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There are several ways that you can straighten an image in Photoshop, and the first way is with the Crop tool. So if your Crop tool isn't selected, go ahead and tap the C key. And then if you're on the Mac, hold down the Control key and click on the crop marquee in the options bar and select Reset Tools. If you're on Windows, just right mouse click on the crop marquee and then choose Reset Tool. I just want to make sure that we don't have any values set here in the ratio, and that we're all looking at the same interface.
You'll notice that when I position my cursor outside of the crop boundary I get the double-headed arrow, and this is going to allow me to rotate my image. And, of course, if I rotate it, I can straighten it. So I'll just click, and then drag clockwise with the mouse, in order to straighten this image. And, I really like the way that the Crop tool instead of expanding the crop boundary to include areas beyond the original photograph, it actually constrains it to within the original photograph.
Now, I'm going to go ahead and tap Cmd+Z or Ctrl+Z on Windows, to undo that, because I also want to show you another way with the Crop tool. If you simply hold down the Command key on Mac or the Control key on Window, you'll notice that your icon changes. And it's changed from the arrow, to the Straighten tool. Now, the Straighten tool has a little cross-hair right there. That is the hotspot, so I want to set that on one side of the image at the horizon. And then we'll drag that across to the other side and when I release the cursor, you can see that Photoshop has automatically straightened it.
So really, two different ways that you can straighten an image with the Crop tool. Alright, let's go ahead and click on the Cancel button here in order to cancel out of there. And then I'll tap the V key in order to access the Move tool so we can hide those crop handles. The second way that I want to show you to straighten an image is with the Ruler tool. And the Ruler tool is nested underneath the Eyedropper tool. So I'll select that from the flyout menu. And then there are two ways that we can use this tool. Well first of all, we should know that the arrow is the hotspot. So I want to position the arrow right on top of the horizon. And then click and drag over to the other side.
But you'll notice that nothing happens automatically when you use the Ruler tool. Really, all we did is we took a measurement. And we can see the measurement of that angle right up here in the Options bar. Now I can do one of two things. I can either select the Image menu and then Image Rotation, and choose Arbitrary. When I select this, Photoshop will automatically enter in that angle right here in the option, and I can click OK, and you can see that the entire image was rotated.
You can also see that while Photoshop rotated the image it had to add extra white canvas area around the outside. Let's go ahead and undo that, we'll take another measurement, again I'll click on the left hand side and then drag over to the right. And this time, I'll simply click on the Straighten Layer option. Now you might be wondering why I didn't do that in the first place. Well, there's an important difference between the two options. When I selected the Rotate menu here under the Image Size and selected Rotate Arbitrary, Photoshop rotated the entire canvas.
In Photoshop if you're working with multiple layers, the easiest way to straighten just a single layer or if you notice an easy way to convert the background into a layer when you straighten it is to take your measurement, and then click Straighten Layer. So that's the big difference between using like the Crop tool, or the Straighten tool with the Crop tool, or using the measurement and then choosing Arbitrary. All of those commands work on the entire document. So if you had a multi-layer document, all of your layers would be rotated.
The way that you would want to rotate a single layer within a document is by using this Ruler tool and then clicking on Straighten Layer. And there you have it. Two different ways that you can quickly straighten a tilted image in Photoshop.
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