make a selection to fill, we recommend it. That way, if you don’t like the filled selection, you can delete the layer, and your image or background below it remains safe.

  2. Select either the foreground or background color and then choose a fill color.

  3. Choose Edit→Fill Selection.

    The Fill Layer dialog box appears.


    If you want to bypass the Fill Layer dialog box (and the rest of these steps), you can use these handy keyboard shortcuts instead:

    • To fill the selection with the foreground color, press Alt+Backspace (Option+Delete on the Macintosh).

    • To fill it with the background color, press Ctrl+Backspace (Command+Delete on the Macintosh).

  4. Choose your desired fill from the Use pop-up menu.

    You can select whether to fill with the foreground or background color. You also can choose Color, Black, 50% Gray, White, or Pattern. If you select Color, you’re transported to the Color Picker. If you choose Pattern, you must then choose a pattern from the Custom Pattern drop-down panel.

    If you don’t have an active selection border in your image, the command says Fill Layer and your entire layer is filled with your color or pattern.

  5. In the blending area, you can specify whether to preserve transparency, which enables you to fill only the portions of the selection that contain pixels (the nontransparent areas).

    Although you can also choose a blend mode (how the fill color interacts with colors below it) and opacity percentage, we urge you not to adjust your blend mode and opacity in the Fill Layer dialog box. Make those adjustments on your layer later, by using the Layer panel commands, where you have more flexibility for editing.

  6. Click OK.

    The color or pattern fills the selection.

Outline with the Stroke command in Photoshop Elements 10

Stroking a selection enables you to create colored outlines, or borders, of selections or layers. You can put this border inside or outside the selection border or centered on it. Here are the steps to stroke a selection:

  1. Choose a foreground color and create a selection.

  2. Choose Edit→Stroke (Outline) Selection.

    The Stroke dialog box opens.

  3. Select your desired settings.

    Many settings are the same as those found in the Fill Layer dialog box, as we explain in the preceding section. Here’s a brief rundown of the options that are unique to strokes:

    • Width. Enter a width of 1 to 250 pixels for the stroke.

    • Location. Specify how Elements should apply the stroke: outside the selection, inside the selection, or centered on the selection.

  4. Click OK to apply the stroke.