Before the advent of rounded corners tools in Photoshop, I distinctly remember using a key combo to be able to duplicate the selection, not the pixels in the layer, and drag it to another portion of the art board. Much like using the Move tool when something is selected and using the (PC) Alt key.

Is this still possible? Been trying various key combos but cant seem to get it.

  • Do you mean "create a new, separate selection without eliminating the first selection, and then manipulating the second selection independent of the first selection?"
    – Yorik
    Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 14:01
  • No, I mean drag and drop a selection from one currently made. Say, for instance, I have a circle selection. Drag from the circle selection to create an additional selection of the exact same proportions that can be dropped elsewhere on the artwork creating two selections. Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 14:20
  • That may be what you were saying except for the manipulation part. Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 14:20
  • 1
    Holding alt and dragging the selection still moves a copy in photoshop. It just moves a copy of the content, not the selection area. Maybe write down the size of the marquee shape you want to use so you can create it again at the exact same size? Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 14:36
  • Thanks, I thought it used to be possible but ah well. Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 14:37

6 Answers 6


I don't believe there exists a modifier combo to duplicate a selection.

You can move or transform a selection, without altering the pixels, by using Select > Transform Selection in the menu. But that still will not allow you to duplicate the selection.

If you want to duplicate a selection, the easiest method I know if is to use the Channels Panel

  • Create your first selection
  • Click the "new" icon at the bottom of the Channels Panel
  • Fill the selection (on the alpha channel) with white
  • Click the RGB channel (or CMYK channel)
  • Move, transform, or otherwise change the selection you see to create the second selection
  • Hold down Command/Ctrl+Shift and click the thumbnail for the alpha channel

You'll then have both selections active.

enter image description here

This essentially saves the first selection, then reloads it later.


Late to the party here - found this searching for something else.

I do this by converting the selection to a path, duplicating the path, and converting back to a selection:

  1. Make the selection a work path (right click / control click in the selection with the marquee tool).

  2. With either the direct selection or path selection tool, hold option (alt) and drag to duplicate the path (rinse and repeat)

  3. Using either selection tool, draw a rectangle over all the paths to select them all

  4. Right click / control click inside the paths and "make selection".

Hope this helps!

  • 1
    This worked perfectly for me, thank you! Commented Apr 6, 2022 at 4:14
  • 1
    This is a spectacularly good answer and should be selected as the correct answer. (I'm using CS5.)
    – JBH
    Commented Jul 12, 2022 at 5:36

With your selection active, go to Select > Save selection and give your selection a name:

Save Selection dialog

You can also right-click on the selection marquee itself and likewise choose 'Save Selection'...

Then when you want to use it again go to Select > Load Selection and choose your saved selection:

Load Selection dialog

I've never known Photoshop to have the functionality you speak of – but I started with CS6 so...


I don't recall Photoshop being able to do this. If it did, it was many versions ago, possibly before CS. (Mind you, I started on version 4.)

What you can try is to toggle Quick Mask mode, make a copy of the masked area, and toggle out. You should now have two equally-sized selections.


Yeah, this really should be a built-in feature with a modifier key – BUT UNTIL THEN – an easy alternative is to make a shape (a vector shape), then Ctrl+click on that layer's thumbnail icon to load it as a selection, move it, do what you need, then repeat.


You can duplicate the selection only (apart from the pixels) but only on the marquee tools, by fixing the size of the marquee on the "Style" tool bar: select "fixed size". Then you can make the same exact selection anywhere on the picture, adding them all up. Now with the custom selection tools, you have to turn them into "paths" and then duplicate them using the "direct selection" tool and "Alt" at the same time, to move the duplicated paths where you want it. Finally turning them back into selections.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.