A photo of a landscape and sky. The sky is isolated and has a dotted line border.


How to invert a selection in Adobe Photoshop.

Discover how you can use the Selection tool to isolate everything outside a selection’s border.

What does it mean to invert a selection in Photoshop?

In Photoshop, you can use the Selection tool to choose a portion of your image that you want to edit. But if you want to modify your entire image except for the pixels inside the selected area, you need to invert your selection.

Quick Selection tool icon superimposed on a photo of a city street. The sky is selected and has a dotted line border.

Make edits to everything outside a selection.

It can be easier to select what you don’t want to change instead of what you do, especially if the area you want to edit is large. Then, all you have to do is invert to make sure you’ve made the perfect selection.

A photo of a person standing on a dock in a lake. Everything but the person has been selected using the inverse selection method.

Precisely select larger areas.

Say you want to change the background in a portrait. It can be challenging to select everything but the subject. Instead, select that person and then invert it. The same goes for if you want to change the color range for all but one small segment of a graphic design.

Layers panel superimposed on a sky and landscape photo. The sky has been replaced with colorful artwork using the inverse selection method.

Prep for background adjustments.

Use an inverse selection to separate the background of your image and replace it with colorful artwork.

Quick Mask tool icon superimposed on a photo of boats docked at a beach. Everything but the sky has been selected.

Set up a massive mask.

Turn an inverted selection into a layer mask to hide or show different portions of your image. 

How do you invert a selection in Photoshop?

1. Choose it:

Pick a selection tool from the toolbar at the right. The Marquee tool, Lasso tool, or Magic Wand tool will all work, but the Select Object, Select Subject, or Quick Selection tools are simplest.

2. Select it:

Use the selection tool to create a border around the portion of your image that you don’t want to change.

3. Invert it:

Right-click your selection and choose the Select Inverse option. Alternatively, choose Select › Inverse from the menu bar at the top of the window.

FAQs about inverting selections in Photoshop.

What is the keyboard shortcut for “invert selection” in Photoshop?

To invert an existing selection without touching your mouse, just press Ctrl+Shift+i on a PC or Command+Shift+i on a Mac.

How do I undo a selection?

If you’ve made the wrong selection and want to try again, just press Ctrl+Z (Command+Z on Mac) to undo it.

How do I add and subtract from a selection’s border?

To enlarge the border of an active selection, hold down Shift and select the area where you’d like to add more space. To make a selection’s border smaller, hold Alt (or Option on Mac) and select where you’d like the borders to shrink.

How do I make sure my selection has inverted?

Can’t tell if the rest of your image has been selected or not? Check the edges of your canvas. If the “marching ants” (a line of small, moving dash marks) that surrounded your old selection are now marching around the outside of your image, you’ve successfully inverted your selection.

Adobe Photoshop

Do more with Adobe Photoshop.

See what else you can do with inverted selections.

Explore tutorials to walk you through some of things you can do now that you know how to make an inverted selection.

A photo of a person that has been edited into a mask layer.

Create a layer mask.

Learn how easy it is to create a mask using the Select and Mask workspace.

A photo of a child wearing yellow clothing and sitting in a pile of yellow leaves. Half of the image has been turned blue.

Change colors.

Fine-tune a specific hue or invert colors altogether. See how simple color swapping can be.

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