Magic Wand

The Magic Wand Tool (W) selects areas of similar color. You can change the tolerance (how close the color values should be to the sampled color in order to be selected) of a Magic Wand selection, and choose whether you want the selection to be contiguous (pixels that are touching) or not (in which case, matching colors across the entire document will be selected).

TIP Selection Shortcuts and Tasks

■ Hold the Shift key to add another selection to the first.

■ Hold the Alt key (Option key on a Mac) to subtract your new selection from the first.

■ Hold Shift-Alt (Shift-Option) to select the intersection of your first and second selections.

■ Use the arrow keys to move the selection pixel by pixel. If you feel that this doesn't move your selection quickly enough, hold down Shift and use the arrow keys to move the selection ten pixels at a time.

■ Press Ctrl-J (Command-J on a Mac) to copy the selection into its own layer.

■ To cut the selection into its own layer, press Shift-Ctrl-J (Shift-Command-J). If this seems familiar to you, it's because I mentioned earlier how to copy a layer using the same keyboard shortcut. Now that you know that not selecting anything sometimes means that everything is selected, it makes sense that simply by selecting a layer in the Layers palette, you can copy the entire layer by pressing Ctrl-J (Command-/).

■ To deselect a selected area, click outside of it with one of the Marquee tools, or press Ctrl-D (Command-D on a Mac).

■ To reactivate your last selection, press Shift-Ctrl-D (Shift-Command-D).

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