How to round corners in Photoshop tutorial

How to Round Corners in Photoshop

Learn how to give your photo rounded corners in Photoshop with this easy step-by-step tutorial. Now updated for Photoshop 2024.

Written by Steve Patterson.

In this tutorial, I show you the best way to add rounded corners to your photo with Photoshop. I also show you how to add a border to your photo after rounding the corners. And at the end, I cover the most important step which is how to save the result with the transparency in the corners still intact.

Here’s an example of what the final rounded corners effect will look like when we’re done. I’ve placed the photo on a black background just to make the corners easier to see. The final result will have transparent corners so you can use any background you like.

Rounded photo corners created in Photoshop
The rounded photo corners effect.

Which Photoshop version do I need?

I’m using Photoshop 2024. You’ll need a recent version of Photoshop to follow along.

For older Photoshop versions, check out my original Rounded Corners tutorial.

The document setup

I’ll use this photo from Adobe Stock but you can easily follow along with your own image.

The original photo.
The original photo.

Let's get started!

Download this tutorial as a print-ready PDF!

Step 1: Unlock the Background layer

With your image open in Photoshop, start by going to the Layers panel where the image is on the Background layer.

Click the layer’s lock icon to unlock it. Photoshop will rename the layer to Layer 0 and the lock icon will disappear.

Unlocking the Background layer.
Unlocking the Background layer.

Video: How to round corners in Photoshop

Step 2: Select the Rectangle Tool

In the toolbar, select the Rectangle Tool.

If another shape tool is visible, click and hold on its icon and choose the Rectangle Tool from the list.

Selecting the Rectangle Tool from the toolbar in Photoshop
Selecting the Rectangle Tool.

Step 3: Set the shape options

In the Options Bar, click the Stroke Color swatch.

The Stroke Color swatch in the Options Bar in Photoshop
The Stroke Color swatch.

Set the color to None which turns the stroke off.

Then press Enter (Return on a Mac) to close the color options.

The None option for the stroke color.
The None option for the stroke color.

To the left of the stroke color is the Fill Color swatch.

Any color for the shape will work, so I’ll leave mine set to black (the default shape color).

The Fill Color swatch for the Rectangle Tool in Photoshop
The Fill Color swatch.

Also in the Options Bar is the Corner Radius option where we can enter a size for the corners before drawing the shape.

Leave it at 0 for now because we’ll round the corners after the shape is drawn.

The Corner Radius option for the Rectangle Tool in Photoshop
The Corner Radius option.

Step 4: Draw a rectangle shape

Click and hold in the document and drag out your shape. Don’t worry about the shape’s size or location because we’ll resize it next.

Drawing the initial shape.
Drawing the initial shape.

In the Layers panel, the shape appears on its own shape layer above the image.

The new shape layer in the Layers panel.
The new shape layer.

Step 5: Center and resize the shape

Before resizing the shape, let’s center the shape on the canvas.

In the Options Bar, click the Path Alignment icon.

The Path Alignment icon in the Options Bar.
The Path Alignment icon.

Change the Align To option from Selection to Canvas.

The Align To option set to Canvas.
The Align To option set to Canvas.

Click the Align Horizontal Centers and Align Vertical Centers icons.

Then click anywhere in the Options Bar to close the box.

The Align Horizontal Centers and Align Vertical Centers icons.
The Align Horizontal Centers and Align Vertical Centers icons.

Now that the shape is centered, you can resize it from its center by holding the Alt key on a Windows PC, or the Option key on a Mac, and dragging any of the transform handles.

Resizing the shape from its center.
Resizing the shape from its center.

Step 6: Round the corners of the shape

Notice the small circle in each corner of the shape. These are the Corner Radius controls.

The Corner Radius control in the upper left corner of the shape
The Corner Radius control in the upper left corner of the shape.

To round the corners, simply drag one of the circles.

Dragging the circle to round the corner.
Dragging the circle to round the corner.

All four corners of the shape are rounded together by the same amount.

Dragging the circle to round the corner.
Dragging a circle rounds all corners at once.

Rounding corners from the Properties panel

Another way to round the corners is in the Properties panel. This second way is useful when you know the exact radius value you need.

In the Properties panel, go to the Corner Radius options. You may need to scroll down to find them.

Here you can enter values for the corner in the upper left, upper right, bottom right and bottom left of the shape.

The Corner Radius options in the Properties panel.
The Corner Radius options in the Properties panel.

To set the radius for all four corners at once, first make sure the link icon is selected.

The link icon.
The link icon.

Then enter a value into any of the boxes. I’ll enter 800 px for the upper left corner.

Entering a radius value for one of the corners.
Entering a radius value for one of the corners.

Press Enter (Return on a Mac) to accept it and set all four corners to that value.

All four corners now share the same radius value.
All four corners now share the same radius value.

How to round a corner separately from the others

Along with rounding all four corners together, you can round the corners individually.

The easiest way is by holding the Alt key on a Windows PC, or the Option key on a Mac, and then dragging the circle for the corner you want to adjust.

So if I want the corner in the upper right to be sharp while the others remain rounded, I can hold Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) and then drag its circle back to its original location.

Rounding a corner of the shape separately from the others.
Hold Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) to drag a circle without affecting the others.

And now I have one sharp corner (in the upper right) and three rounded corners.

The result after adjusting one corner separately.
The result after adjusting one corner separately.

Another way to adjust a corner separately is from the Corner Radius options in the Properties panel.

First unlink the corners by deselecting the link icon.

Unlinking the corners.
Unlinking the corners.

Then enter a radius value for the corner. So if I want the bottom left corner to also be sharp, I can enter a value of 0 px.

Press Enter (Return on a Mac) to accept it.

Setting the bottom left radius to 0.
Setting the bottom left radius to 0.

We now have two rounded corners and two sharp corners.

Setting the bottom left radius to 0.
The result after adjusting the bottom left corner separately.

But notice that if I now drag a circle (without holding Alt or Option) to adjust all four corners together, the corners in the top right and bottom left remain less rounded than the others.

The corners are rounding by different amounts.
The corners are rounding by different amounts.

Resetting the corners

I’ll drag the circles back up into the corners to reset them so they are all once again sharp.

Dragging the circles to sharpen the corners.
Dragging the circles to sharpen the corners.

Then I’ll drag one of the circles to round them all by the same amount, which is usually what you want.

Rounding all four corners together.
Rounding all four corners together.

Download this tutorial as a print-ready PDF!

Step 7: Create a clipping mask

Now that we’ve rounded the corners of the shape, we need to move the image into the shape. To do that, we’ll use a clipping mask.

In the Layers panel, drag the image layer above the shape layer.

Dragging the image above the shape layer in the Layers panel
Dragging the image above the shape layer.

Then with the image layer active, click the Layers panel menu icon.

The Layers panel menu icon.
Clicking the menu icon.

Choose Create Clipping Mask.

Choosing the Create Clipping Mask command in Photoshop.
The Create Clipping Mask command.

This places the photo inside the shape, making it look like the photo itself has rounded corners.

And everything outside the shape is now transparent, indicated by the checkerboard pattern.

The photo now has rounded corners.
The photo now has rounded corners.

Step 8: Make final adjustments to the corners

You can still adjust the corners if you need to, even with the image inside the shape.

Just reselect the shape layer in the Layers panel.

Selecting the shape layer.
Selecting the shape layer.

As long as you still have the Rectangle Tool (or any shape tool) selected in the toolbar, the circles in the corners will reappear.

Drag a circle to adjust the roundness until you’re happy with the results.

The Corner Radius circles reappear when the shape layer is selected.
The Corner Radius circles reappear when the shape layer is selected.

To view your image without the shape controls in the way, select the image layer in the Layers panel.

And to bring the controls back, select the shape layer.

Switch between the shape and image layers to show and hide the shape controls.
Switch between the shape and image layers to show and hide the shape controls.

Step 9: Trim away the transparent areas

Before we go any further, let’s trim away the transparent areas around the image that we don’t need, since all we really need is the transparency in the corners.

Go up to the Image menu and choose Trim.

Selecting the Trim command from the Image menu in Photoshop
Going to Image > Trim.

In the Trim dialog box, select Transparent Pixels at the top, and make sure Top, Bottom, Left and Right are all selected at the bottom.

Then click OK.

The Trim dialog box in Photoshop
The Trim options.

Photoshop trims away all of the transparency except for what remains in the corners.

The result after trimming away most of the transparency.
The result after trimming away most of the transparency.

Step 10: Add a border around the photo (optional)

If you want to add a border around the photo, make sure the shape layer in the Layers panel is selected.

Selecting the shape layer.
Selecting the shape layer.

Click the layer effects (fx) icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.

The layer effects icon.
The layer effects icon.

Choose Stroke from the list.

Adding a Stroke layer effect to the shape.
Adding a Stroke layer effect to the shape.

In the Layer Style dialog box, click the color swatch to choose a color for the stroke.

The stroke color swatch.
The stroke color swatch.

Then choose a color from the Color Picker. I’ll choose white (with the R, G and B values to 255).

Click OK to close the Color Picker when you’re done.

Choosing white from the Color Picker.
Choosing white from the Color Picker.

Back in the Layer Style dialog box, make sure the stroke Position is set to Inside.

Then drag the Size slider to set the width of the stroke. The size you need will depend on the size of your image.

Click OK to close the Layer Style dialog box when you’re done.

The stroke Position and Size options.
The stroke Position and Size options.

Here’s my image with the stroke (the border) added.

The border added around the image.
The border added around the image.

Step 11: Save the image

Finally, to save the image and keep the corners rounded, we need to save it in a format that supports transparency. JPEG won’t work. Instead, we need to save it as a PNG.

Go up to the File menu and choose Save a Copy (not Save As).

Going to File > Save a Copy.
Going to File > Save a Copy.

In the Save a Copy dialog box:

  • Navigate to where you want to save the file on your computer.
  • Change the file type to PNG.
  • Give the file a name. I’ll name it “rounded-corners”.
  • Click Save.
Saving the file as a PNG.
Saving the file as a PNG.

In the PNG Format Options, choose the Smallest file size and click OK.

Your image is now saved with the rounded corners.

The PNG Format Options.
The PNG Format Options.

And there we have it! That’s how to round the corners of your image with Photoshop.

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