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Cropping into a Shape

Elements version 3.0 added a cool new feature that lets you crop your photo into a pre-designed shape. Technically, you could do this back in version 2.0, but it was a bit tedious; you had to draw the shape, and it didn't give you the ease and flexibility that this new “cookie cutter” method does.

Step One

In Elements, open the photo you want to crop into a pre-designed shape, and press the letter Q to get the Cookie Cutter tool.

Step Two

Now, go up to the Options Bar and click on the down-facing arrow to the right of the word “Shape.” This brings up the Custom Shape Picker, which contains the default set of 30 shapes. To load more shapes, click on the right-facing arrow at the top right of the Picker and a list of built-in shape sets will appear. Click on any one to load them, or load them all by choosing All Elements Shapes in the menu.

Step Three

Once you find the custom shape you want to use, just click-and-drag it over your image to the size you want it. When you release the mouse button, your photo is cropped to fit within the shape.

Step Four

You'll see a bounding box around the shape, which you can use to resize, rotate, or otherwise mess with your shape. To resize your shape, hold the Shift key to keep it proportional while you drag a corner point. To rotate the shape, move your cursor outside the bounding box until your cursor becomes a double-sided arrow, and then click-and-drag. As long as you see that bounding box, you can still edit the shape. When it looks good to you, press Enter and the parts of your photo outside that shape will be permanently cropped away.

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