I'd like to know if this is possible with Photoshop CS4 :

  1. Select an item with Ctrl+T (on windows).
  2. Crop it directly, without selecting the item manually.

It is possible?

9 Answers 9


In order to crop to a specific layer there are three different methods that I would use:

  1. Duplicate the desired layer to a new file by Right Clicking on the layer in the Layers Panel, selecting Duplicate Layer, changing the document to New. Once you go into the new document you can select Image > Trim, and select Based on Transparent Pixels (keep everything checked for Trim Away. (you can do this in the same file as well, but it does require you to hide all other layers, which can be exhaustive.)

  2. Another solution is to do the Ctrl+Click trick on the layer, specifically on the thumbnail of that layer. Then just go to Image > Crop. This is the quickest way to do it, but you have to make sure layers behind the object are hidden. If you set your Crop Tool to a keyboard shortcut then it's really just a quick Click and Keyboard Shortcut and you're done.

  3. The last possibility is a special trick I use for any items that are all the same size. For example if I have a mobile device screen that I want to save as an image without the environment displayed around it. You can make a rectangle shape overlaid on top of the screen and quickly do the same Ctrl+Click on the layer thumbnail and Ctrl+C afterwards. The rectangle shape layer ends up being a tool but doesn't contribute to the visuals themselves, so make sure that layer has 0% transparency or is just simply hidden at the time of the cropping.

  • Option #1 is perfect. Right click layer > Duplicate > Change document to New > click Image > Trim
    – Justin
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 23:36

If you're asking about cropping an individual object on a layer, then no, there's not a direct way to do that. Photoshop crops the entire canvas, not individual layers. There are indirect ways, though, both of which you can make into a one-click Action.

Method 1:

  • Ctl-click on the layer thumbnail in the Layers Panel to create a selection of just that object.

  • Click the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel to create a mask that reveals only the object.

  • Unlock the mask from the layer (click the chain-link icon between the thumbnail and the mask.

  • With the mask selected (not the pixel layer), press Ctl-T to enter free transform mode.

Your free transform will now act like a crop mask for the layer.

Method 2:

  • Ctl-click the layer thumbnail as before to create the selection.

  • Convert the selection to a path (Paths panel flyout, "Make Work Path")

  • Create a vector mask: Layer > Vector Mask > Current Path

Your path is now a vector mask that you can work with either using Free Transform or all the vector tools in the toolbox.


Uh - do you mean "scale the canvas to a particular item / selection group"? If so, I don't believe so.

If you have a single item on a single layer you can select it (Ctrl+a -> nudge left / right to snap the selection to the actual pixels), copy it (Ctrl+c), create a new file (Ctrl+n (canvas sized to clipboard contents)) and paste the selected item into it - that would create a new file that's the exact dimensions of the item you're trying to crop to.

I, too, have often wished for the ability to crop to a selection.

  • Yeah, I know how to copy/paste in a new file...but it's annoying. Would be nice crop a selected item...directly...very fast...
    – user4298
    Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 15:12
  • @markzzz: Ctrl+T is the free transform command. If you want to select all the contents from a layer, then Ctrl+Click the layer in the layer panel, or Ctrl+Shift+Click the layers you want. Then you can crop to selection. Or just make the layers into a smart object. If you want to do this without menus, record an action for crop, and assign it an F-key. Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 16:32
  • (in Photoshop CS4) "Crop" from the Image menu crops to the current selection. Might work better than the new window trick. Give it a custom keyboard shortcut ( Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts ) if you need it often. Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 17:50

I think we can do this if your layer size is smaller then the canvas then.. Ctrl+Click on Layer selection appear then click on Image Menu and then click on Crop your selected screen will be cropped.


I created an action for something similar; I wanted to copy portions of an image with auto-trim, without constantly creating new documents (for example, a bunch of icons on a white background). Here's the action sequence:

Copy, New Document (Clipboard Preset), Paste, Flatten Image, Trim (Top-Left Pixel Color, All Sides), Select All, Copy, Close.

With this action saved, you can do everything in a single click or key press.


I think you can do it this way:

  1. Select the layer the item is on;
  2. Use hold command and click on the layer icon to select all the items;
  3. Click menu "image\crop"

You will get the item with all layers preserved.


And old trick that may or may not work for you/on newer versions:

  • SELECT ALL on the layer you want OR make a larger selection than the object
  • 'jiggle' the selection by tapping the right arrow, then the left arrow
  • this will cause the selection to 'shrink' to the object itself
  • choose 'crop to selection' (or whatever the name of that command is

EDIT: 'doh! I just realize that's exactly what lawndartcatcher suggested. Give the upvote to that answer instead.

  • The more direct approach is to Ctl/Cmd-click on the layer thumbnail in the Layers Panel, which creates a selection of just the non-transparent pixels directly, then use Image > Crop. This does crop the entire image, though, and I'm not sure that's what the question is. Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 23:32


  1. Ctrl+Click (on Layer Thumbnail)
  2. Press 'C' (for Crop Tool Shortcut)
  3. Press Enter
  4. Press Enter Again
  5. Done!

If you have a one-color background, use this and record it like an automatic action:

  1. image > crop by > by color in the corner

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