How To Deselect in GIMP

Most Photoshop alternatives function very differently from Photoshop, oftentimes having completely different hotkeys and ways of performing some very basic functions. This is the main problem with GIMP, which tends to turn people away from using it.

How To Deselect in GIMP

However, if you don’t want to give up on this Photoshop alternative just yet, you may be experiencing issues with deselecting in GIMP and looking for solutions to this problem. Fear not, as deselecting in GIMP is not exactly tough to do – it’s just different. In this article, we’ll show you how to do it.

Deselecting Everything

If something needs to be deselected, it’s usually everything that’s been previously selected. You might have noticed that Ctrl + D, the usual shortcut for other similar software such as Photoshop, does not deselect the scene, but rather makes an identical copy of your current project.

The actual shortcut for deselecting in GIMP is Shift + Ctrl + A. If you use a Mac the Command + Shift + A keyboard shortcut will perform the deselect action.

You can also access it from the Menu bar by going to “Select” and clicking “None.”

Have in mind that there are also ways to deselect just a part of the current selection, a function which is used very often by graphic designers. Below is a short overview of GIMP’s selection tools and things you can do with each of them.

Selection Tools

GIMP offers lots of ways to select a specific part of an image. In the sidebar, which is located on the left side of the screen by default, you will notice that there are quite a few selection tools. Alternatively, you can access these by opening the “Tools” menu and going to “Selection Tools.” Here are the most important ones:

  • “Rectangle Select Tool” lets you select any rectangular region.
  • “Ellipse Select Tool” allows you to make an elliptic selection.
  • With the “Free Select Tool”, also known as the “Lasso Tool”, you can freely select any part of the image.
  • “Fuzzy Select Tool” (or “Magic Wand Tool”) forms a singular region that has a color similar to the point of the image you’ve selected.
  • “Select by Color Tool” works in a manner similar to the “Fuzzy Select Tool,” but it selects all the regions with similar colors, not just the one you’re aiming at.
  • “Scissors Select Tool” reminds of Photoshop’s “Magnetic Lasso,” as it tries to use the contrast to make an object selection.
    Select tools

Selection Modes

Selection modes

Each selection tool that GIMP has offers the same four selection modes:

  1. “Replace the current selection” only lets you have one active selection at a time, canceling all the previous ones when making a new selection.
  2. “Add to the current selection” expands the previous selection with the new one. This mode doesn’t require you to have a selection beforehand.
  3. “Subtract from the current selection” takes out your selected region from the region that was previously selected, at least as long as there are overlaps.
  4. “Intersect with the current selection” checks if any part of your selection intersects with the old selection. If so, only that part remains. Otherwise, everything will be deselected.

The Select Menu

The “Select” menu from the Menu bar gives you some more options regarding selecting and deselecting. The important ones include the following:

  1. “All” (Ctrl + A or Command + A) selects the whole canvas.
  2. “None” (Shift + Ctrl + A or Command + Shift + A) deselects everything you had selected.
  3. “Invert” (Ctrl + I or Command + I) inverts your current selection, swapping the selected and unselected regions.
  4. “Float” (Shift + Ctrl +L or Shift + Command + L) makes a selection “float,” meaning you can only work with that part of the image until you anchor it. To anchor a layer, either go to “Layer” and then click “Anchor Layer” or just press Ctrl + H. In case you’ve made a floating selection, clicking outside of it anchors it as well.
    Select tools

Other more advanced options, such as “Feather,” “Grow,” “Shrink,” and “Border,” may help with refining the initial selection.

Select Your Way

As you can see from this article, there are a lot of ways to both select and deselect in GIMP. The program is quite different from Photoshop and, of course, it had to change the function names, but if you can get over that, you still are getting a free Photoshop alternative with similar capabilities.

Are you satisfied with GIMP? Which selection tool do you use most frequently? Share your thoughts and tell us about your favorite selection tools in the comments below.

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