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Magic Wand
Magic Wand.gif
Select regions of similar color
Photoshop Versions: since 0.87
Keyboard Shortcut: W
Neat trick, but you need more tolerance, novitiate.

The Magic Wand tool is used to select a region of an image of a similar color. The tool starts from a single pixel, using an algorithm to spread the selection outward based on a tolerance value.

The Magic Wand is useful for extracting objects from a flat background, quickly selecting an irregularly shaped area, or selecting a distinctly-colored element.


  • Selection tool common options
Determines how similar in color a neighboring pixel must be in order to be selected. At low tolerance, the tool will select those pixels with color values near or equal to the cursor pixel; at high tolerance, the range becomes much more broad. If the tolerance is too low, only a single pixel may be selected; if too high, the entire image.
By default, the Contiguous option is used, which limits the selection to those pixels that are in direct contact with the cursor. The Global option allows for any similarly-valued pixel in the image to be included, possibly resulting in dispersed selections.

The standard modifier keys for selection tools apply.

See also[]

  • Background Eraser tool, also known as the "Magic Eraser"
  • Select > Color Range command