photoshop marquee tools

Marquee tools are the basic selection tools that resemble the seection tool available in Microsoft Paint. They are used to make rectangular or elliptical selections within the document area. Lets have a look at each of them.

Rectangular Marquee Tool

It is used to select any portion of an object by drawing a rectangular shape around it. Select the tool and drag the mouse while holding the left button of the mouse to define the size.

Options for Rectangular Marquee Tool

Tool Preset

Marquee tools don't have any preset options.

Selection Options

Marquee tool provides you with multiple selection options which appear beside the preset option. There are 4 selection options which are stated below.

  • New Selection - Creates a new selection area each time you click and drag the mouse on the document area.
  • Add to Selection - Extends the selection area by adding up the newly made selection to the existing ones.
  • Subtract From Selection - Reduces the selection area by subtracting the newly made selection area from the existing ones.
  • Intersect With Selection - Creates a new selection area by keeping only the newly selected area that intersects with the existing ones.

So, you can use any of those selection options as per your requirement and create selection areas for other actions.


Feather option allows you to make the hard edges of a selected area smooth by blurring the edges with the pixel value defined. This option is also available for Lasso tools. Feathering effects are visible only after the move, copy, cut or fill action is carried out on the selected object.


Anti-alias is another option to smoothen the edges by softening the pixels on the edges of an image. Since, rectangular marquee tool creates clean edges itself, this option is disabled but is available for elliptical marquee tool and lasso tools as they cut out images and leave the edges jagged.


This option allows you to define constraints for the rectangular marquee tool where the options are as follows.

  • Normal - This option allows you to create selections without any constraints.
  • Fixed Ration - This option allows you to create selections with a fixed width to height ratio wihich can be defined on the width and height fields beside the dropdown. Once the fixed ratio option is enabled, you can only define the width of the selection and the height will be automatically set.
  • Fixed Size - This option allows you to create selections of the defined width and height only. You don't even deed to drag the mouse in such cases. Simply, define the width and height on the related input fields and click on the document area and the selection is done.

Refine Edge

Refine edge option allows you to refine the selection made in case of complicated objects. It comes with its own set of further options that's displayed on a separate dialog box which are as follows.

View Mode

View mode provides you with multiple options namely Marching Ants, Overlay, On Black, On White, Black and White, On Layers and Reveal. These options will portray the selected areas in different styles from where you can choose the one you feel convenient to work with. Further, you can opt to view the selection area with defined radius value or the original content.

Smart Radius

Smart radius option allows you to let the application decide the selection area refinement depending upon the content on the edges.


This option allows you to define the extent to which the refinement tool should refine the edges. It functions best with the smart radius option turned on.

Adjust Edges

This option box provides you with further options to adjust the edges of the selection area which are as follows.

  • Smooth - This option allows you to keep the edges of the selection area smooth which can be useful for hard edged objects while objects with uneven edges won't look good if this option is applied.
  • Feather - As stated earlier, it allows you to keep the edges smooth by blurring them.
  • Contrast - This option allows you to keep the edges sharp.
  • Shift Edges - This option allows you to extend or reduce your selection area.

Decontaminate Colors

This option allows you to reduce the color of the edges of the selection which will be visible if the output is loaded as a separate layer. Use the slider to define the amount of decontamination. The options for output are as follows.

  • Selection - The output will be loaded as the selection area in the same layer.
  • Layer Mask - Adds a layer mask to the selection.
  • New Layer - Creates a new layer with the selected object.
  • New Layer With Mask - Creates a new layer with selected object with layer mask added.
  • New Document - Creates a new document with the selected object.
  • New Document With Layer Mask - Creates a new document with the selected object with layer mask..

Redefine Radius Tool

This tool is located on the left edge of the dialog box as a brush icon. It allows you to redefine the selection using the brush.

Elliptical Marquee Tool

Elliptical marquee tool is quite similar to the rectangular marquee tool. The only difference is that it is used to make selections by drawing an elliptical or oval shape around the object.

Single Row / Single Column Marquee Tool

These tools are helpful in selecting single pixel across the image row-wise and column-wise respectively. These tools are used while working on tiny details of any graphic files or when the selection is to be made across a large image. You can use single row or single column marquee tool and then transform it to redefine the height or width.