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Photoshop Elements Basics

Start from the beginning...

Just got your first ever version of Photoshop, and in need of some background? Or maybe you've been using Elements for a while, but there are still some tools that you've never used simply because you don't know what they do? Just need to brush up on the basics? This is the place!

From experience, it's easy to own a program for years, and then still notice that 'weird-little-button-in-the-corner-that-you-just-ignore'. Sometimes there are just tools which you don't know what they do.

"Well I've never needed it so far, can't be that important can it?" ... WRONG!

Save yourself a bit of time and effort by investigating those basic tools. Learn about new ones, and find out new things about those you already thought you knew inside-out!

Photoshop Elements Toolbar Shown here is the Photoshop Elements toolbar, where all the basic tools reside. Hopefully this should be easily visible on the left of your main Photoshop window, but in case you're in any doubt a standard setup is shown here.

Below are the names of each tool, from top to bottom, with a short description. Some of the icons have more than one tool hidden away in them. This is shown by a small black triangle on the lower right of the icon. Here, I have grouped the names to show they share a button. To access the hidden tools, hold your mouse button down on the icon in your program toolbar until a secondary menu appears.

To get more information on one of the tools, and find out all those lurking secrets it holds, just click on it's link.

The Tools

Move Tool Move Tool - Much more than just move.

Zoom Tool Zoom Tool - Adjusts the current image magnification.

Hand Tool Hand Tool - View different parts of your image without using the scroll bars.

Eyedropper Tool Eyedropper Tool - Places a colour from your image into the palette.

Rectangular Marquee Tool Rectangular Marquee Tool - Makes a rectangular selection.
Elliptical Marquee Tool Elliptical Marquee Tool - Makes an elliptical selection.

Lasso Tool Lasso Tool - Lets you draw on a selection shape.
Magnetic Lasso Tool Magnetic Lasso Tool - Helps you draw a selection shape by helping trace certain parts of the image.
Polygonal Lasso Tool Polygonal Lasso Tool - Lets you draw a selection shape line by line.

Magic Wand Tool Magic Wand Tool - Moves selections or images.

Selection Brush Tool Selection Brush Tool - Lets you draw a selection using brushes.

Horizontal Type Tool Horizontal Type Tool - Inserts text horizontally.
Vertical Type Tool Vertical Type Tool - Inserts text vertically.
Horizontal Type Mask Tool Horizontal Type Mask Tool - Creates a mask from horizontal text.
Vertical Type Mask Tool Vertical Type Mask Tool - Creates a mask from vertical text.

Crop Tool Crop Tool - Removes the edges of an image.

Cookie Cutter Tool Cookie Cutter Tool - Cuts a custom shape out of the image.

Red Eye Removal Tool Red Eye Removal Tool - Removes red eye from photographs.

Spot Healing Brush Tool Spot Healing Brush Tool - Helps repair damaged images.
Healing Brush Tool Healing Brush Tool - Helps repair larger areas of damage in images.

Clone Stamp Tool Clone Stamp Tool - Duplicates parts of an image.
Pattern Stamp Tool Pattern Stamp Tool - Duplicates patterns or patterned images onto another image.

Pencil Tool Pencil Tool - Draws freehand like a pencil.

Eraser Tool Eraser Tool - Erases part of your image.
Background Eraser Tool Background Eraser Tool - Removes the background behind part of an image.
Magic Eraser Tool Magic Eraser Tool - Erases all similar pixels in part of an image.

Brush Tool Brush Tool - Draws with the selected brush shape.
Impressionist Brush Tool Impressionist Brush Tool - Changes parts of the image to look stylised.
Color Replacement Tool Color Replacement Tool - Replaces certain colors in parts of your image.

Paint Bucket Tool Paint Bucket Tool - Fills an area with color.

Gradient Tool Gradient Tool - Fills an area with a blend between several colours.

Rectangle Tool Rectangle Tool - Draws a rectangle of color.
Rounded Rectangle Tool Rounded Rectangle Tool - Draws a rounded rectangle of color.
Ellipse Tool Ellipse Tool - Draws an ellipse of color.
Polygon Tool Polygon Tool - Draws a polygon of color.
Line Tool Line Tool - Draws a line.
Custom Shape Tool Custom Shape Tool - Draws a shape template of color.
Shape Selection Tool Shape Selection Tool - Allows the selection and movement of individual shapes.

Blur Tool Blur Tool - Blurs parts of an image.
Sharpen Tool Sharpen Tool - Sharpens part of an image.
Smudge Tool Smudge Tool - Smudges part of an image.

Sponge Tool Sponge Tool - Changes the vividness of part of an image.
Dodge Tool Dodge Tool - Lightens part of an image.
Burn Tool Burn Tool - Darkens part of an image.

Color Palette Tool Color Palette - Selects colors to use with other tools.

Well that's it for the basics. If there is anything you feel is missing from these tool explanations then please do contact me using the contact form.

Kind Regards

Robert Redwood Robert Redwood - Bio
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