Move a selection
The Move tool lets you cut and drag a pixel selection to a new location in the photo. You can also use the tool to move or copy selections between photos in Photoshop Elements, and to photos in other applications that support selections.
Move tool options
When you select the Move tool, you can change the following settings in the options bar:
Auto Select Layer: Selects the topmost layer that has pixels under the Move tool cursor, rather than the currently selected layer.
Show Bounding Box: Displays the bounding box around the selection in the image, or around the currently selected layer (if there is no active selection on the image). The boxes on the sides and corners allow you to resize the selection or layer.
Show Highlight On Rollover: Highlights individual layers as the mouse hovers over the image. Click on a highlighted layer to select and move it. Layers that are already selected do not highlight on rollover.
Arrange menu: Moves the selected layer in front, in between, or in back of other layers. Options include Bring To Front, Bring Forward, Send Backward, and Send To Back. To arrange a layer, select the layer, and then choose an item from the Arrange menu.
Align menu: Aligns the selected layers. Options include Top Edges, Vertical Centers, Bottom Edges, Left Edges, Horizontal Centers, and Right Edges. Multiple layers can be aligned simultaneously. To align layers, select a layer, hold down Shift, select another layer, and then choose an item from the Align menu.
Distribute menu: Spaces selected layers equally apart. Options include Top Edges, Vertical Centers, Bottom Edges, Left Edges, Horizontal Centers, and Right Edges. Multiple layers can be spaced simultaneously. For this option to be enabled, you must have a minimum of three selected layers. To space layers apart, select a layer, hold down Shift, select other layers, and then choose an item from the Distribute menu.
Copying selections or layers
You can copy and paste selections using the Move tool or the Copy, Copy Merged, Cut, Paste, or Paste Into Selection commands in the Edit menu.
Keep in mind that when a selection or layer is pasted between photos with different resolutions, the pasted data retains its original pixel dimensions. This can make the pasted portion appear out of proportion to the new image. Use the Image > Resize > Image Size command to make the source and destination photos the same resolution before copying and pasting.
Selections that you cut or copy are stored in the clipboard. Only one selection is stored in the clipboard at a time.
Copy selections with the Move tool
When copying between photos, drag the selection from the active image window into the other image window. A border highlights the image window when you can drop the selection into it.
- Select the part of the image you want to copy.
- In the Edit workspace, select the Move tool from the toolbox.
- Press Alt (Option in Mac OS) while dragging the selection you want to copy and move.
- To make additional copies of the same selection, do one of the following:
- Hold down Alt (Option in Mac OS) while dragging the selection to each new location.
- To offset the duplicate by 1 pixel, hold down Alt (Option in Mac OS), and press an arrow key. (This moves the pixels and copies the pixels, creating a blur effect.)
- To offset the duplicate by 10 pixels, press Alt (Option in Mac OS) + Shift and press an arrow key. (This moves the pixels rather than copying them.)
Copy a selection using commands
- In the Edit workspace, use a selection tool to select the area you want to copy.
- Do one of the following:
- Choose Edit > Copy to copy the selection to the clipboard.
- Choose Edit > Copy Merged to copy all layers in the selected area to the clipboard.
Paste one selection into another
You can use the Paste Into Selection command to paste clipboard, or copied content, within a selection. This command lets you take advantage of elements within the selected area and prevent the pasted image from looking flat and unnatural. For example, you can use a Hard Light blending mode at 85% opacity to retain the reflection in a pair of sunglasses. When using blending modes this way, you need to create a new layer and paste the selection into that layer.
A. Part of the original photo selected B. Photo to copy and paste into original C. Resulting image
- In the Edit workspace, use the Copy command to copy the part of the photo you want to paste. (You can even copy from photos in other applications.)
- Make a selection in the photo into which you want to paste the copied photo.
- Choose Edit > Paste Into Selection.
- With your pointer within the selection border, drag the pasted image to the proper location.
- When you’re satisfied with the results, deselect the pasted image to commit the changes.