How to combine several saved selections in Photoshop

Sometimes it’s necessary to select more than one saved selection in Photoshop. And I was often wondering how to do it, thinking there had to be a way – until I discovered it by sheer accident today while pressing seemingly random buttons.

Usually I call up a seed selection by heading over to Select – Load Selection and choose the channel I want. But that way I can only bring up a single selection at a time.

Lucky for us, there is another way: we can display selections using the Channels Tab. Usually it’s next to Layers Tab – but in case it’s not showing up, choose Window – Channels to display it.

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Click on a channel and it will display the corresponding parts in your main window. That’s not what we want, I just thought I’d mention it.

To turn a single channel into a selection, CMD-click / CTRL-click on it. As you hover with your CMD key pressed down, the selector will turn into a little square with a dashed outline, indicating this would become a selection (I guess).

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To select more than one channel, we can simply use SHIFT while clicking (only works on channels other than RGB, Red, Green or Blue – i.e. it only works on saved selection channels). If we combine this with holding down CMD, then we can select multiple selections at once.

Let’s see an example

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In my case, I have two saved selections for a zipper, and I’d like to create a selection that incorporates both of these at the same time. Hence, select the first channel, then hold down SHIFT+CMD (or SHIFT+CTRL on Windows) to select another channel. Note that the cursor turns into a little plus icon (you’re adding to a selection).

Hey presto, both areas are selected in my main view!

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It gets better: you can also subtract from a selection, by holding down ALT in addition to SHIFT and CMD. So if we’d like to remove a channel from our selection, we’ll hold down SHIFT+CMD+ALT, then click on the undesired channel. Note that the cursor turns into a little x icon (indicating that you’re removing something from your selection).

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And that’s how we deal with multiple selections in Photoshop 🙂

2 thoughts on “How to combine several saved selections in Photoshop

  1. Nice tut but there is an easier way. Once you have the Load Selection box open you will see below are 4 options. Just click add to selection and you can repeat this to add as many selections as you want 🙂

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