I am using Photoshop to do detailed work that requires navigating around a 5000 x 5000 (or so) image to look at individual pixels, where I know the row and column index of the pixels in question.

Currently, I am using the Navigator to jump to approximately the correct location, and then scrolling (or using the hand) to bring the desired pixel into view.

However, better would be a command that would place a given pixel (with a certain row, column index) into view. This also has the advantage that the pixel will always be centered.

Is it possible to do this with Photoshop? Thanks.

  • 1
    I don't think you can. – Scott Mar 31 '12 at 20:51

If you need a particular coordinate at the absolute center of your screen, you're out of luck without using scripting (most display resolutions have even numbered dimensions anyway). But if you just need a practical way to center the canvas around a particular coordinate, then you can simply use the navigator with the zoom marquee:

  1. Zoom out to the actual pixels (Ctrl + 1) or a comfortable level;
  2. use the navigator to put the target region in view;
  3. use the info pane (F8) to find the target coordinate (drop down some guides if you'd like);
  4. switch to the zoom tool (Z) and—with Scrubby Zoom disabled—create a marquee over the area of interest.
  5. Optionally, you can press and hold space to move the marquee rectangle over the target area to more precisely center the point of interest.

Or if you want to be slightly more precise, you can:

  1. zoom out (Ctrl + 0);
  2. change to the hand tool (H);
  3. move your mouse to roughly where you want to center your canvas (use the Info pane to see coordinates: F8), and drag it to the center of your screen;
  4. switch to the zoom tool (Z), and click to zoom in as much as you want.

You can switch steps 3 and 4 if you want. The zoom tool will keep your selected pixel under your cursor as you zoom in.

Though, the navigator panel and/or zoom marquee is probably easier. It's a little less precise, but I can't imagine any situation where it'd matter if your chosen pixel is 2~3% off center or 5~10% off center. As long as the line/brush stroke/anchor/guide/etc. is on target, why should it matter if the pixel isn't dead center of your display?

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I think script is the best solution in this case, however you can also use, often neglected, rulers to jump first to approximate, then to exact location of sought pixel. Of course you have to set ruler units to pixels in preferences' "Units and rulers" (or something like that). You can get there by double clicking on displayed ruler beside Ctlr/Cmd+K or app menu.

One word about scripting: I don't think it would be much of a hassle to write a simple code to display dialog to get coordinates and zoom/center on specified pixel. In fact I could write something like that one day (open license of course)… Just tell me if you still need it :).

Edit: Naaah… Forget about scripting for now. I've just done a small research and found out it's not doable now, up to CS 5.5 at least – pretty lame :|

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  • Thank you for looking into this. I already do use the ruler, set to pixels, and zoomed in. I use the Navigator to land approximately, and the hand to center. However, I cannot easily position the target pixel exactly in the center. I work with multiple scans of 2-dimensional barcodes (QR symbols) in order to program the software that converts the scans into a grid of black and white pixels. I need to do detailed comparisons of individual pixels among many images, and being forced to search by eye for the pixel of interest in each image loses time and drains focus as I flip back & forth. – Dan Nissenbaum Apr 3 '12 at 23:15
  • In that case I'd drop Ps and write my own simple viewer e.g. in Python using PIL. This idea may seem a bit scary, but in the long run it'll pay off. Especially if you have to review/compare images by the dozens. – thebodzio Apr 6 '12 at 1:51

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