Another One for the “Duh!” Files

Yesterday I handed out a couple of quick tips and one concerned cropping to maintain the original aspect ratio of the image.  Well I have to give a big thanks to reader Tim Thompson who was quick to point out to me that if I simply click the Front Image button on the Crop toolbar that it will automatically enter the open image dimensions in the Set Crop Width and Height locations, making the crop tool maintain the original aspect ratio.  So now I am feeling a little goofy for my previous tip but it just goes to show that there is always something to learn in the world of Photoshop.


  1. Now that is a tip – I did not know that either – THANKS

  2. I would not feel silly that you did not know it was there. While working from a book to learn more about Photoshop — I spent a very long time trying to find the “button” to click on. Oh it was there but was neatly disguised. I like Photoshop it is fun with all you can do — but it sometimes seems to be hard to find all the correct buttons. thanks for your posts!!kathyt

  3. Jeff,

    After reading your post yesterday, I remembered that when I crop pictures in Elements 6 there is a pull-down menu in which I can select different aspect ratios (it shows as the first control in the crop toolbar, right before the width and height controls. When I got home I started Elements to check the thing, and sure enough, one of the entries in that menu is something similar to “keep image ratio”. If I select that, Elements fills the width, height and resolution accordingly – just like the full Photoshop seems to do when you click on that “Front Image” button (there is no such button in Elements).
    However, what seems to happen after I crop the image is that the resulting crop has the same width, height and resolution as the original image, which could mean that Elements did an upsize after cropping… this is not what I wanted… Is this automated resizing happening in the full Photoshop as well, or am I missing something?

  4. Darrin,

    Good point on the upsizing of the picture using the “front image” button (or equivalent). It appears that this is exactly what it does so Jeff’s tip one is not such a “duh” moment after all. I wondered if I was missing something and clearly this was it.

    Thanks for pointing that out to me. I will have to reconsider how I do my cropping in the future.

  5. OK, here’s what works for me using the crop tool (Photoshop Elements 6, WinXP):
    – clear the width, height and resolution boxes
    – select the entire picture
    – move your mouse to one of the corners of the crop rectangle, until the mouse cursors turns into the diagonal arrows
    – with the Shift key pressed, downsize the crop rectangle to the desired crop size (this preserves the aspect ratio)
    – press and hold the left mouse button somewhere inside the crop rectangle and drag it to the desired location
    – fine tune the crop size repeating the last 3 steps
    – complete the crop procedure

    Not sure which is the corresponding Mac key for the shift-downsize…


  6. After re-reading your post from yesterday, it seems that the steps are very similar with what I just wrote…

  7. Hey Jeff,
    Sometimes It just happens. That is cool. Good that you got people that like you and found tha little botom… 🙂

  8. This is a good tip, but it does linit you to the current aspect ratio, which is why I do any of my cropping in ACR, with the crop size in the Workflow Options (the control at the very bottom center in ACR) set to the highest posible setting to retain size.

Speak Your Mind