I've asked this question before, but for Illustrator: How can I easily deselect a path after creating it in Illustrator?

I want to make hair strands, so I'm using the pen tool to make a path with two points. I am making hundred of these strands. I need to deselect the path after each strand. How do I do this? I don't want to copy the strand because that's not the look that I am going for. Thanks a bunch in advance!

Here is a video on what I am describing: Vector/vexel: Vexeling (Part 3) [Tagalog]


8 Answers 8


In Photoshop, Click the blank area in the Path Panel.


Photoshop path functions aren't nearly as robust as Illustrator. So, for Photoshop you basically have to click the Path Panel to deselect the current active path.

You can also hold down the Command or Ctrl key and click in the document window.

  • 1
    This works. But, for me, this becomes a problem when I have a bunch of paths and there is no longer a space under them in the panel Nov 10, 2013 at 3:11
  • 3
    Then tap the ESC key 3 times to deselect the paths.
    – Scott
    Nov 10, 2013 at 3:51
  • Ah, that does work, Once deselects the sub-path, twice deselects the entire path. However, this appears to only work if the Direct Selection Tools is active. Nov 13, 2013 at 7:33
  • If you don't have a Shape tool, the Selection Tool, the Direct Selection tool, or the Pen tool active then the paths aren't selected anyway. Basically, if you choose a non-vector tool the paths are deselected by default.
    – Scott
    Nov 13, 2013 at 7:50

If you are using CS6 or CC you could press ESC to deselect

  • 1
    I didn't down vote but.... ESC simply hides the highlighting. It doesn't actually deselect the path.
    – Scott
    Aug 7, 2013 at 1:52
  • 2
    This did not work for me Nov 10, 2013 at 3:11
  • 2
    Actually, esc does work. However, it appears to only work if the Direct Selection Tools is active. Nov 13, 2013 at 7:33
  • Feel free to add an answer explaining what "Direct Selection Tools" are!
    – user391339
    Oct 16, 2014 at 19:29

For me, the best solution was to create an action. In the action I recored creating a new, empty path, then deleting that path. Map that action to a keystroke or better yet a wacom tablet key and your good to go.

  • This is the only way I have found of reliably inserting the "deselect all paths entirely" command into a generic action at any point, in CS6. Thanks!
    – emrys57
    Apr 28, 2017 at 10:19

Click on a path, press CTRL and click the path again it will de-select it. Or just click the page Icon in paths and it will deselect the path and make a new one. Though you will have to de-select the path if you want to use the transform tool.


Pressing the Shift Key while clicking the currently selected path in the path list will deselect the path. It does not matter what tool you currently have active.


I know this is an old thread but ... I was trying to work this out too, as 'escape' doesn't stop the next anchor point from adding to the last path. Two taps of 'escape' kind of works but also deslects the working path. I wanted to add a new path to the current working path layer.

What I'm trying to escape to is the pen cursor with a little asterisk to the right on the current working path layer

So, after completing a path with the pen tool, hold down 'command' in OSX (I think CTRL on PC) which is the shortcut to the 'direct path selection tool (the white arrow). Then click somewhere away from any path(still holding the key down). This deselects the last path. Release the 'command' or 'ctrl' button and you're back to the pen tool, ready to make a new path. Easy : )


I spent ages trying to work this out and the answer is to just press P to select the pen tool. This deselects the selected item and makes the pen tool ready for the next path to be created.

  • not really. if you're already using the Pen tool, P doesn't work. ESC does.
    – Luciano
    Oct 21, 2016 at 8:59

Press Enter on the keyboard to deselect the pen tool in Illustrator CS6.

  • 1
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    Oct 23, 2015 at 12:12

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