How To Edit A Shape In Photoshop

Working on Adobe Photoshop as a beginner can be very daunting. A plethora of tools and options are available that make your head spin, and you may need help with how to use them. Most people might exit the Photoshop window because of how terrifying the idea of navigating through the tools may seem. Preventing this is what we are here for. 

Editing shapes involves two main tools: the pen tool and the direct selection tool. The shape tool option helps navigate through the shape’s color, stroke, and appearance. The natural selection tool allows you to manipulate the form. A line can be turned into a curve, and so on. The possibilities become endless with this tool. 

Photoshop is software that you learn through trial and error. Exploring the tools is recommended and encouraged. However, not everybody has the time, and sometimes your skills need a refresher. Below are instructions on how to edit shapes in Photoshop without a hassle. 

Draw A Shape

To edit a shape, you first need to draw it. You can do this using the pen tool.

The Pen Tool

The pen tool is the most important tool you need in Photoshop if you want to draw shapes. The pen tool allows you to make paths by joining several dots. Here is how to draw shapes using it:

  1. Press the “p” key, and this activates the pen tool.
  2. To draw a line, click a dot and then click another dot farther away from it. A line is created.
  3. To draw a curve, click a dot and then another dot, but drag it. This gives rise to another line, a handle that helps control and edit the curve. 
  4. To turn these paths into shapes, look below for all the options you can explore.

Editing Shape Properties

Shapes need more substance to them than just lines. Use the following options to incorporate color, shadow, pixels, or anything of your preference. You may not use all of them, but it is best to know them. 

  1. Select the path that you have drawn. It will bring up a shape tool options bar.
  2. It has the following options:
    1. Mode – this can help you choose between pixels, shapes, and path
    2. Fill – this lets you add color to the shape.
    3. Stroke – this outlines the shape, and you can add shadows.
    4. W&H – this is the width and height of the shape 
    5. Path Operations – this can help to move shapes around each other and set them.
    6. Path alignment – you can move shapes around and align them on the canvas.
    7. Path arrangement – you may choose which shape to put forward and backward on the canvas
    8. Additional shape and path options

Making Changes To Some Parts Of The Shape

Do you like your shape but want to fix one corner of it? We’ve listed the straightforward process below: 

  1. In the properties panel, click on the unlink option. The icon looks like an embedded link icon.
  2. Once unlinked, hold onto one corner of the shape and manipulate it without manipulating the rest.

How To Transform The Shape

If you have a rectangular shape and want to turn it into a shape resembling a bird, this will help you out. You can turn basic shapes into more complex ones following these directions:

  1. Click on the selection tool; it is an icon in the toolbar which looks like a cursor.
  2. Select the Direct Selection tool
  3. Expand over a small or large area that you want to work in
  4. Hold onto the points and move them around as you like

In case of any confusion, refer to this informative Youtube video: 

Adding Images To Shapes

You may want to add specific images to shapes. These may be images of loved ones, places, or prints you wish to incorporate. 

  1. Open up your image in another tab in Photoshop.
  2. Once the shape is ready in another tab, drag the photo and drop it on the shape. 
  3. This creates another layer.
  4. Now go to the top option labeled “layer” and select “clipping mask.” And you’re done!
  5. To adjust the image, go to “edit,” then “transform,” and then select “scale.” You can zoom in or out or move the picture sideways. 


Creating art in Photoshop is tricky. However, it is convenient if you want to make the most of this software without feeling the need to get another one. You may not get it right every time, but over time with practice, you will learn. Plus, we are here to help you and save you the frustration!