How to Load an Alpha Channel in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

If you’ve gone through the trouble of creating an alpha channel in Photoshop CS6, it’s no doubt because you want to easily load (or access) the selection again and again. To load an alpha channel, use any one of these many methods:

  • Choose Select→Load Selection. In the Load Selection dialog box, select your document and channel. Click Invert to swap selected and unselected areas. If your image has an active selection, choose how you want to combine the selections.

  • Select the alpha channel in the Channels panel, click the Load Channel as Selection icon at the bottom of the panel, and then click the composite channel.

  • Drag the channel to the Load Channel as Selection icon.

  • Ctrl-click (Command-click on the Mac) the alpha channel in the Channels panel.

  • Ctrl+Shift-click (Command+Shift-click on the Mac) to add the alpha channel to an active selection.

  • Ctrl+Alt-click (Command+Option-click on the Mac) to subtract the alpha channel from an active selection.

  • Ctrl+Alt+Shift-click (Command+Option+Shift-click on the Mac) to intersect the alpha channel with an active selection.

Adding channels can start to bloat your file size, so use them judiciously. The Photoshop native format and TIFF format compress channel information and therefore are good file formats to use when working with a lot of channels. The only formats that preserve alpha channels are Photoshop, TIFF, PDF, PICT, Pixar, Photoshop Raw, BMP, TGA (Targa), and PSB (Photoshop large format).