Introduction to Selection Tools

Jump to Mobile

There are an assortment of Selection tools. Use some for choosing a type of selection, and others to help once a selection has been made.

You can also use a selection like a mask‍. You can select an area and constrain the paint to the selection. You won’t need to worry about paint going outside the bounds of the selection.

Select an are to create a mask in the mobile version of SketchbookUse of an empty selection as a mask in the mobile version of Sketchbook

In Sketchbook Pro for desktop, a selection can also be used to select an area, then with the V key open the Transform Puck to move, scale or rotate your selection.

Need to remove large areas from your image? Use Selection tools to make quick work of that. For example, you want to remove a white background from an image. Use Magic Wand selection in the mobile version of Sketchbook Magic Wand to select the background and the Delete key, use an eraser, or Clear (from the Layer Editor marking menu‍) to delete the selected area.

The different types of selections

The version of Sketchbook you are using determines the types of selection available.

Lasso selection in the mobile version of SketchbookLasso

Great for tracing around an object. Tap-drag and trace around the object to select it.

Oval selection in the mobile version of SketchbookOval

Great for selecting circular areas. Place your finger where you would like the center of the selection to be, then tap-drag to expand the selection.

Rectangle selection in the mobile version of SketchbookRectangle

Great for selecting square or rectangular areas. Place your finger where you would like the bottom right corner of the selection to be, then tap-drag to expand the selection.


Great for selecting oddly shaped areas. Click to add points to the polyline, then click your first point to complete the selection.

Magic Wand selection in the mobile version of Sketchbook Magic Wand

Great for selecting a region based on pixels of color. Use the Tolerance slider to expand the range of color selected (by increasing the tolerance) or limit it (by deceasing the tolerance). Use Sample Layers to choose whether to select color from the current layer or all layers. Tap an area with the color you want selected. If more colors need to be added to the selection, drag the Tolerance slider to the right add more to the selection. If the selection has too broad a range selected, drag the *Tolerance *slider to the left.

Sample one layer icon Sample one layer/Sample all layers

When Sample one layer icon is displayed, you will be selecting color from the current selected layer. Tap the icon to change it to Sample all layers icon and select color from all layers.

Selection editing tools

Replace icon Replace

Tap Replace, then tap-drag to replace the current selection with a new one.

1657578364653-add-selection.png Add

Tap Add, then tap-drag or click an area to add to the current selection. Use this when your selection is almost perfect and it would be easier to add to it than to start again.

Remove icon Remove

Tap Remove, then tap-drag or click areas to remove them from the current selection. Use this when you’ve included too much content to your selection and it would be easier to remove it than to start again.

Invert icon Invert

Tap Invert to switch the selection. The current unselected content will become the selection, once you’ve tapped Invert. Use this when it’s easier to select what you don’t want.

Deselect icon Deselect

Tap Deselect to deselect everything. Use this when finished with the Selection tools. Tap it to completely exit Selection mode.

Remember, you can use your selection as a mask and paint or fill it, distort, or crop it. To select everything, select Edit > Select all or press Cmd+A for Mac or Ctrl+A for Windows.

NOTE: Did you know that you could use another tool, while still in selection mode? See Using a selection like a mask‍ for more information.

Using Quick Transform Quick Selections

Quick Selection tools

In the toolbar, tap Quick Transform to accesses the Quick Selection tools. 

  • RectangleRectangle (M) – tap-drag to select a rectangular area.
  • LassoLasso (L) – tap-drag to select a closed, freeform area.

Once you've made a selection, the Transform puck appears for moving, rotating, and/or scaling the selected content.

Selection tools in Sketchbook for mobile devices

The device you are using will determine the method used for accessing the Selection tools, since the toolbar may be different.

Once you access the Selection tools on your device, the workflows and tools are the same.

  • On a handheld device, in the toolbar, tap Tools icon in the mobile version of Sketchbook, then Select icon
  • On a tablet, in the toolbar, tap Select icon and select a tool from the Selection toolbar.

Many of the tools have additional options. Use any additional selection editing tools you need.

Selection toolbar with more toolbar to the right in Sketchbook for mobile

  1. Lasso selection
  2. Rectangle selection
  3. Magic Wand selection
    On a phone device, the three selection icons are grouped together. Tap the icon to select another option
  4. Selecting editing tools: replace, add, subtract, and tolerance setting for Magic Wand
  5. Nudge the active selection
  6. Invert the active selection
  7. Clear the active selection
  8. Crop the canvas to the active selection
  9. Accept the selection and minimize the sub-toolbar

Tap X to dismiss your selection and exit the tool

The selection tool isn't working

If you create a selection and the selection line immediately disappears, your selection editing tool is probably set to subtract. Change it to replace or add in order to make a selection.

selection is set to subtract

selection is set to replace