How to Use the Magic Wand Tool in Photoshop 2023

The Magic Wand Feature is one of Photoshop’s basic selection tools. The Magic Wand is yet another name for it.

The Magic Wand chooses pixels in a picture based on tone and color as opposed to other selection tools that do so based on forms or by spotting object boundaries.

The unpleasant moniker “tragic wand” was given to the Magic Wand by many users since it frequently seems impossible to control which pixels the instrument chooses.

In this article, we’ll dig past the magic to learn how the wand actually functions and how to spot the scenarios for which this antiquated but still very useful selection tool was created.

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Determination of the magic wand tool in Photoshop

You can pick pixels in an image according to their hue and tone with the magic wand tool.

When there is a color difference between the background and the rest of the image, this tool is fantastic for choosing backgrounds.

If the section you want to pick is similar in style and color to its surroundings, using the magic wand tool could be challenging.

You can make choices that might otherwise be difficult to make if you use the magic wand tool.

When using the magic wand tool, you just need to make a few settings adjustments; in contrast, when using the pen tool or the lasso tool, you must manually make selections.

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What Purpose Does the Magic Wand Tool Serve?

When you want to demonstrate a product in multiple settings by placing it against various backgrounds or when you want to completely erase a background so your product shines out on its own, the Magic Wand Tool is the go-to option.

This is frequently the case with online stores like Amazon or eBay, which have their own guidelines for product photos outlining the acceptable backgrounds for your images.

A brief explanation of Magic Wand Tool Settings

1. Selection Types

There are four categories of selection. They are indicated in the Options bar by little square icons. Just keep in mind that the magic wand tool (W) must be active in order for any of these options to be used.

2. New Selection

When you select the magic wand tool, the New Picking option is launched straight away.

A fresh selection is then created using the magic wand tool once you click someplace in your image.

3. Increase the choice

When you’ve chosen your first option, you should click the second block symbol.

The region of your image that you click on after selecting this option will be added to your selection.

Holding down Shift while clicking on a portion of your image will allow you to add more information to your pick.

4. Deduct from the choice

The third block symbol eliminates selected areas.

By clicking the third square icon in the Toolbar, you can choose which area of the selection you would like to remove from the selection.

Alternatively, click the area of the selection you wish to erase while holding down the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac) keys on your keyboard.

5. Cross with the choice

When two choices overlap with a shared space between them and you wish to choose the intersecting pixels, the fourth icon is helpful.

To use it, first hit the Intersect with the select symbol, then click the region.

This enables you to combine two distinct selections into one, even if they were generated using various tools.

6. Sample Size

One of the most crucial magic wand tool options is Sample Size. You can choose the number of pixels that serve as the foundation for your decision by modifying this setting.

The sample size is usually set to a point sample. When this mode is activated, the magic wand tool will pick pixels that perfectly match the color and shade you clicked.

The magic wand tool will base your selection on a bigger area of pixels as you increase the sample size. You would be able to access a greater variety of different tones as a result.

However, you won’t typically need to increase the Sample Size past 3131. If you don’t, you’ll pick more pixels than you should.

7. Tolerance

The magic wand tool’s tolerance determines how far the color will depart from your sample.

The magic wand tool will only choose pixels that have the exact same hue and tone as the pixel you clicked if tolerance is set to zero.

8. Anti-Alias

By gradually blurring the borders, anti-aliasing smooths the edges of your pick.

Always keep this selection selected.

9. Contiguous

When you want to limit the selection region, you need to enable Contiguously. When this setting is active, the magic wand tool only selects adjacent pixels that have the same color.

The magic wand tool will choose comparable pixels to the one you clicked throughout the entire image if this option is not checked.

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How to use Photoshop’s Magic Wand tool

How you can select the Magic wand tool 

The magic wand tool has its own icon on the tool pallet. You can simply pick the tool from there in Photoshop CC 2022 or an earlier version. 

You must click on the Quick Selection Tool in the Tools panel and hold down the mouse button for a few seconds until a fly-out menu shows if you’re using Photoshop CC 2019 or later (I’m using Photoshop CC 2022 here).

This is a consequence of Adobe’s policy to nest the Quick Selection Tool within the Magic Wand in Photoshop CC 2022.

From the menu, choose Magic Wand.

Once more, images with contrasting hues perform better when the Magic Wand tool is used. The tool can be more precise in this approach.

1. Open Photoshop and select a picture.

2. Click the Magic Wand symbol in the toolbar on the left side of the screen. It’s the fourth option from the top.

Right-click the icon if it resembles a brush painting a dotted line and chooses “Magic Wand Tool.

3. Ensure that the “Add to selection” mode, which appears as two white boxes at the top of the screen, is chosen.

By selecting this option, each time you click the Magic Wand in the image, your selection is appended to rather than subtracted.

4. Set the Tolerance at the top of the window to “25” in the same method. For the majority of photographs, this is a fine place to start, but we’ll change it if necessary. The more options you’ll select with each click, the higher the tolerance.

5. To choose a part of the image, click on it. 

6. Look at what was chosen, number six. You have two choices if the complete area wasn’t chosen: Increase the tolerance and try again as you continue to “tune in” the ideal tolerance for the image is one strategy.

Alternatively, you can keep using the Magic Wand tool in the area you wish to pick; because you’re in “Add to selection” mode, each time you use it, your selection is expanded. Doing a little of both is frequently the wisest course of action.

7. If you mistakenly selected too much of the image, pick “New selection mode” at the top of the screen (there is just one white square) and try again with a lesser tolerance.

You can pick “Add to selection” to expand the highlighted area until you are happy with the outcome.

8. After making all the selections you desire, feel free to change to another tool and update the section as you see fit. At the top of the window is a “Filters” menu.

Nothing you do inside the selection will leak outside into the rest of the image as long as it is still active.

9. When finished, turn on the Magic Wand tool once more and right-click anywhere within your selection. In the drop-down box, pick “Deselect.”

How to apply layers while using the Photoshop Magic Wand tool

A fantastic technique to prevent unintentionally editing a portion of the image that you wish to save is to use layers.

Duplicating your layers in advance is a good idea if you’re intending to use the Magic Wand tool to make a significant alteration.

By doing this, you may keep the original, unedited version of the photograph while also having the option to combine the two.

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How to do it:

1. By choosing the Layers palette on the right side of the screen, drag the current layer or layers to the “Create a New Layer” button (shaped like a plus sign or sticky note) at the bottom of the screen.

2. You can conceal your original layers by selecting the eye icon next to them.

3. To select the new layers on top and continue with the selection and editing, click them. You can hide and unhide the layers however you’d like by utilizing the eye icons if you wish to use the originals as references.

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How to Use the Magic Wand Tool to Remove a Background

The first step is to enable the magic wand tool before attempting to remove the backdrop. To achieve this, press W on your keyboard or the magic wand icon on the toolbar.

Make a few changes to the Options bar after selecting the magic wand tool.

Increase the sample size first

If your background is one color and all of the pixels have the same brightness, set the size of the sample to Point Sample.

But you need to increase the sample size if your background is made up of many hues and tones. Although the background pixels in my case are all brown, there is some brightness variance between the pixels.

I switched from a Point Sample to a 33 Average as a result. When making your choice, start by setting a low amount for Tolerance. Then decide whether to raise or lower such a value. 32 is the standard tolerance value, so I’ll use 32 in my example.

Anti-alias & Contiguous

When using the magic wand tool to select the background, make sure Anti-alias and Contiguous are checked. Anti-aliasing will reduce the likelihood of having flaws, such as color fringing, around the boundaries of your selection.

Contrarily, Contiguous will guarantee that only the background region is chosen and not the entire image. You can start deciding once you’ve completed all the necessary adjustments. To start, simply click anywhere on the background to make your selection.

In my situation, the image’s center was the place at which I clicked, marking the beginning of my pick.

Pixel Settings 

Many pixels are still missing from the selection, though. To continue building the selection, I’ll go back to the Choices bar and select the Add to the selection icon, which is the second square icon there. When you choose this option, the magic wand icon on the canvas will alter.

A + symbol will appear, indicating that the tool is prepared to supplement the choice you made with more content.

When you click a different region of the backdrop, your current selection will be expanded to include that area.

Alternatively, you can expand your selection by clicking another area of the image while using the Shift key on your keyboard. 

If, however, you find that you have selected more content than is necessary, you can deselect it by holding down the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac) keys while choosing the region you want to deselect.

When I continued my selection, several of the pixels near the bottom of the image were skipped. This is a result of the fact that the area at the bottom of my image contains a variety of brown tones, and the magic wand tool was unable to select all of those pixels because the tolerance number I chose was insufficient.

To correct that, I raised the tolerance to 46, which gave me additional options for choosing pixels in that region that were different shades of brown.

After that, I added more pixels to the selection by pressing Shift while clicking the target region.

If you choose a region with more distinct tones, for instance, you might wish to lower the tolerance. I again lowered the tolerance in my situation to 33.

I could choose the bright pixels close to the cup without choosing the cup itself in this manner.

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How to Use the Magic Wand Tool to Make a Selection Based on Color

This tool is very helpful for photographs with a background that is always the same color.

It can also be applied to photos that prominently feature a certain tone. I wanted to make the background in the image below more colorful and dramatic. I want a hue that will look well next to the bloom.

  • To begin using it, select the Magic Wand tool from the Photoshop toolbar. Under the Quick Selection Tool, it is situated.
  •  For the shortcut, you can also press W.
  • Select a sample color by clicking on the area. Select the Tolerance, Contiguous, and Anti Alias choices from the options bar.
  • To choose a color, click on it in the image.

Photoshop will choose colors from a much wider spectrum if you boost the Tolerance. You will now include any regions that might have been left out of your initial pick. Additionally, Photoshop will only select from related areas if you enable Contiguous.

  • To make a copy of the layer after making your selection, use Ctrl/Command + J.
  • My layer will now have a transparent background, allowing me to see what will be replaced.
  • You’ll need an additional layer after that to add the background color.
  • In the workspace’s lower right corner, select the Create New Layer icon.
  • Drag the translucent layer above this one.
  • Go to >Edit and then pick >Fill to select the background color.
  • Be certain you select Color from the options.
  • This will open the color picker, allowing you to select the precise shade of background color that you want to use.
  • To add this fill color to your backdrop, click >Ok.


In some photographs, using the Magic Wand tool can be a little challenging. On other occasions, it may be a useful tool that enables you to achieve excellent outcomes with only a few simple, fast actions.

The next time you need to quickly alter the color of a solid background, give it a try. Alternately, use it to give your image’s sky a more lively appearance.

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