Crop without Snap


Today’s Question: Sometimes when I’m cropping a photo in Photoshop and I only need to bring the crop in a small amount from the edge, Photoshop won’t let me. When the crop edge is close to the edge of the photo, the crop sticks to the edge of the photo rather than the position I want it. Is there a way to stop this behavior?

Tim’s Quick Answer: There are two basic approaches you might consider, both of which are related. You can turn off the “Snap” feature altogether, or you can temporarily disable this feature while working by holding the Ctrl/Control key on the keyboard.

More Detail: The behavior you’re referring to is called “Snap”, meaning that the object you’re moving (in this case the edge of the crop box) will snap to the edge of the photo when you move close to that edge. This behavior can be helpful when you’re trying to precisely align the crop box along an edge in the photo, rather than just inside or outside the edge of the photo. But of course, this behavior can also be a challenge when it isn’t wanted.

If you hold the Ctrl key on Windows or the Control key on Macintosh, the Snap behavior will be temporarily toggled. Since the Snap option is turned by default, that means that holding the Ctrl/Control key will disable the Snap feature as long as you’re holding that key down. And yes, it really is the Control key (not the Command key) on Macintosh. This is one of the rare situations where the Ctrl key on Windows does not translate to the Command key on Macintosh.

If you find the Snap behavior distracting in general and prefer to turn it off altogether, you can do so by choosing View > Snap from the menu. This will disable the Snap feature in all cases within Photoshop. Note that you need to have an image open in order to access this menu item.

Note that you can also turn off only the “Document Bounds” option for the Snap feature, so that the Crop tool won’t snap to the edge of your photo. This allows you to keep the Snap feature active for other features, such as with Guides and Layers. You can find the various options for a selective Snap feature by choosing View > Snap To from the menu. On a sub-menu you will see the available options, with a checkmark icon indicating which specific options are enabled. You can click on any of those options to toggle them off or on as desired.