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How to Crop Nondestructively in Photoshop

A good crop in Photoshop can go a long way to improve the composition of a photo. Selectively discarding pixels can really help focus the viewer’s attention and tell a story. But what if you change your mind?

If you crop correctly, you can bring those pixels back.

  1. Select the Crop tool (C).
  2. Choose a Crop preset.
    crop2
  3. Drag in the canvas to crop the image to a desired shape or resolution.
    crop3
  4. Make sure the box next to Delete Cropped Pixels in the Options bar is unchecked.
    Crop4
  5. Press Return or Enter.

Because the cropped pixels were hidden (instead of deleted), details were preserved outside the cropped area. This allows for the image to be restored.

  • You can choose Image > Reveal All to restore all hidden pixels after a crop.
  • Simply select the crop tool and drag in the Canvas. The previous pixels are available to you.

Enjoy the flexibility!

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