Tip – A Bunch of Crop Tool Tips

It’s Friday and I’m heading up north to shoot my sister-in-law’s wedding. Wish me luck :) Anyway, I figured I’d close out the week with a few crop tool tips.

• Press R to get to the Crop Tool. It works even if you’re in the Library module.
• Once you’re in Crop mode press the letter O (for Overlay) to change the overlays that you see on your photo. They’ll toggle between the rule of thirds, a grid, and several other overlays that you’ll never use ;-)
• Press A to toggle between constraining/not constraining to the aspect ratio
• Press Cmd-Shift-R (PC: Ctrl-Shift-R) to reset your crop all together.
• If you’ve changed the Aspect Ratio on a previous photo then press the letter S to set that same aspect ratio for the next photo.
• And finally, a really cool way to crop is to go into Crop mode. Then press the letter L twice to go into Lights Out mode. Now you have your photo in crop mode with none of the clutter of the interface. Press L again to get out of Lights Out mode.

Happy cropping and have a great weekend.

Author: Matt K

Matt is a full time Education Director for the NAPP and Kelby Training. He's a best-selling author of various books on Photoshop and Photography co-hosts the live weekly photography talk show "The Grid" and is co-host of "Photoshop User TV". In his spare time he practices as a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys spending time with his family in Tampa, FL.

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  1. And O to cycle through the different crop lines.

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  2. Matt:
    Wouldn’t this be better suited as “A Crop of Crop Tool Tips”????
    Get it – farm humor? Maybe not.
    Kevin T.

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  3. And we could take it one step further,

    make it a Horsing around with the crop tool tip..lol

    Scott Kelby jokes :)

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  4. Holy crop…didn’t know the CMD-SHIFT-R one…Cheers

    Have a great shoot Matt, oh and remember ‘back up’!!!

    All the best,

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  5. Beware … Ctrl-Shift-R is not a “Reset Crop” combination, but rather “Reset All Settings”, i.e. it will also reset all sliders and everything else you have changed.

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  6. Another quick one to add is the Shift-O (PC) key combination when the overlay is active to rotate the orientation of the crop overlays…


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  7. I’m lucky to have two displays so when I crop I bring up the image on the second display and can view my crop in real time as I adjust it, leaving the interface controls visible to me on the first display.

    Great tips!

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  8. Thanks, I didn’t know that Lights Out Mode worked in the crop tool!

    One additional shortcut from me. Hold Ctrl (I guess Cmd on MAC) and drag a line along the horizon to straighten your image.

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  9. What I want to know is: Is there anyway to turn the overlays off entirely when in crop mode?

    Best regards,

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  10. @mcananeya

    If you go to the View | Tool Overlay area you can set it to Never Show :)

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  11. @DJ – thanks, I have need to do this a lot and the tip is much appreciated. (CTRL and drag line to set angle of crop.)

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  12. Thanks for the tips, Lyle. I can’t tell you how much swearing I was doing this week dealing with just this subject and in a few short words you solved it. Well done.

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  13. “What I want to know is: Is there anyway to turn the overlays off entirely when in crop mode?”

    Try toggling the “H” key to hide/show.

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  14. I’d love to see some of the wedding photos!

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  15. Thanks Cindy – the “H” key in crop mode is a nice hide/show toggle for the overlays, I didn’t know that one – a lot more flexible than what I suggested.

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  16. Matt,

    I love the A short cut and the S short cut. I am sure I will use those a lot.

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  17. Hey Matt,

    BTW, afer LTR killer tips your iTunes podcast includes links without files.
    Could you please fix them?


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  18. It’s command-option-R to reset the crop. (As others have pointed out, shift-command-R will reset everything, not just the crop.)

    DJ: didn’t know the ctrl-drag shortcut. Thanks!

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  19. Hi Matt!
    First of all, thank you for this great site. it helped me out a lot !
    I have a challenge for you :)

    I have a nice big photo which I want to print on a 3-part canvas so that, when put next to each other, the 3 parts form the original image.

    I have to print 3 photos, 36×46 cm each, taking into account that 3 cm of each side of the print will be wrapped around the frame, so it wont be visible. The result would be three framed photos 30×40 cm each. I don’t know how can i use the crop tool to export 3 images from the original one, so in the end, after wrapping the photo on the frame, the remaining visible parts match perfectly.

    Any ideas would be GREATLY appreciated.



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