How to Move and Clone Selections in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

When you have your selection refined to ultimate perfection using Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite 6, you may then want to move it or clone it. In both cases, you will use the Move tool.

How to move a selection in Photoshop CS6

To move a selection, simply grab the Move tool (the four-headed arrow) at the top right of the Tools panel, and then drag the selection.

Sounds easy enough, right? When you move the selection, however, be warned that the area where the selection used to reside fills with the background color. The background appears, of course, only if you’re moving both the selection outline and the image pixels. You can move just the selection outline without the pixels.

Additionally, if you’re moving a selection on a layer, you’re left with transparent pixels. When you use the Move tool, your cursor icon changes to a pair of scissors, letting you know that you’re cutting out the selection.

The Move tool has some notable options on the Options bar:

  • Auto-Select Layer: Select the topmost layer directly under the Move tool cursor, not necessarily the selected area.

  • Auto-Select Group: Select the entire layer group that the selected layer belongs to.

  • Show Transform Controls: Show handles on the bounding box of your selected area.

    [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/heidijpix Image #18772472]

    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/heidijpix Image #18772472

How to clone a selection in Photoshop CS6

If the idea of leaving a big hole in your image doesn’t appeal to you, you can copy and move the selection, leaving the original image intact. Just hold down Alt (Option on the Mac) and drag when using the Move tool. This action is often referred to as cloning because you’re essentially making a duplicate of a selected area and then moving that duplicate elsewhere.

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/heidijpix Image #18772472]

Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/heidijpix Image #18772472

When cloning, your cursor icon changes to a double-headed arrow, notifying you that you’re duplicating the selection.