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Master the Straighten Tool

By Matt Kloskowski  ·  August 17th, 2009

Matt shows you some handy little tricks for straightening your images.


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16 Replies to Master the Straighten Tool:

  1. Allen

    June 25, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Matt: Please help! I’ve just started using Elements 8 after having used for many years version 5 (and 3 before that). Today I tried to use the straighten tool on a vertical feature in the photo (Ctl click) and what I got instead of straightening was something that moved the entire layer down, like a window shade. I could do horizontal straightening, but not vertical. Nothing like that’s ever happend to me before. Is it my Control key or what? Thanks for any help you can offer.
    PS Vertical straightening has worked for me before in Elements 8.

    • Rick

      July 22, 2010 at 9:48 am

      Try starting to draw your vertical line with the Straighten tool and then hold down the Control or Command key. When you let go of the mouse, the tool will straighten vertically.


    • Bonnie

      September 3, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      Love, Love the idea of holding the control and click to straighten a vertical lean. Only problem is mine also moved the whole picture. So I clicked and then held the control key down right away, when I was on the straightening tool, but my picture cropped all right to a very small picture. Smaller even than what place I marked to straighten. Love your videos, any idea on what I am doing wrong? I am going to try to turn off the crop photo, like you said to use just to try that next.

  2. Richard

    July 20, 2010 at 5:47 am

    Was unable to finish video. It kept freezing up on me. Tried to download and other ways to get it to play all the wat through. I could get it to restart but would freeze again. About 2/3 of the way through it would recycle back to the beginning and start over again. It was a great video, the part I was able to see but was interested in the tips toward the end which I never reached. All the other videos I tried played fine with no problem. Would like to see this ine in it’s entirety. Not sure what the problem is and thought it was on my end but since all other videos played fine, not sure now. Any help would be appreciated.


    • Robert

      April 26, 2011 at 4:20 am

      I had the same problem, but there’s a workaround I use all the time. This is using Firefox, but IE and Chrome (in the MS world at least) probably have some similar function. Mouse over the still image of the video; at the bottom of the screen it shows “”, which tells you it’s a downloadable file. Right click on the still image and choose “save link as…” and complete the download dialog. When it’s through downloading the image, click on it in your download directory to run with quicktime. When done, you can delete it. I’m sorry I can’t tell you an equivalent procedure for the Mac, as I’m unfamiliar with that OS.

  3. Duane

    July 22, 2010 at 2:31 am

    Can’t stand and handle the truth huh??? Your site re video’s is flawed and beyond your expertise apparently…too bad.

  4. Cindie

    July 22, 2010 at 6:18 am

    Thanks! I use PSE6 and the horizontal & vertical straightening worked great. I did not know about changing the canvas option to “Crop to Remove Background”. It sure shortens photo adjustments time. I did have trouble with the video until I downloaded the quick time version. That worked great. Thanks again for your informative video!

  5. Nitin

    December 30, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Very good video.
    Not only this video is explained very well but at the end there is a cool summary to reinforce our memory, too!

  6. Scott

    March 4, 2011 at 1:20 am

    This video is extremely helpful. I have been either eyeballing horizons or using grids, but this did the trick most efficiently. Thanks!

  7. Bruce

    March 11, 2011 at 7:07 am

    Fantastic tip! Thanks for posting.

  8. Irene

    May 27, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    Good video but I had a lot of trouble viewing it. It kept freezing.
    Sometimes, I can’t get a perfect result with the horizontal straightening. I have to do what I used to do with PE5: I draw an horizontal line from left to right, using the grid for guide, and it works.

  9. Richard

    May 31, 2011 at 8:38 am

    I tried this approach using PSE 9 (Mac OS X) on a tall building. It “worked” on only one side of the building, i.e., it straightened the left side, but the right side remained at an angle. Trying it on the right side caused a shifting of the entire image.


    P.S. BTW, the hint about holding down the Command key AFTER starting the click-n-drag is absolutely correct. Otherwise, the entire image moves during the click-n-drag.

  10. Richard

    June 1, 2011 at 6:53 pm


    How do I send you the image I’ve been unable to “straighten” using your instructions, please?

  11. Colin

    July 25, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks for all the video, and found out the slight change to make vertical work.

  12. Richard

    July 29, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Please provide “cheatsheet” for this video.

    • Rick LePage

      August 4, 2011 at 11:42 am

      Done, Richard. It’s listed above.


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