Select Straight Sides with the Polygonal Lasso Tool in Elements - dummies

Select Straight Sides with the Polygonal Lasso Tool in Elements

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

The Polygonal Lasso tool in Photoshop Elements 11 is at its best when selecting straight-sided subjects, such as city skylines, buildings, and stairways. Unlike the Lasso tool, the Polygonal Lasso tool has rubber band–like qualities, and instead of dragging, you click and release the mouse button at the vertices of the object you’re selecting.

Follow these steps to select with the Polygonal Lasso tool:

  1. Select the Polygonal Lasso tool in the Tools panel.

    You can also use the keyboard shortcut by pressing the L key. If the Polygonal Lasso isn’t visible, press L again to cycle through the Lasso tools or select the tool from the Tool Options. The Polygonal Lasso tool looks like the Lasso tool but has straight sides.

  2. Click and release at any point along the edge of the desired element.

  3. Move (don’t drag) the mouse and click and release at the next corner of the element; continue clicking and releasing at the various corners of the object.

    The line stretches out from each corner you click, like a rubber band.

  4. To close a selection, return to your starting point and click and release.

    When you place the cursor over the starting point, a small circle appears next to the cursor, indicating that you’re at the right place for closing the selection. A selection marquee that matches your Polygonal Lasso path appears.

    [Credit: © Image #019040480]
    Credit: © Image #019040480

Some objects have both curves and straight sides. No problem. Hold down the Alt key (Option key on the Mac) and then click and drag to select the curves. Your Polygonal Lasso tool temporarily transforms into the regular Lasso tool. Release the Alt (or Option) key to return to the Polygonal Lasso tool. This trick also works with the other Lasso tools.