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Adobe Photoshop CS4: Cropping Tips

By Barb Binder

It seems like most Photoshop users, even when they don’t know how to do anything else with the software, know how crop photos. It’s pretty easy: when you want to remove pixels from along the edge of a photo, you grab the Crop tool from the Toolbox, draw a crop box, tug on the sizing handles until its perfect, and then press [Enter] ([Return] on a Mac). If you can’t get the box the right size (usually because you are on a caffeine overload and your mouse is too shaky) don’t press [Enter], just press [Esc] and you can try again. But you knew that, right? Here are a couple of cropping tips that elude a number of otherwise competent Photoshop users.

  1. As long as the border pixels are transparent or a solid color, just choose Image > Trim. It’s quick, but also really great when the object you are cropping has a drop shadow with partially transparent pixels. You may not see them well, but the software will, and will crop up to the shadow, perfectly.
  2. If you have a marching ants selection loaded, don’t go back and draw a new box with the Crop tool, just choose Image > Crop.
  3. And my favorite: I throw an image on the scanner, and besides picking up the white background of my scanner lid, of course the image isn’t straight when I open it in Photoshop. Draw the crop box with the Crop tool, place your cursor just outside a sizing handle and it turns into a rotate cursor. Drag your mouse to rotate, adjust the sizing handles one more time, and presto: crop and straighten at the same time!

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