Why Won't Adobe Let Me Crop Sometimes?

By Mark Taylor

Cropping to a shape in Word.
i Image courtesy of Microsoft

Adobe Photoshop enables you to crop your photos and other images, which can reduce the overall image size and remove unwanted elements. The crop tool requires certain conditions to properly function. Anything from setting preferences to a glitch with the software can result in the crop tool malfunctioning. This leads to problems such as improper crop sizes or even the tool not working at all. Troubleshooting some common issues can quickly relieve this problem.

Troubleshoot Settings

Applying personal settings to Adobe Photoshop can occasionally lead to glitches within the software. The settings file stored in the program on your computer may become corrupted. You don't have to reset all of your preferences to correct this problem. Reset only the crop tool by right-clicking the tool and then selecting "Reset Tool." If you're using a Mac, press "Control" and click, and select "Reset Tool." You can then adjust the tool to your personal settings once again and crop an image as you normally would.

Checking Dimensions

The crop tool enables you to specify the dimensions of your cropped photo. After selecting the crop tool, two boxes will appear in the settings bar near the top left of the work space. This is where the height and width of the crop dimensions are entered. If the crop dimensions are too small, they may not be visible when used. Make sure these dimensions are left blank or set to the height and width that you want.

Turn off Snap to Grid

The Snap to Grid setting in Photoshop causes adjustments to adhere to certain measurements within the image. This causes unwanted cropping results if you desire specific measurements down to the pixel. To turn off this feature, select the "View" menu and click on "Snap." This will remove the check mark and turn off all snapping. The shortcut to turn off Snap is Command-Shift on a Mac and Control-Shift on a PC. Once Snap is turned off, cropping will adjust to the pixels rather than to the measurement guides.

Select the Correct Tool

With the crop tool are four options in the submenu: Crop, Perspective Crop, Slice Tool and Slice Select Tool. These options appear when you right-click the main option for cropping in the toolbox. If the wrong option is selected from the crop submenu, you won't be able to correctly crop an image. Instead, you could be slicing the image. This results in a selected box with adjacent boxes coinciding with each side of the box you have sliced. If you notice multiple boxes, make sure you have not selected the wrong option from the crop submenu.