The Lasso Tool

To edit and apply special effects to portions of your pictures, remove unwanted objects, or cut out objects from one picture and put them on another, that portion or object should be selected using a selection tool or a combination of selection tools in Pixelmator.

Since the Lasso Tool draws freehand selection borders, it is useful for selecting irregularly shaped portions or objects in images.

Step 1

Open an image with an area or object that you want to select in Pixelmator.

Step 2

Click to select the Lasso Tool (L) in the Tools palette.

For smooth selection borders, select Smooth Edges from the Action menu before making a selection. For the jagged yet precise edges, deselect Smooth Edges.

Step 3

To draw a selection using the Lasso Tool, click and drag over an area. To close the selection, release the mouse button.

Step 4

Once a selection has been made, the selection borders can be easily modified if necessary.

To modify the selection border, choose one of the following selection modes in the Tool Options bar:

New Creates a new selection.
Add To Adds new selection to an existing selection.
Subtract Subtracts from an existing selection.
Intersect Subtracts the overlap of two selections.

Click and drag to add to, subtract from, or intersect with the current selection borders.

Please note that any other selection tools may be used to modify the selection borders as well.

Step 5

After making a selection, any changes can be added to the selected region. For example, a selected area or object can be moved, rotated, scaled, flipped, duplicated, cut, filled, inverted, or copied and pasted elsewhere. Also, color adjustments and corrections, various special effects, and filters can be applied to the selection.

The Lasso Tool is handy for selecting any portion of an image.

Tutorial Comments

  1. Gary

    Nice job! Thanks I really enjoyed finally learning how to use a lasso tool properly, and what it is for. I have them in all my editing programs but never bothered to figure out what they are for.

  2. John Daniel

    Great tutorial 🙂 I learned a new trick now, thanks!

  3. Sami

    I know how to use the eraser tool to erase the (3×5) red background of a large vase. Once that is done, and I drag the vase (now on a white background) onto another image, the white 3×5 rectangle background of the vase appears on the new blue background image and stands out like a sore thumb. How do I completely cut out the background leaving JUST the vase and NO white rectangle behind it to appear on the new blue image?

    I’m going in circles trying to do this…please HELP me!!!!

  4. Ausra


    1. Open the image that is the destination for the vase image.
    2. Open the vase image. Remove the background, so only the transparent pixels are left there.
    3. Drag and drop the vase image layer from the Layers palette to the destination image.

  5. Andi

    Hi everybody
    I have problems using the lasso tool. I cannot properly select the object I want to cut out off the picture. When I use the lasso tool on my object the only thing I manage to draw is a chaotic mix of forms (the lasso doesnt follow the edges of the chosen object). What am I doing wrong?


  6. Ausra

    Hi Andi,

    It is best to zoom in to select objects precisely.

  7. Andi

    Hi Ausra
    Thanks for the reply! Two more questions:
    Can I adjust the form of the lasso once I have drawn a form?
    Why does the lasso tool always draw two lines at once?

  8. Ausra

    Yes, you can adjust the selection once it is drawn. Step 4 explains it all.

    The Lasso Tool drawing two lines at once is something unusual. Can you please send us a screenshot to

  9. Carter

    How do I end the selection? I’m on a Mac and when I let off the button it draws the line until I depress it at the next point/turn. But when I’m done, it just keeps drawing lines.

    And how do I move the cut out picture onto the picture I want it on. When I have gotten it to stop drawing the crop lines, as soon as I touch the button again to drag it, it starts drawing lines again. I tried to cut and paste but there was no prompt to paste it when I was ready and went into edit mode.

  10. Ausra

    @Carter, to finish a selection double-click. To copy and paste the selected area, select Edit > Copy, switch to the image where you want to paste the area and select Edit > Paste.

  11. Carter

    I’ve done everything successfully, I think. When I select edit and then copy it gives me a prompt on the image in black that says copy–I assume I’ve successfully copied it then. But when I go to the other image and select edit and then paste, it gives me the prompt saying paste, but the image I’ve cut out doesn’t drop onto the destination image. It’s a very complex image that’s taken a lot of time and trouble to outline, so I don’t want to screw it up. Also, I’m in Polygonal Lasso, not the regular lasso, and I’ve noticed they don’t work the same, but in any case, I can’t get the cut-out image to drop onto the destination image. More coaching, please.

  12. Ausra

    @Carter, is the image you are trying to paste to opened in Pixelmator? Also, then you make a selection in the original image check if you are in the right layer. If the Layers palette is not visible yet, select View > Show Layers.

  13. Mandy

    I am trying to soften or blur a background, keeping the subject in tact. I am using the lasso tool and it only partially selects the area I want, if I keep expanding it captures my subject. How do I fine tune the area? I can’t get to the SMOOTH EDGE selection in step 2. (seems like Im trying to right click everywhere to find this option & new windows do not appear) I also cannot get to Step 4. Not sure where the tool option bar is…nothing comes up that looks like this tutorial. I have a “TOOL” column and nothing happens if I right click under any of the pictures.
    Thanks for the help!!

  14. Ausra

    Hi Mandy,

    In step 2, you should click the Action pop-up menu which is located in the Tool Option bar as shown in the screenshot. The Tool Options bar, is the bar below the image title bar (where you see the picture title) in the document window. If you look at the screenshots, the document window is where you see the picture, and above the picture there are two bars one of them is the Tool Options bar, the other one is the title bar.

  15. Brett

    I was wondering if there is an easy way to undo the last point of selection when using the laso tool. If im carefully selecting an image from the background, but make a selection mistake along the border its a huge pain to have to start the whole process again. Can you advise how to undo last point of selection.

  16. Ausra

    @Brett, just press the Delete key to go back one step.

  17. eileenfromnl

    I have version 2.2.2 and used to have the lasso tool but since the last software update it has vanished. That’s the tool I used the most and am lost without it. How do I find it. Twiga says “use the shortcut l” I don’t know about shortcuts. Please be specific.

  18. Ausra

    @ eileenfromnl, you can add the lasso tool from the Preferences window. Choose Pixelmator > Preferences > Tools > Selecting and drag the Lasso Tool to the Tools palette.

  19. Magnesi

    I would really like the option of the ‘magnetic lasso’ tool. Is this available as an option yet?

  20. Ausra

    @Magnesi, the Magnetic Lasso Tool isn’t available in Pixelmator yet. However, it is on our feature request list!

  21. Marcelo Ferrari

    I’m having trouble drawing with the Magic Trackpad. How do I do it?

  22. Ausra

    @Marcelo: you should click and drag when using the Trackpad to draw a selection.

  23. Marcelo Ferrari

    Ausra, I’ve discovered that you need to click-drag with the Option button held down.

  24. svcace

    I’ve put in a question about the lasso tool. The shape is not easy to use to make good selections and it would be nice if it could be modified to a pointer or anything that keeps the insertion point on the top of the tool.

  25. Ausra

    Thanks, svcace, for the feedback!

  26. Justin

    Once I lasso cut an object and to to integrate it into a new image a big white rectangle comes with it! How do I get rid of that rectangle? Someone asked this question earlier but I did not understand the response. HELP this is extremely annoying!

  27. Ausra

    @Justin, when you save a cut out object, make sure you save it in PNG file format instead of JPG.

  28. Joanna

    Hello all,

    I don’t have a round lasso, only a polysquare one. how do I get the round one?

  29. Ausra

    @Joanna, if you cannot see the selection tools in the Tools palette, you might need to add it from the Pixelmator > Preferences > Tools > Selecting dialog.

  30. Rachel

    I am trying to erase a portion of a “shape”. I have been trying to use the lasso tool to select the area I want to remove/cut/erase…but can’t get it to do any of those things. Help please?!

  31. Ausra

    @ Rachel, shapes are slightly different from the image layers, therefore, image editing tools don’t work on them. To change the shape appearance use the shape handles. You can find more help here:

  32. Nestor Restrepo

    Is it possible to make a “smart cut out” similar to what happens with the magic wand?

  33. Ilysses

    I am trying to resize my image that I lasso’d. I have it pasted into my new image, but do not know how to resize it. Also, I cannot find the box to uncheck to make it smooth..

  34. Ausra

    @Nestor Restrepo, you can just press Delete key after selection. It’ll remove everything. Or press the keyboard shortcut for cut Command-X.

    @ Ilysses, use the transform tool. Choose Edit > Transform to resize that pasted image. Just make sure that image layer is selected in the Layers palette.

  35. AZrob

    I would like to accomplish the following, but am not sure exactly how to do it. I would like to remove a painting hanging on the wall in front of which my wife and I are standing. Assuming the Lasso tool should be used to select the painting, is there an easy way to make it so what I selected exactly blends into the wall it was hanging on? I tried using the clone brush but had uneven results. Or is there a better tool to use? Thanks in advance….

  36. Ausra

    @ AZrob, try to remove it with the Repair Tool. It should be the easiest way to remove it.

  37. Troels

    When I use the polygonal lasso tool on the sides of objects that are not straight, the selection doesn’t turn out as a smooth selection, but rather as an irregular, uneven line – even though the “Smooth Edges” feature is enabled. Can you help out?

    Thanks in advance!

  38. Ausra

    @Troels: I have a suspicion that you are looking at a very zoomed in image. If you look at a zoomed in selection it looks jagged, if you zoom out to a normal view it should look OK.

  39. Walter

    Brand new to using Pixelmatr but not to digital image editing. The lasso tool in this program has been a real headache. In PhotoSop and Paint Shop Pro (PC platform) the Lasso tool has only one line following the cursor. In Pixelmatr there is a double line following the cursor and as I let go of the mouse, a shape is formed well off or inside my image. Is there any way to get one line following the cursor until I actually “close” the selection. I am working with version 3.3.1 Limestone. Thanks – Walter

  40. sajan

    can i use this in mavericks?

  41. phil

    i really want to have the magnetic lasso, which i used in the photoshop testversion, but pixelmator is so cool, so please make it possible, it is a great thing.
    I hope you will release an update quikly.

    Thanks, phil

  42. Jedimindmasta

    i want to poly lasso an image and then save it as its on image. But when i past it into a new canvas the canvas is rectangular. Is there a way to make the part i lasso its own image with out pasting it into a new canvas. Sorry for the newbie question.

  43. David

    I don’t have the lasso. I get a useless paint selection tool in its place. Hovering on the tool, right-clicking, etc. does nothing to change it. Guess I spend this night using photoshop instead. What gives?

  44. Ricardo

    @David – I had the same issue, you have to open the preferences and go to the tool tab and add it to pallet manually.

  45. shani

    sir i’ve used this website for online photo editing. but problem is that the tools described by you such as mode is not available here so what can i do please help me.

  46. Angela

    Pixelmator people need to create a hover pop up over the different ‘mode’ icons…. like on the toolbox to explain what they are!
    Busy people don’t have time to research everything.

  47. Nakeida

    Hello, i have used the lasso tool and was wondering if there is a way of transferring only the selection outline (without the image) on to another page?

  48. spencer

    how do you get the lasso tool to snap to grid? every time i create a selection it lets me freehand it anywhere

  49. paul

    i am trying to transfer a head from one picture to another picture. i used the marquee tool to make a square around the head and copied it. Then I went to edit and chose paste and pasted it onto the other picture. it pasted it but the head was way larger than the cut out was when i copied it the borders had shrunk so that the whole head was not in the picture. What did I do wrong?

  50. Aj

    Im dumb question but im using the lasso on my macbook air and when im done with it the chasing lines dont go away. How do i get rid of them?

  51. Andrius (Pixelmator Team)

    @Aj If you’d like to deselect after making a selection, you can either click Edit > Deselect All or use the Command-D keyboard shortcut.

  52. olesia

    Hello, how can I cut out a shape not from an image but from another shape? I tries lasso tool but it didn’t work with the shape. Im trying to make a banner from rectangle and cut out a small triangle from it. How can I do it?

  53. Andrius (Pixelmator Team)


    The Lasso Tool works with pixel layers and not shape layers – but you can actually convert any shape layer into a pixel layer. To do that, Control-click the layer in the Layers palette and choose Convert Into Pixels. Then, you can cut out parts of that layer using a selection tool.

  54. Bill

    I used the lasso tool to trace around a shape. Now I’d like to refine my clicking. Adjust some of the shape I made using the lasso tool. I don’t see how step #4 allows me to do that. I also don’t see those options in my toolbar. Thanks for any suggestions you can offer!

  55. Partha

    I learn many essential thing what I want and others

  56. Partha

    I learn many essential thing and others thing also

  57. Lisa

    To modify the selection border, choose one of the following selection modes in the Tool Options bar: Just have a question to you, Is there any shortcut option to make subtract/Intersect Just in Ps Alt, Shift?

  58. Monica

    Hi, after reading this awesome piece of writing i am as well delighted to share my familiarity here with colleagues.

  59. yoyo

    What if i simply wish to remove/Delete my selection to crate an empty space in my selection?

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