If you’re just starting to learn Adobe Photoshop, understanding the many capabilities of each tool will speed up and streamline your creative projects. Versions CS6 offers a lot of new and improved tools, streamlining the Photoshop experience while delivering a wide array of options to choose from.

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In part one of this beginner’s guide tutorial, we’ll dive into the functionality of each of the following tools:

  • Toolbar
  • The Move Tool
  • The Rectangular Marquee Tool
  • The Elliptical Marquee Tool
  • The Single Row Marquee Tool
  • The Single Column Marquee Tool

Toolbar

Photoshop CS6’s toolbar is located on the left of the page (if you want to move it to a different location, simply change this in your settings). Toolbar is also available on the Window panel.

Toolbar with 2 options

The tool bar can appear in either Extended or Compact Mode. View the examples below to see which one would work best for you.

Extended mode toolbar:

Toolbar extended mode

Compact mode toolbar:

Toolbar compact mode

The Move Tool

This tool is located on the very top of the toolbar. See the example below.

Move tool on the toolbar

Tip: The move tool keyboard shortcut is the “V” key.

V key to select move tool

What does it do?

Example: you have an image of a bicycle in a different layer over a white background image layer. Clicking and dragging the bicycle will move it without affecting the white image beneath it.

Tip: You can also copy or cut the pixel selection and move it to a different window or in the same window.

The Rectangular Marquee Tool

Underneath the move tool on the toolbar, you’ll notice the square dotted-line icon. By clicking and holding the icon you’ll see a drop-down menu appear. Click on Rectangular Marquee tool to select it.

Rectangular Marquee Tool on the toolbar

Tip: The keyboard shortcut is the “M” key.

M key to select Rectangular Marquee Tool

What does it do?

Example: if you want to cut a portion of what appears in their workstation, use the tool to highlight it and then select ‘Cut.’

Select a portion using rectangular marquee tool

The Elliptical Marquee Tool

This tool is found under the same drop menu as the Rectangular Marquee tool.

Eliptical marque tool

Tip: The keyboard shortcut is also the “M” key. Whichever elliptical tool was last selected through the drop menu is what will be selected upon hitting this key.

M key to select Rectangular Marquee Tool

What does it do?

Example: Using the same example as that of the rectangular tool, click and drag your mouse to highlight an area and select “Cut”. This time the area will be a circle as opposed to a rectangle.

Select a portion using elliptical marquee tool

The Single Row Marquee Tool

This tool is located in the same drop-down menu, but it has no keyboard shortcut.

Single Row Marquee Tool on the toolbar

What does it do?

Example: The main functionality of the tool lives up to its name - single row. If you need to create a single-pixel-wide line in your image, click once on the screen (as opposed to a click and drag) and a broken line will appear across the x-axis starting from the click point.

Select a portion using single row marquee tool

The Single Column Marquee Tool

The last tool from the drop-down menu and does not have a keyboard shortcut.

Single Column Marquee Tool on the toolbar

What does it do?

Example: This tool is the vertical version of the Single Row tool, enabling you to create a vertical line down the screen from the pixel you selected. See the example in the image below.

Select a portion using single column marquee tool

If you want to continue learning, check out The Beginner’s Guide to Photoshop CS6 Tools Part 2, which covers the Lasso tool, Polygonal Lasso tool, Magnetic Lasso tool, Quick Selection tool, and Magic Wand tool. Or another beginner-level lesson, Photoshop Tutorial: How to Use the Photoshop Pen Tool.

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Rokaiya Yeasmin Munni

As manager and head of digital marketing at Clipping Path India, Rokaiya wants to help retailers and photographers use marketing strategies and tactics that will elevate their business. She has an 18-year background in graphic design, content management and digital marketing.

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