Photoshop Basics – Rectangular Marquee Tool

by Vargis.Khan

The Rectangular Marquee Tool is the second tool in Photoshop Toolbar. The word “Marquee” in British English means “a large tent used for social or commercial functions” and in American English it means “a canopy projecting over the entrance to a theater, hotel, or other building”. I am not sure what inspired Photoshop to name this tool as Marquee but I believe it has something to do with the American definition of the word as it is used to create a rectangle shaped selection in an image which can look like a gate or an entrance.

As the name implies, the Rectangular Marquee Tool is perfect for times when you need to draw a selection in the shape of a rectangle or a square. To do so, you simply click at the point where you want to begin the selection and drag with your mouse button still held down until the desired area is within the selection.


Drawing a selection

Drawing a selection

You can either select this tool by clicking on it in the Toolbar or by pressing “M” on your keyboard. This tool by default draws a rectangular selection but if for some reason you want it to be square shaped, simply press and hold down the Shift key on your keyboard while drawing the selection.

1. If you want to start the selection from a certain point and want Photoshop to auto-select in other direction in same ratio, hold down the Alt key, click at your starting point and you will notice that Photoshop will auto select as you drag your mouse.

2. If you need multiple areas selected, then after you have drawn your first selection, hold down the shift key and start making the second selection.

Multiple Selection

Multiple Selection

3. If you need to crop out some part from your selection, hold down the alt key and make a selection around the area that you need cropped out.

Selection within a selection

Selection within a selection

4.If you however want to draw two squares, holding the shift key a second time will not work because now the function of shift key would be to tell Photoshop to keep the first selection while you draw a second one. If you want your second selection to be a perfect square, you will have to make a change in the style menu on the top. Click on it to bring the drop down then select fixed ratio and put digit 1 in both width and height. After making this change, every selection you draw will be in form of a square.


When you are done with the selection and no longer need it, go to Select menu at the top of the screen and click on Deselect. A simpler way to do this is by pressing Ctrl+D on your keyboard.

If you are reading this article, chances are that you are someone who is just starting to work with Photoshop. In case you are wondering why we would need to make a selection in the first place, then the answer is fairly simple. Almost every activity in Photoshop will have you either selecting certain areas of an image or the entire image for fine tuning or manipulation. Rectangular Marquee Tool is the most basic tool used for this purpose.

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