Select pixels from layer

Published on January 17, 2023

In this blog I’ll show you 2 methods to quickly select pixels from a layer in Adobe Photoshop.

Rather watch the video with instructions? Then click here or scroll down to the end of this page!

Quickly select pixels from layer

To use these methods, it’s important that the background of the layer you want to select is transparent. Otherwise this won’t work.

I’ll show you how this works with a text layer. As you can see in the image below, the background behind my text is transparent.

Transparent background

To select the text, you can use 2 methods.

Method 1
Right click on the thumbnail of the layer you want to select (the text layer, in this case). Make sure you really click on the thumbnail and not on the layer itself. Then select ‘select pixels‘. The text is now selected (you can tell by the dotted line around your text).

Select pixels

Press CTRL+D to deselect. I’ll now show you the second method to select pixels.

Method 2
Press and hold CTRL while clicking on the thumbnail of the layer you want to select (the text layer). The text is now selected.

CTRL + Click on thumbnail

If you make the text layer invisible, it’s easier to see the selected area. The dotted line indicates that the area is selected.


I now showed you how to do this with a text layer, but you can do this with other layers too. The most important thing is that the background of that layer is transparent. If you’re working with a shape, you might have to rasterize that layer first.

And that’s how you quickly select pixels from a layer in Adobe Photoshop!

Learn more about Photoshop

If you want to learn more about editing in Adobe Photoshop, check out my other blogs or take a look at my YouTube channel

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Select pixels from layer in Photoshop

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