How to Deselect in Photoshop

Selecting and deselecting portions of a layer is an essential part of using Photoshop effectively. While even a novice can quickly figure out how to perform some selections and deselect them when done, there are actually some less obvious methods for deselecting, hiding and saving selections in Photoshop CC.

The Selection Tools

Marquee Tools in the Toolbox
The Marquee Tools all select an area on the canvas.
credit: Screenshot courtesy of Adobe.

Photoshop selections are identified by the unique lines, resembling marching ants, that surround the pixels. You can use various tools in the Toolbox and options under the Selection menu to make selections. Some of these include:

  • Lasso Tools
  • Marquee Tools
  • Quick Selection Tool
  • Magic Wand Tool
  • Color Range
  • Focus Area

Pressing Ctrl-A selects all. Ctrl-clicking a layer Thumbnail selects a layer.

Deselecting and Reselecting

Select menu options
Deselect and Reselect options are under the Select menu.
credit: Screenshot courtesy of Adobe.

To deselect a selection, press Ctrl-D on a Windows keyboard or Cmd-D on a Mac.

Alternatively, click the Select menu and click Deselect.

Click anywhere outside of the selected area using any tool that's also able to make a selection, like a Lasso Tool or a Marquee Tool.

To re-select the last selection you made, click Reselect under the Select menu, or press Shift-Ctrl-D.

Hiding a Selection

View menu options
Click Extras to hide a selected area.
credit: Screenshot courtesy of Adobe.

To hide a selection without deselecting it, click Extras under the View menu, or press Ctrl-H. Repeat either action to make the selection visible again.

Saving a Selection

Load Selection window
Two selections were saved here, Alpha 1 and Alpha 2.
credit: Screenshot courtesy of Adobe.

To save a selection, click Save Selection from the Select menu. This saves the selection as an Alpha Channel, which you can see at any time in the Channels panel. To use the selection again, click Load Selection under the Select menu and then choose the selection by its saved name. This is a useful feature if it's taken a lot of time to select an area -- such as tracing complicated edges with the Lasso Tool -- or if you plan to select and deselect several different areas in the same project.