Fuzzy selection (Magic wand)
Magic Wand tool icon in the Toolbox
The Fuzzy Select (Magic Wand) tool is designed to select areas of the
current layer or image based on color similarity.
When using this tool, it is very important to pick the right starting
point. If you select the wrong spot, you might get something very
different from what you want, or even the opposite.
The Wand is a good tool for selecting objects with sharp edges. It is fun
to use, so beginners often start out using it a lot. You will probably
find, however, that the more you use it, the more frustrated you become
with the difficulty of selecting exactly what you want, no more, no less.
More experienced users find that the
tools are often more efficient, and use the Wand less. Still, it is useful
for selecting an area within a contour, or touching up imperfect
selections. It often works very well for selecting a solid-colored (or nearly
solid-colored) background area.
Note that as the selected area expands outward from the center, it does
not only propagate to pixels that touch each other: it is capable of
jumping over small gaps, depending on Threshold option.
To increase/decrease Threshold, during the use of Fuzzy Selection, after the
first button-press, dragging the pointer downward (or to the right) or
upward (or to the left).
Activating the tool
You can access to the Magic Wand Tool in different ways:
Key modifiers (Defaults)
The Fuzzy Select tool does not have any special key modifiers, only the
ones that affect all selection tools in the same way. See
Section 2.1, “Common Features” for help with these.
Using Magic Wand tool: selected pixels are contiguous
It starts selecting when you click at a spot in the image, and expands
outwards like water flooding low-lying areas, selecting contiguous
pixels whose colors are similar to the starting pixel. You can control
the threshold of similarity by dragging the mouse downward or to the
right: the farther you drag it, the larger you get the selected region.
And you can reduce the selection by dragging upwards or to the left.
To move the selection see
Tool Options for the Magic Wand tool
Normally, tool options are displayed in a window attached under the
Toolbox as soon as you activate a tool. If they are not, you can access
them from the image menu bar through
→ → which opens the option window of the selected tool.
See Selection Tools
for help with options that are common to all these tools. Only
options that are specific to this tool are explained here.
Mode; Antialiasing; Feather edges
Common select options.
Finding Similar Colors
These options affect the way the Magic Wand expands the selection
out from the initial point.
Select Transparent Areas
This option gives the Magic Wand the ability to select areas
that are completely transparent. If this option is not
checked, transparent areas will never be included in the
This option becomes relevant when you have several layers in
your image, and the active layer is either semi-transparent
or is set to another Layer Mode than Normal. If this is the
case, the colors present in the layer will be different from
the colors in the composite image. If the
option is unchecked, the wand will only react to the color
in the active layer when it creates a selection. If it is
checked it will react to the composite color of all visible
layers. For further information, see the glossary entry
This slider determines the range of colors that will be
selected at the moment you click the pointer on the initial
point, before dragging it: the higher the threshold, the
larger the resulting selection. After the first
button-press, dragging the pointer downward or to the right
will increase the size of the selection; dragging upward or
to the left will decrease it. Thus, you have the same set of
possibilities regardless of the Threshold setting: what
differs is the amount of dragging you have to do to get the
result you want.
With this option you can choose which component of the image
GIMP shall use to calculate the similarity.
The components you can choose from are