Slice and dice your photos by cropping them on PC or Mac

It can be frustrating when you take a photo of a precious moment only to realize it’s been ruined by a stranger looming in the background. While you can forget you ever captured the image — and risk losing the memory forever — you can also crop the stranger out of the frame. Luckily, there are tons of photo editing applications available for both desktop and mobile platforms, all of which will allow you to crop a photo with ease. Below, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to crop a photo, whether you prefer Windows, MacOS, or mobile platforms.

While you’re it, take a look at our picks for the best free photo editing software and our detailed guide on how to remove a background image.

How to crop a photo using Paint (Windows)

Microsoft Paint isn’t exactly the most robust piece of image editing software. Even the new version in the Windows 10 Creators Update, which packs plenty of useful features, leaves much to be desired.

Still, the software has come pre-installed on all Windows machines since the company released Windows 1.0 in 1985. It’s not laden with advanced tools or impressive capabilities, but it does provide a proficient cropping tool for making simple edits.

how to crop a photo Elephants in Paint

Step 1: Open the Paint application and use File > Open to open the image you want to edit. While viewing the image within the Home tab, click the Select button and drag the tool to encompass the portion of the image you wish to crop.

how to crop a photo making a selection in Paint

Step 2: Once you’re satisfied with your selection, click the Crop button directly right of Select.

how to crop a photo cropping in Paint

How to crop a photo using Snipping Tool or Snip & Sketch (Windows)

Windows 10 includes other built-in tools that allow users to easily crop photos and other images by just clicking and dragging. Aptly referred to as the Snipping Tool, this simple utility can be found by clicking on the Windows Search Bar, entering “Snipping Tool,” and selecting the first result. While this tool will be replaced by Snip & Sketch in future updates, it remains an easy way to crop and save images with no editing skills required.

Image of Windows 10 Snipping Tool
Daniel Martin/Screenshot

Select the New Snip button in the upper-left — resembles a pair of scissors with colored circles behind it. Your mouse icon will turn into crosshairs. Simply click and drag the crosshairs to select the area of the photo you’d like to crop and release the mouse to create a new snip.

You can then use Snipping Tool’s pen, highlighter, and eraser tools to modify the cropped image, and you can save, copy, and share the image as needed. For those with more advanced image editing needs, the multicolored Teardrop Logo lets users open their snips in Paint 3D.

Image of Windows 10 New Snip
Daniel Martin/Screenshot

Snip & Sketch is the updated version that will be replacing the Snipping Tool, but it’s also currently available on Windows 10. The functions of Snip & Sketch are more or less the same as the Snipping Tool, but there are a few key differences. Snip & Sketch can capture hard-to-get screenshots that can’t be captured with the Snipping tools, like program menu options or icon directions that only appear when the mouse is hovering.

To activate Snip & Sketch, press the Windows Key + Shift Key + S Key to create rectangular snips, freeform snips, window snips, and full-screen snips by clicking and dragging the mouse. Once snipped, users can use the pen, highlighter, and eraser tools as well as the pencil, touch writing, image crop, and ruler.

Image of Windows 10 Snip & Sketch
Daniel Martin/Screenshot

How to crop a photo using Photos (MacOS)

Photos is a photo management and editing app exclusive to Apple’s MacOS, one that works similarly to the now-defunct iPhoto. Like Preview and Photo Booth, the minimalist image software comes pre-installed in the latest iterations of MacOS, meaning anyone with a machine running MacOS Yosemite or later has access to the app. Using the aptly titled Photos, you can easily group photos into albums, tag them, categorize them, and crop them.

Step 1: Open the picture you wish to edit in Photos. Click the Edit Photo button in the upper-right corner (you may be prompted to add the image to your library at this point). You’ll now get three buttons at the top of the app: Adjust, Filters, and Crop.

Crop a picture in Photos on a Mac

Step 2: Click Crop at the top of the app. If desired, click Aspect to choose an aspect ratio for the resulting crop. Otherwise, manually adjust the rectangle to fit the portion of the image you wish to crop.

Crop a picture in Photos on a Mac

Step 3: Click the yellow Done button in the upper-right corner once you’re satisfied with your selection. 

How to crop a photo using Photoshop (Windows/MacOS)

Though Photoshop isn’t necessary if you merely need to crop an image, it remains the most well-known piece of photo editing software. Though the premium software is expensive, you can always opt for the free trial if you’d like to test out its remarkable capabilities. When it comes to cropping, Photoshop lets you do it in just a couple of steps.

Step 1: Open the picture you want to edit in Photoshop. Next, select the Crop Tool from the left toolbar. It resembles a square with several lines protruding from two of the corners. Adjust your selection to capture the portion of the image you wish to keep.

how to crop a photo cropping in Photoshop

Step 2: Once you’re satisfied with your selection, click the Check Mark at the top of the window. It should be located on the right side of the Crop tool menu.

how to crop a photo crop photo in Photoshop

Pixlr is a capable mobile and web editor, one suited for cropping images within your browser window or on your smartphone. The freemium software requires you to do little more than upload an image or enter a URL for a photo before cropping the image, and like Fotor, the process for doing so is nearly the same across platforms.

Step 1: If you’re using the web-based software, navigate to the main Pixlr website. Select either the Advanced Pixlr Ed option or the Playful Pixlr X. Note that you’ll need to enable Adobe Flash in your browser if your current settings block it. Either image editor works efficiently, but the advanced option offers more tools and features for image editing. To start editing, select the Open Image button near the top of the window. Then, you can choose the photo you wish to crop from its location.

Image of Pixlr Open Image Button
Daniel Martin/Screenshot

Step 2: Click the Crop Icon located in the upper-left corner of the toolbar. It looks like a square with lines protruding from the edges. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut C to enter crop mode.

Image of Pixlr Crop Button
Daniel Martin/Screenshot

Step 3:  You can then set the exact proportions you want for the image with additional features like free size, fixed aspect ratio, and pixel by pixel—Click Apply to save your changes once you’re pleased with the result. From there, you’ll want to download the image. 

Instead of using a simple cropping tool that allows you to crop and download an image, use one of the above tools so you can do so much more than that. Cropping, editing, and retouching images is simple when you use one of these comprehensive photo editors.

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