How to Crop in a Circle in Photoshop (Fast & Easy!)

In today’s tutorial, you will learn how to crop in a circle in Photoshop using the frame tool.

Cropping your photos into a circle will help you generate better social media profile photos or website images.

Doing the crop yourself will ensure that your photos always look the way that you intend.

Crop in a Circle in Photoshop with The Frame Tool

Unfortunately, the Crop tool does not allow you to crop your images in a circle. However, you can use other available tools to achieve the same result.

On your Toolbar, you will find the Frame tool, you can enable it by pressing the K key on the keyboard.

The Frame tool allows you to easily mask images. It can turn shapes or text into frames that you can use as placeholders and fill images while automatically scaling them to fit.

On the Options bar, you will see the two available options for framing: the Rectangular and the Elliptical Frame.

Select the Elliptical Frame and go over to your image. 

Click-and-drag to expand the Frame. 

Initially, it appears as a square/rectangular frame because its sides depict the width of the elliptical frame. 

As you click-and-drag, hold the Shift key to constrain the crop into a perfect square.

You will see the Width and Height indicator, which should show equal values of pixels.

You can hold the Spacebar key as you are creating the frame to reposition it around the image. 

When you are happy with the framing of the photo, release your mouse to show the elliptical frame. 

This is how to crop in a circle in Photoshop.

Pro Tip: If you go to the Layers panel, you see how the layer was automatically converted into a Smart Object. When you double-click on a Smart Object thumbnail, it opens it a new document tab where you can edit the original photo. In the video tutorial, you can see some of the adjustments you can apply within the Smart Object.

If you want to learn more about how this works, make sure that you check out the article on the Frame Tool on Adobe helpx.

How to Crop in a Circle in Photoshop

If you go to the working document, the image isn’t actually cropped yet—only framed.

By cropping, it means you have to get rid of the rest of the image and only retain parts of it that are within the elliptical frame.

To crop a circle, create a selection of the elliptical frame by holding Ctrl (Windows) or Command (MacOS) as you click on the Frame tool thumbnail on your Layers panel.

Select the Crop tool for Photoshop to crop the image to the selection immediately. Press on the Enter (Windows) or Return (MacOS) key twice to commit to the change.

Press Ctrl 0 (Windows) or Command 0 (MacOS) to fit the image to the screen.

If you look closely, the area outside the elliptical frame shows a checkerboard pattern which indicates transparency.

On your Layers panel, notice the white outline around your layer thumbnail. The white outline indicates Smart Object is currently active.

If you select the Move tool, you can click-and-drag anywhere on the image to reposition its placement within the frame.

Saving the Image

To save this image with a circular crop, you need to save it in a format that allows transparency.

Also, Remember that images are always square, and we need to create the illusion of a circular crop with transparency.

To crop in a circle in Photoshop you need to use transparent pixel to give the illusion of a circle crop.

To do this, go to File > Export > Export As.

Unfortunately, you cannot use JPEG since it does not allow you to save transparency.

The best format that allows transparency is the PNG format, so select this in the Format drop-down menu.

Also, check the Transparency box to ensure that you save the transparent pixels to give the illusion of a circular crop.

To finalize everything, click on the Export button to save the file into your computer!

Now that you know how to crop in a circle in Photoshop, you can easily get the perfect profile photo every time!

If you enjoy this tutorial, you might also enjoy learning how to type in a circle in Photoshop!

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I do some work in Photoshop but didn’t know much about the use of frame tool. Thanks for the tutorial.

Tony Cannan

Great video’s Jesus, I have a question I am hoping you can answer for me. My Grade 3 grandson has some minor learning difficulties but absolutely loves drawing & art. I want to encourage him and buy him a drawing tablet as he loves computers games as well and I think that by getting him a tablet while he is young we can help him with his future education. What would you recommend as the correct tablet to get someone so young & maybe an easy first drawing program. I have a Wacom tablet & Photoshop but they are too advanced I think, if you can help that would be great, if you cant due to commercial constraints I understand. Thanks for the great tutorials they really do help me with Photoshop & stay safe.