Photoshop: Summary of Tools

Photoshop: Summary of Tools

The Toolbar

The central element for working with Photoshop is the toolbar. On the right you find the toolbar of Photoshop CS3, but for other Photoshop versions it is almost identical. In the toolbar you will find all the tools you need to edit photos and graphics.

You can activate the individual tools by clicking on them. Behind most tools there are additional, similar tools, which you can bring to light by a long click with the left mouse button or a right click. You can tell whether several tools are hidden behind one tool by the small black triangle in the lower right corner.

Please note that if you have selected a sub-tool from an area, this tool will appear in the toolbar. The original tool must then also be retrieved by long pressing on the corresponding tool. This can easily lead to confusion in the beginning, so that you may not find a tool right away.

With Photoshop CS3, the toolbar has become much narrower. Now the tools are only in one row. You can switch to the classic two-column view by clicking on the double arrow in the upper left corner of the toolbar.

The option bar

Almost every tool has its own option bar, which can be seen at the top of Photoshop when the tool is selected.

Brush tool option bar

This option bar allows you to make more detailed settings for each tool. The bar in the graphic above shows the settings for the Brush tool. Here you can set, for example, the size of your brush tip when painting or how this tool tip should look like.

The most important tools at a glance

In this introduction, we don’t want to go into all of Photoshop’s tools, but only introduce a few important, selected ones. Getting to know all the tools at once makes little sense and only leads to confusion.


Use the arrow to select objects on your desktop. If the arrow is selected as a tool, you can right-click on your image and select the desired layer from a pop-up menu. You can then move this layer by holding down the left mouse button.


If you want to crop an image, you can use the Crop tool to draw a frame on your image and then crop the image to that area.


The Hand Tool is only important if you have zoomed in on your image and cannot see the whole image on the desktop. If you select the Hand tool, you can move your current image section to move to another area of the image. Since you will need this option very often, you should immediately remember that you can also reach this function by holding down the space bar.

Selection rectangle

If you want to select a square area from your image, use the Selection Rectangle tool. Use the tool to draw a rectangle on your image and you can then copy, delete or fill this area with color. While holding down the Shift key, you can drag squares with the tool.


You can also create a selection with the Lasso tool. Use it to circle objects that do not have a uniform structure, for example. This allows you to make any selection.

Magic wand

The magic wand automatically selects areas of an image that contain a similar color. For example, you can use this tool to quickly, but unfortunately often uncleanly, remove the background from photos, such as a continuous blue sky.


This one will help you with the painting. The brush can be adjusted very precisely in Photoshop and is one of the central elements of Photoshop. The brush always paints with the foreground color you have just set. You can reach the brush by pressing the B key.

Copy Stamp

This is especially needed for image retouching. With the copy stamp, you first define a source point in your image while holding down the Alt key, from which you then copy with the Alt key released. In this way you can overpaint areas of your picture with other areas from your picture.


Allows you to delete parts from your image. Simply move over the area to be deleted with the tool selected and the mouse button pressed and the corresponding pixels will be deleted.


There are two ways to create text in Photoshop using the Text tool. You can either simply click into your image to set a starting point for entering text and place the text you want there, or use the Text tool to draw an area where you want the text to be. This is especially important for layout tasks.


This tool allows you to capture any color of your image. The corresponding color will then be set at the bottom of your toolbar as the foreground color.


It is used for easy entry and exit in your document. Tip: Double-click on the magnifying glass in the toolbar to get the unzoomed version of your document.


To speed up your work in Photoshop, you should memorize the most important shortcuts to the tools. You can increase your work speed significantly. A list of all important shortcuts in Photoshop can be found here.


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