I am a programmer, not a designer. So I often need to know how many pixels a certain element is far from top or another element. But I am not sure how to measure this on the fly in the Photoshop CS6.

I changed the ruler to Pixel values. I then zoomed in and made two guides between two points I want to measure. It looks something like this

Is this a proper way to measure the distance? If yes, how do I measure it now? I am sure that Photoshop has a better option than that I have to count pixels from the rules by subtractions.

If this is the wrong way, what is the quickest way to measure the distance between two points on the screen?

  • If you have to measure pixels, I just want to offer my sympathies. :)
    – DA01
    Commented Mar 26, 2015 at 19:23

2 Answers 2


You can use the Ruler tool (type "I", or "Shift-I" to toggle through until you've reached the Ruler tool) to plot a line between two points in the image. You should see measurements in pixels next to the tool details (below the menu items). Note where the image below has "W: 54.67 H: 0.33" -- my line is 54.67 pixels wide.

PS Ruler Tool Example


Solution 1

I've used the ruler in the past, but I personally prefer using the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) available just under the Move Tool on your menu.

enter image description here

Now just use the tool to select a box that'll show the dimensions.

Marquee box

Two downsides:

a) Sometimes you can be 1 or 2px off, it can be difficult to be pixel-precise (if this is the case, however, zooming in is a quick fix).

b) Pixel values only appear while actively holding down the tool. This has never been a problem for me.

(Screenshots from Mac OSX version of Adobe Photoshop CS6)

Solution 2

This is one feature that is superior in Adobe Photoshop CC--when you have the "Extra" guides on (Ctrl+H), you can hold down CTRL and it will display spacing information between the layer you have selected and other, nearby layers.

Ensure that Smart Guides are turned on. In View, go to Show (under 'Extra') and enable Smart Guides.

Smart Guides does work in Photoshop CS6, however it doesn't show measurements to nearby layers (as far as I know). I highly recommend using it if you're doing web design tasks.

example of smart guides showing measurement

(Screenshot from Windows 8 version of Adobe Photoshop CC)

Do your rulers not use pixels? Go to Preferences > Units & Rulers and set "Rules" to "Pixels." As a personal preference, I keep type set to Points (though I don't believe there's a difference if you're editing at 72 pixel resolution).

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