The previous version of Photoshop I used was CS4 and whenever I selected a portion of an image with the magic wand and hit Delete, it simply deleted that portion of the image (rendering it transparent). Easy!

In CS6, this is not the case. Now when I select a portion of an image and hit Delete, it brings up the Fill dialogue.

For example I have this picture (it's a Vauxhall Corsa). I want to use the Magic Wand to render anything that isn't part of the car transparent, so I start by highlighting some clouds with the Magic Wand like so:

Vauxhall Corsa Vauxhall Corsa with selection

Click on images to see larger versions

Now when I hit Delete, instead of that area of the picture being deleted as I would expect based on my experience with CS4, I get this dialogue:


My questions are:

  • Can this dialogue be used to achieve the functionality I want?

  • If so, how?

  • If not, how do I delete the background in CS6?

  • Just to check... it's not a flat image, right? it's "Layer 0" or whatever? Oct 14, 2012 at 16:38

10 Answers 10


Adobe changed the Delete/Backspace key functionality in Photoshop CS6 when you press the Delete/Backspace key on a locked Background layer.

Since pressing the Delete/Backspace key on a locked background layer merely filled the selection with the background color, Adobe changed the functionality to provide more options when hitting the key. By bringing up the Fill dialog you can now choose which color is used to fill the selection rather than the app automatically using the background color. If you still want it to fill with the set background color, simply choose that from the top drop down menu in the dialog box and hit OK.

If you want the Delete/Backspace key to delete to a transparent area, you need to first unlock the background layer.

  • I'm on CS5 and the behaviour is the same, I think...
    – PieBie
    Jun 30, 2015 at 7:10

I'm going to assume the layer is the background layer and/or locked.

Try Alt + double clicking on the layer thumbnail.

  • Thanx. Actually the "delete" key works! But the layer was locked.
    – Alisa
    Apr 17, 2015 at 20:49

After google-searching this problem and not being too happy with everyone else's "fixes", I have come up with my own TWO solutions to this problem of the Delete key bringing up a fill dialogue box instead of just simply deleting the selection:

1) Use 32bit Photoshop. When I use 32bit PS CS5, the Delete key works exactly as it always has before.

In 64bit Photoshop CS5, I have the same problem as everyone else. So if you can't use 32bit PS for whatever reason, the other easy fix is...

2) In 64bit PS go to Edit > Keyboard shortcuts... in your drop down menu. In the dialogue box that opens, go to Edit and find the Clear command. Assign a shortcut key to that command. It works exactly like the delete key by clearing your selection with whatever your background color is set to. (Unfortunately the Delete key cannot be assigned as a shortcut, however, any single-stroke keyboard shortcut is preferable to this "opening up a dialog every time you hit "delete" nonsense).


You have to press Cmd+X ("Cut") to delete a marked section in Photoshop CS6.


To delete the area in the selection:

  1. Make sure that the layer is NOT LOCKED.
  2. Press delete.

Otherwise, if it is locked, the fill dialogue will appear.

  • Hi zhee, welcome to GDSE and thanks for your answer. If you have any questions, please see the help center or ping one of us in the Graphic Design Chat once your reputation is sufficient (20). Keep contributing and enjoy the site!
    – Vincent
    Jun 12, 2015 at 10:04

Delete button works even on locked layer if you press cmd+delete

  • For all versions? In all circumstances? Your one line answer is a little bit unclear, please explain better ...
    – Mensch
    Nov 8, 2015 at 19:39

Step 1) Make sure layer is NOT LOCKED

Step 2) Rasterize the layer

Now you can use the delete key on your keyboard to delete unwanted pictures.


It seems that Adobe changed the way you can delete a selection in the newer versions of Photoshop since CS4. I use the latest version of Photoshop CC, and the suggestion that Webdesign made works very well on a locked layer!

  1. Make a selection
  2. Press Command + Delete

The fill dialogue does not appear, and the selection is deleted.


I had the same issue and found this solution. Do not "place" the image but open the original image in Photoshop then "copy and paste" it into your document. The image must be pasted and NOT PLACED. The delete/backspace will work using the marquee only if the image is pasted.


What would have been nice is if they added the "clear"(delete) button to the right click menu. Right click then clear & done! Easy one hand operation rather then 2 hands. Just my personal choice really.
In fact, just make it so that you can put just about any option you would like in the right click menu. SWEET! ^^ Adobe, please check it. :D

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