Photoshop Tool Palette Quick Reference
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When you start Photoshop, the Tools palette appears at the left of the screen. Some tools in the Tools palette have options that appear in the context-sensitive options bar. These include the tools that let you use type, select, paint, draw, sample, edit, move, annotate, and view images. Other tools allow you to change foreground/background colors, go to Adobe Online, and work in different modes.

You can expand some tools to show hidden tools beneath them. A small triangle at the lower right of the tool icon signals the presence of hidden tools.

You can view information about any tool by positioning the pointer over it. The name of the tool appears in a tool tip below the pointer. Some tool tips contain links leading to additional information about the tool.

“Learning a program like Photoshop for the first time may seem daunting at times, but it is a great skill to have. And you don't have to be an artist to put it to good use. Whether you are in business and need to have graphics with your presentations or earning your early childhood education degree and need to make visual aids, Photoshop can be very helpful. Here is a visual overview of Photoshop's Tool Palette. You can feel free to click on any of the icons to get the name and a short description of what each button does.

Single Column Marquee Single Row Marquee Elliptical Marquee Rectangular Marquee (M) Move (V)
Magnetic Lasso Polygonal Lasso Lasso (L) Magic Wand (W)

Crop (C) Slice (K) Slice Select

Patch Healing Brush (J) Brush (B) Pencil

Pattern Stamp Clone Stamp (S) History Brush (Y) Art History

Magic Eraser Background Eraser Eraser (E) Gradient (G) Paint Bucket

Smudge Sharpen Blur (R) Dodge (O) Burn Sponge

Direct Selection Path Selection (A) Horizontal Type (T) Vertical Type Horizontal Type Mask Vertical Type Mask

Convert Point Delete Anchor Point Add Anchor Point Freeform Pen Pen (P) Rectangle (U) Rounded Rectangle Ellipse Polygon Line Custom Shape

Audio Annotation Notes (N) Eyedropper (I) Color Sampler Measure

Hand (H) Zoom (Z)

Eyedropper (I)

Eyedropper (I)

Single Column Marquee Single Column Marquee: A marquee tool that defines the border as a 1 pixel wide column (vertical).
Single Row Marquee Single Row Marquee: A marquee tool that defines the border as a 1 pixel wide row (horizontal).
Elliptical Marquee Elliptical Marquee: A marquee tool that makes an elliptical selection (or a circle, when used with the Shift key).
Rectangular Marquee (M) Rectangular Marquee (M): A marquee tool that makes a rectangular selection (or a square, when used with the Shift key).
Move (V) Move (V): Allows the selection, shaping, dragging and dropping of objects.
Magnetic Lasso Magnetic Lasso: When you use this tool the border snaps to the edges of defined areas in the image.
Polygonal Lasso Polygonal Lasso: The Polygonal Lasso tool is useful for drawing straight-edged segments of a selection border.
Lasso (L) Lasso (L): The Lasso tool is useful for drawing freeform segments of a selection border.
Magic Wand (W) Magic Wand (W): The Magic Wand tool lets you select a consistently colored area (for example, a red flower) without having to trace its outline. You specify the color range, or tolerance, for the Magic Wand tool's selection, based on similarity to the pixel you click.
Crop (C) Crop (C): Allows you to remove portions of an image to create focus or strengthen the composition.
Slice (K) Slice (K): You can use the slice tool to draw slice lines directly on an image, or design your graphic using layers, and then create slices based on the layers.
Slice Select Slice Select: When working with overlapping slices, click the visible section of an underlying slice to select it. Select the Slice Select tool, and Shift-click to add slices to the selection. Select the Slice Select tool, and click in an auto slice or outside the image area, and drag across the slices you want to select (clicking in a user slice and dragging moves the slice).
Patch Patch: Lets you repair a selected area with pixels from another area or a pattern.
Healing Brush (J) Healing Brush (J): Lets you correct imperfections, causing them to disappear into the surrounding image.
Brush (B) Brush (B): A preset brush is a saved brush tip with defined characteristics, such as size, shape, and hardness. You can save preset brushes with the characteristics you use often.
Pencil Pencil: The Freeform Pen tool lets you draw as if you were drawing with a pencil on paper. Anchor points are added automatically as you draw.
Pattern Stamp Pattern Stamp: The Pattern Stamp tool paints with a pattern. You can select a pattern from the pattern libraries or create your own patterns.
Clone Stamp (S) Clone Stamp (S): The Clone Stamp tool paints one part of an image over another part of the same image or over another part of any open document that has the same color mode. You can also paint part of one layer over another layer.
History Brush (Y) History Brush (Y): Use the History Brush tool to paint with the selected state or snapshot on the History palette in order to restore part of an image to its previously saved state.
Art History Art History: The Art History Brush tool paints with stylized strokes, using the source data from a specified history state or snapshot. By experimenting with different paint style, size, and tolerance options, you can simulate the texture of painting with different colors and artistic styles.
Magic Eraser Magic Eraser: When you click in a layer with the Magic Eraser tool, the tool changes all similar pixels to transparent. If you're working in a layer with locked transparency, the pixels change to the background color. If you click in the background, it is converted to a layer and all similar pixels change to transparent.
Background Eraser Background Eraser: The Background Eraser tool erases pixels on a layer to transparency as you drag; this allows you to erase the background while maintaining the edges of an object in the foreground.
Eraser (E) Eraser (E): The Eraser tool changes pixels to either the background color or to transparent. If you're working in the background or in a layer with transparency locked, the pixels change to the background color; otherwise, the pixels are erased to transparency.
Gradient (G) Gradient (G): The Gradient tool creates a gradual blend between multiple colors. You can choose from preset gradient fills or create your own.
Paint Bucket Paint Bucket: The Paint Bucket tool fills adjacent pixels that are similar in color value to the pixels you click.
Smudge Smudge: The Smudge tool simulates the effect you see when you drag a finger through wet paint. The tool picks up color where the stroke begins and pushes it in the direction you drag.
Sharpen Sharpen: Sharpening enhances the definition of edges in an image. Whether your images come from a digital camera or a scanner, most images can benefit from sharpening.
Blur (R) Blur (R): The Blur tool softens hard edges or reduces detail in an image. The more you paint over an area with the tool, the blurrier it becomes.
Dodge (O) Dodge (O): Used to hold back light to lighten an area on the print.
Burn Burn: Used to increase the exposure to darken areas on a print.
Sponge Sponge: The Sponge tool subtly changes the color saturation of an area. When an image is in Grayscale mode, the tool increases or decreases contrast by moving gray levels away from or toward the middle gray.
Direct Selection Direct Selection: You can convert selection borders into paths, using the Direct Selection tool for fine-tuning.
Path Selection (A) Path Selection (A): Paths provide smooth outlines that you can convert into precise selection borders.
Horizontal Type (T) Horizontal Type (T): Defines the orientation of a type layer, when a type layer is horizontal, the type flows from left to right. Don't confuse the orientation of a type layer with the direction of characters in a type line.
Vertical Type Vertical Type: Defines the orientation of a type layer, when a type layer is vertical, the type flows from top to bottom.
Horizontal Type Mask Horizontal Type Mask: When you use the Horizontal Type Mask tool you create a horizontal selection in the shape of the type.
Vertical Type Mask Vertical Type Mask: When you use the Vertical Type Mask tool you create a vertical selection in the shape of the type.
Convert Point Convert Point: Used to convert between smooth points and corner points in a given path.
Delete Anchor Point Delete Anchor Point: Removes an anchor point from a path.
Add Anchor Point Add Anchor Point: Adds an anchor point to a path.
Freeform Pen Freeform Pen: The Freeform Pen tool lets you draw as if you were drawing with a pencil on paper.
Pen (P) Pen (P): The standard Pen tool draws with the greatest precision; the Freeform Pen tool draws paths as if you were drawing with pencil on paper.
Rectangle (U) Rectangle (U): Creates a perfect rectangle any size you desire.
Rounded Rectangle Rounded Retangle: Creates a perfect rectangle that has rounded corners.
Ellipse Ellipse: Allows you to create an elliptical shape.
Polygon Polygon: Creates polygons with user-defined positioning and size.
Line Line: Used by selecting one point and dragging to a second point, a perfect line is created between the two.
Custom Shape Custom Shape: Allows a user to select from pre-defined custom shapes in a library (like hearts, stars, etc).
Audio Annotation Audio Annotation: You can add audio annotations anywhere on a Photoshop image canvas. When you record an audio annotation, you must have a microphone plugged into the audio-in port of your computer.
Notes (N) Notes (N): You can add note annotations anywhere on a Photoshop image canvas. When you create a note, a resizable window appears for typing text.
Eyedropper (I) Eyedropper (I): The eyedropper can be used to place any color from the current file into your color palette.
Color Sampler Color Sampler: Once you've added a color sampler, you can move or delete it, hide it, or change the color sampler information displayed in the Info palette.
Measure Measure: Allows you to measure an image (in any direction) with a wide range of units of measurement such as CM, Inch, Pixel, etc.
Hand (H) Hand (H): The hand is used for dragging elements around the layer and/or document.
Zoom (Z) Zoom (Z): Magnifies the document that you are currently working with (allows adjustable magnification levels).
Eyedropper (I) Eyedropper Palette: Two key colors chosen by the user that represent foreground and background (they can easily be switched) and also dictate the color of certain elements that are placed inside the document.
Eyedropper (I) Eyedropper Quick Mask: Sets masked areas to black (opaque) and selected areas to white (transparent). Painting with black increases the masked area; painting with white increases the selected area. When this option is selected, the Quick Mask button in the toolbox becomes a white circle on a gray background.

- Joseph Lookabaugh

*A special thanks goes out to James Middleton and his website, Turning Turnip (located at which so generously allowed Blazedent to use his Photoshop Tool Palette icons and images.

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