I've selected the below area in my image. I then switch to the move tool, but when I drag around the selection, the pixels that it had encompassed do not move with it. Would be great to know what I'm doing wrong :)

Thank you in advance.

enter image description here

  • 1
    could your layer be locked?
    – user9447
    Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 17:45
  • 3 Questions that may or may not help us to expand on the problem: - Have you got the layer selected? - Is the layer locked as a background? - Have you rasterised the layer?
    – Dom
    Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 19:49

4 Answers 4


The Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) strictly selects and area. With the Marquee tool still selected, clicking and dragging will move the marquee around without influencing any pixels.

If you want to move the selected pixels with the selection you must make sure you have the Move Tool (V) selected. Then simply click-and-drag the area around to move the selected pixels.

If for some reason the area still won't move it may be because you do not have the proper layer selected or perhaps you have multiple layers selected. Also ensure that your layer is not a text-based or smart object layer.


In reply to your comment:

That is correct. You cannot move the selected pixels across multiple layers much like you can't paint on multiple layers simultaneously. Your alternatives would be to merge your layers (I'd back-up my non-merged layers first). Another method is you make your selection then go to Select > Save Selection.... Once your selection is saved you can use it to move one layer, then you may load the selection by going to Select > Load Selection... and then moving the other layer, etc.

I'm not familiar with other methods, though there may be other ones. It may also be possible to write a custom script that allows dragging selections across multiple layers.

  • Yes, I think it was because I didn't have any layers selected. I didn't realize this was necessary in order to move the pixels, as I thought the selection tool would "make active" pixels in any layers it encompassed? But I guess not. So, it will only move the selected pixels in whichever layers have been selected, is that right? Commented Jun 21, 2013 at 7:47
  • Check my edit I wrote in reply to your comment.
    – Hanna
    Commented Jun 21, 2013 at 15:41

Presumably you don't have the Move Tool active. If you have, say, one of the Marquee Tools active then the selection will be moved around. Switch to the Move Tool to shuffle the selection of pixels around


Agree on the questions asked previously. Make sure you have a copy of the picture you are using so it's not a locked background. And if you are still on the marquee tool, the pixels won't move with it. You have to have the move tool selected to move the pixels. It looks like you might be trying to crop? IF so, try cropping what you want and rest will be deleted when you select what you want.

  • all of this has been said already
    – Luciano
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 10:06

I think if we insert a picture using PLACE option from the file menu then also we are not able to move the selected portion to other place.

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