A Quick Guide To The Different Photoshop Tools


According to Adobe, over 90% of creative professionals use Photoshop. It’s one of the most versatile photo editing packages available today, with a huge range of tools available to advanced users.

To the uninitiated, this array of photoshop tools takes on hieroglyphic proportions, offering no clue as to their functions when you first view photoshop software. It’s difficult figuring out where to start.

Find out more about the basic tools you need to edit pictures for everyday use, here.

An Overview of Photoshop Tools

There are six main types of Photoshop tools to know when you learn Photoshop. They’re grouped in descending order along the left-hand side toolbar.

These are:

  • 4 Selection Tools
  • 2 Crop and Slice tools
  • 1 Measurement tool
  • 8 Retouching and Painting tools
  • 4 Drawing and Type tools
  • 2 Navigation tools

Each of these icons represents several more related tools that you can see when you click on the main icon.

Magic Wand Selection Tool

This is one of the most widely used selection tools.

You use the Photoshop Magic Wand Tool to select and mask certain portions of your image. That allows you to keep one portion of your image intact while manipulating the others.

According to Google Trends, hundreds of people use the search term ‘remove background from an image online’ every month. That’s because this task is rather complicated when using Adobe Photoshop.

It’s much easier to use an online automated tool, but perfectionists will find they get better results using the following steps in Photoshop:

  1. Open your photo
  2. Duplicate the background layer
  3. Select the background tool using the magic wand tool
  4. Refine the edges using the Smooth function and refine edge tool
  5. Output your selection to a layer mask
  6. Insert a new background by pasting it over the original background layer

Other Photoshop Selection Tools

Photoshop’s array of selection tools offers more specific functionality than the Magic Wand does. There are tools available like Photoshop brushesbut of course there are multiple others, and these are:

  • Move Tool for layers, guides, and selections
  • Artboard Tool for designing multiple layouts
  • Rectangular marquee tool to draw rectangular selection outlines
  • Elliptical marquee tool for elliptical or circular selection outlines
  • Single Row Marquee Tool to select a single row of pixels
  • Single Column Marquee Tool picks a single column of pixels
  • Lasso Tool for free form selection
  • Magnetic Lasso Tool snaps the selection outline to the edges of an image
  • Object Selection Tool
  • Quick Selection Tool for selecting an object by brushing over it

These tools don’t do much except allow you to carry out precise manipulation of images.

Image Manipulation Tools

All the Photoshop cropping and slicing tools work the same as lower-end editing programs like Paint or even Microsoft Word. They also offer more refined functions like fixing distortion issues or editing individual slices of an image.

The retouching and painting tools are awesome to edit photos, giving you the ability to fix, blur, clone, and blend areas of your image.

Make the Most of Your Photos

These photoshop tools are all you need to get started with retouching and manipulating your images, but it takes time to master them all.

You can sign up for a course to learn more in-depth techniques, but online tutorials are an excellent way to learn photoshop tips if you aren’t going to make a career or photo editing.

Are you curious about more tech tips? Keep browsing our website for all the best ones.