An image being edited in Photoshop.


A guide to the options bar in Adobe Photoshop.

Every tool in Photoshop, from the simple Eraser to the mighty Paint Bucket, has different variations. Tap into their power with the options bar.

What is the options bar in Photoshop?

Tools in Photoshop are flexible, customizable, and adaptable. You can use a single tool in several different ways and adapt tools how you like them. In some ways, options are like sub-tools that can help you refine your style of photo editing or graphic design. In other words: When it comes to using Photoshop tools, you have options.

Options menu item superimposed on the Photoshop editing screen.

Where is the options bar in Photoshop?

The options bar is right underneath the menu bar. It’s a horizontal menu that, by default, is on the left side of the screen. Don’t see the options bar? Bring it back by going to the Window drop-down menu and selecting Options (on both macOS and Windows).

An example of the options bar moved lower on the Photoshop editing screen.

Can you move the options bar?

You can. Move it around your workspace by clicking near the Home icon on the left end of it and dragging it. Bear in mind that you can’t resize it, though.

Reset Tool menu item superimposed on an image of a person.

How to reset the options bar.

To restore the options bar to its default state, pick a tool, and right-click on the options bar on a PC or Ctrl+click on a Mac. Select Reset Tool to restore defaults to the current tool you’re using, or Reset All Tools to return everything to their default settings.

The options bar is context-sensitive.

The options bar will sometimes appear in different ways in the Photoshop interface. That’s because it’s context dependent and will display different options depending on what tool you’re working with. The Healing Brush has different options from the Clone Stamp, which has different options from the Polygonal Lasso, and so on.

Move tool superimposed on the Photoshop editing screen.

Adjust how tools operate.

Every tool has several different options for how to use it. You can even customize something as fundamental as the Move tool to auto-select objects, select whole layers, or select groups of objects. When using options, the tool icon of whatever tool you’re using sometimes changes its look, so you can tell you’ve got a certain option selected.

Rectangular Marquee tool icon superimposed on the Photoshop editing screen.

Control how you create your designs.

For instance, the Rectangular Marquee tool is, by default, just a simple rectangle. But you can choose how it selects part of an image: Options like Feather (soft edges), Anti-Alias (sharp edges), and Fixed Aspect Ratio help you control how the resulting selection looks. 

Adobe Photoshop

Do more with Adobe Photoshop.

Explore your options with these Photoshop tutorials.

Get further into using and customizing tools with tutorials that dive into the details.

Graphic art showing a person running.

Get started with Photoshop brushes.

Customize your brush tools for myriad artistic effects. Whether it’s a splash of ink, the spray-can look of street art, or the elegance of oils, it’s all there for you to create with.


Explore Photoshop brushes

An image of tall buildings and blue sky. The sky has been selected and there is a dotted line border around it.

Use Adobe Photoshop tools.

From the Magic Wand to the Magnetic Lasso, Photoshop is filled with tools for just about anything. Find out how to use them, customize them, and create presets.


Discover Photoshop tools

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