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Making a Rounded Rectangle in Photoshop Elements

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In this digital scrapbooking tutorial, you will learn how to use the rounded rectangle in Photoshop Elements. We are going to explore several useful features of this handy tool.  (I am using Photoshop Elements 11 (PSE11) on an Apple iMac. Your tool bar may look slightly different, if you are using a different version.) For this tutorial, I am using the Mystery of Love kit by PrelestnayaP Design.

Mystery of Love kit by PrelestnayaP

Step 1: Find Your Tool Bar

In Photoshop Elements, your tool bar will usually be on the left-hand side of your screen. (It can be moved to another location, but that is a different lesson!) Within the DRAW panel, you will see a blue shape. In this case it is a funny blob, but the icon will be whatever shape is currently selected. Click on the shape to select it.

Custom Shape option in PSE11

Step 2: Select the Rounded Rectangle

Choose TOOL OPTIONS from your menu. In PSE11, this menu is generally at the bottom of the screen. In older versions of Photoshop Elements, it will be at the top. Then click on the Rounded Rectangle. This will bring up  your options for the rectangle you want to draw. Let’s explore them all.


 Step 3: Choose Your Radius

This is where you make your rounded corners. You can enter any number of pixels in this box. Popular corner shapes are 45, 90 and 120. I will show you examples of each.


Step 4: Choose the Shape Color

You can use any color for your rectangle. The default color will be your foreground swatch chosen in the tool bar. If you want to change that, click on the colored box. You will see something like this:


Now, you can choose a color swatch or if you want something else, click on the little round circle in the bottom right of the color menu.

Step 5: Choose Your Style Options

You can add a style effect directly to your shape in this menu. You can choose a drop shadow, a bevel or any other style that you have loaded. If you don’t choose a style here, you can always add that later. I’ve chosen to add a drop shadow.


Step 6: Choose Your Geometry Options

If you leave your rectangle unconstrained, you can draw it to any size. However, if you want to be certain that your rectangle is a certain size, select this menu. Here you can select either SQUARE, FIXED SIZE, or PROPORTIONAL. If you choose a fixed size, you need to enter the width and height in the boxes.  This is a great way to be sure that multiple rectangles are the same size. In this menu, you can also choose to draw your rectangle from a center point or have it snap to your grid.

Rectangle options in PSE

Step 7: Draw Your Shape

If you choose an unconstrained rectangle, you need to click and drag to make the size you desire. If you choose FIXED SIZE, when you click on the layout, you get a rectangle shape with the upper left corner where you clicked. If you choose FROM CENTER, it would be centered around the point you click.  Each rectangle you draw will create a new layer on your page. Here you can see three different corner sizes.


Step 8: Draw a Complex Shape

To this point, we have just created a simple rectangle. The final menu section allows you to create complex shapes by adding, subtracting, intersecting or excluding an area of your rectangles. I will show you one example of how this can be used. First, make a simple rectangle.


Then click on the third icon, SUBTRACT. Draw another, slightly smaller, rectangle over the first. This subtracts the second rectangle from the first. You just made a frame!


In this tutorial, I showed you how to use all of the options for making a Rounded Rectangle in Photoshop Elements. If you have questions about this tutorial or would like to request a tutorial, please visit and post to the Tutorial Help & Requests Forum.

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