2.6. Select By Color Tool

Select by Color tool icon in the Toolbox

The Select by Color tool is designed to select areas of an image based on color similarity. It works a lot like the Fuzzy Select tool ("Magic Wand"). The main difference between them is that the Magic Wand selects contiguous regions, with all parts connected to the starting point by paths containing no large gaps; while the Select by Color tool selects all pixels that are sufficiently similar in color to the pixel you click on, regardless of where they are located. Also, clicking and dragging in the image has no effect on the Select by Color tool.

How to Activate

The Magic Wand Tool can be activated from an image menu as Tools->Selection Tools->Select by Color; from the Toolbox by clicking on the tool icon ; or from the keyboard using the shortcut O (note that this is a capitalized letter O, not the number 0).

Key modifiers (Defaults)

The select by color tool does not have any special key modifiers, only the ones that affect all selection tools in the same way. See Selection Tools for help with these.


Tool Options for the Select by Color tool

[Note] Note

See Selection Tools for help with options that are common to all these tools. Only options that are specific to the Select by Color tool are explained here. Note that they are the same options as the Magic Wand tool has.

Finding Similar Colors

These options affect the way the Magic Wand expands the selection out from the initial point.

  • Select Transparent Areas.  This option gives the Magic Wand the ability to select areas that are completely transparent. If this option is not checked, transparent areas will never be included in the selection.

  • Sample Merged.  This option becomes relevant when you have several layers in your image, and the active layer is either semi-transparent or is set to another Layer Mode than Normal. If this is the case, the colors present in the layer will be different from the colors in the composite image. If the "Sample Merged" option is unchecked, the wand will only react to the color in the active layer when it creates a selection. If it is checked it will react to the composite color of all visible layers. For further information, see the glossary entry Sample Merged.

  • Threshold.  This slider determines the range of colors that will be selected: the higher the threshold, the larger the resulting selection.