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Photoshop - Marquee Tool - M

The Marquee Tool - M:

Marquee Tool

The Marquee tool creates geometric, selection shapes like squares, rectangles, and circles. Select either the elliptical marquee tool or the rectangular marquee tool, then click and drag to create rectangles and ellipses. Use the keyboard shortcut "M" or Shift M to select the marquee tool.

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Fill a selection with any foreground color by quickly pressing Alt+Backspace or Option+Backspace for the Mac.

A Selection:

A Selection

Alternating white and black dashes indicated what has been selected. Click away from a selection to immediately start another selection.

Photoshop - Marquee Options Bar

Located at the top of the stage are the options available for this tool. The first four icons seen here allow one to add or subtract additional selections from a prior selection. Mouse over each icon to see which is which.

Marquee Tool Options:

Marquee Tool Options
  • Create a New Selection
  • Add to a Selection
  • Subtract from Selection
  • Intersect with Selection

Follow along in our demo but also be sure to spend more time tinkering around with these icons. They become quite helpful as you gain more and more Photoshop experience.

Selection Options:

  1. Create any selection.
  2. Create New Selection
  3. Add another selection to an existing selection.
  4. Add Another Selection
  5. Subtract a selection.
  6. Subtract a Selection
  7. Select the Intersecting Pixels.
  8. Select Intersecting

Next a "feathered" option exists and an anti-aliased checkbox. Feathering nicely blends the edges of a selection with pixels of the background, which in tern softens the transition.

Feathering Box:

Feathered Box

Anti-aliasing deserves a lesson all to itself. Anti-aliasing prevents your round selections from having rough, square-like edges. Think back to the graphics that existed in the 1980's. Drawings and computer graphics had pixilated, edges especially curves and circular edges. Keep this box checked until further notice.

Anti-Alias Box:

Anti-Alias Box

The style box is a drop-down list with three options. Normal is just normal, it allows you to create selections as you please. A fixed-ratio selection forces every selection to match that ratio. Ratios of 1:1 make squares and perfect circles. The fixed height allows you to specify a height and width (in pixels) for each new selection made.

Marquee Style Box:

Marquee Style Box

Photoshop - Elliptical Marquee Tool

As the name states, this tool can create selections in the form of ellipses and circles. While dragging with the elliptical marquee tool, pressing down the shift key creates a perfect circle.

A Perfect Circle:

A Perfect Circle

Use the space bar to drag the selection into place while still holding down the mouse button.

Photoshop - Rectangular Marquee Tool

Use this tool to create selections in the form of rectangles or squares. While dragging a new selection you may also press shift or option to create a perfect square. Also pressing the space bar, will stop resizing the selection and instead allow you to move the whole selection about the canvas. Use this technique to reposition and select geometric shapes.

A Perfect Square:

A Perfect Square


  • Use the space bar to drag selections into place while still outlining a new selection.
  • A fixed-ratio of 1:1 outlines a perfect square or circle.
  • Set perfect dimensions or a diameter using the fixed size option.
  • Use Ctrl+D or Command+D to deselect any selection.

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