How to Outline a Selection in Photoshop CS5

Adobe Photoshop CS5 is great for a lot of different tasks that you have to perform on your images but, for the majority of people, drawing can be very difficult within the program. This is due to a combination of the lack of accuracy associated with using a mouse and the difficulty in drawing a straight line. Therefore, when you need to draw a rectangular or elliptical shape, including squares and circles, you will find yourself looking for an automated way to do so. Fortunately Photoshop CS5 includes several selection utilities that you can take advantage of to be able to outline a selection in Photoshop CS5. Combined with the Stroke tool on the Edit menu, you can quickly and accurately generate good shapes without resorting to complicated freehand drawing.

 

Stroke a Selection in Photoshop CS5

 

The stroke feature in Photoshop CS5 is helpful for converting the outline of your selection into a single colored line. While this tutorial will teach you how to outline a square or circular selection in Photoshop CS5, you can apply the same principle to outline any selection that you generate in Photoshop CS5.

Begin by opening the image file to which you want to add an outlined selection. If you are creating a file from scratch, launch Photoshop, click File at the top of the window, the click New.

If you want to create your outlined selection on its’ own layer, press Shift + Ctrl + N to create a new layer. Otherwise your outlined selection will be drawn on the currently selected layer.

Click the Selection tool in the toolbar at the left side of the window. If you want to use a different selection shape, right-click the Selection tool, then click your desired shape. You can choose between rectangular, elliptical, vertical line or horizontal line options.

choose your selection option

 

Click on the canvas, then drag your mouse until you have created your desired selection.

create your selection

 

Click Edit at the top of the window, then click Stroke.

Choose a value for the stroke width, click the box to the right of Color to choose a color for your outlined selection, then choose how you want the outline to be drawn in relation to the selection. The Inside option will be inside the selection, Outside will be outside of it, and Center is on the selection line.

If necessary, choose the Blending mode, opacity and whether or not to preserve transparency. When all of your stroke selections have been configured, click the OK button.

how to outline a selection in photoshop cs5

 

Your finished result may vary, but my outlined circle, with a pixel width of 5px, drawn in black on the center of the selection, looks like the image below.

an outlined circle selection in photoshop cs5

 

If you have created the outlined selection on its’ own layer, you are able to use the Move Tool at the top of the toolbox to drag your outlined shape to its’ desired location on your image.

 

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