In one of my Photoshop projects, the client wanted to see some different variations of a specific area, so I needed to be able to select the exact same area every time.

To do this, I created a layer I call "Selection Mask", which is just filled with a colour outside the palette of the image. I set this layer as the top-most layer, and then draw a rectangle over the area I always wanted to copy. I then use the "Magic Wand" to select the block in this layer, then hide it so that I can see everything beneath it. I then CTRL + SHIFT + C (Copy Merged) to copy the visible content, and paste it in MSPaint with the other samples.

Is there a more effective way of doing this? I want to be able to close and reopen the image later on, and reselect the exact same area, partially for OCD reasons and partially because when I am done, I want the client to be able to put all the .png images in a folder, and left/right arrow through them and not have a layout change. (I numbered each version, so they can tell me what number they like best and I can build a better version of it.)

For what it's worth, the client is a user within the company (we don't have a graphic designer, so being one of the IT personnel somewhat acclimated with Photoshop and Illustrator, I usually get logo requests), who does not have Photoshop or any software that allows layered images, really.


Make a selection with the rectangle select tool. Click Select > Save Selection. Give it a name you will remember.

To load it, click Select > Load Selection, select the one you saved. Then you could use Image > Crop, then Export as PNG. There's no need to use MS Paint, seriously!!

  • I did not see that menu option at all, good to know. Thanks. :) – Der Kommissar Sep 22 '17 at 14:14

Look into using Actions to crop and export (if you are having to compare many different files). You just have to record one and then can batch process the rest.

Then possibly use File > Scripts > Load Files into Stack. This will let you put all of the cropped areas into one PSD quickly.

Its hard to answer the question given the vagueness.

  • Ideally I'd be able to take the cropped area, run a script against it that toggles two sets of layers between 12 states (I.e. if I have layers abc and 1234, create a1,a2,a3,a4,b1,b2,b3,b4,c1,c2,c3,c4) and export each combination to PDF. Right now, I am selecting the area, then building each layer combination manually, Copying-Merged, pasting to Paint, then saving as a1, then repeat for a2, etc. – Der Kommissar Sep 22 '17 at 16:36

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