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How to Flip a Selection in Photoshop

Published: 20/05/2021

Photoshop allows image manipulation through various features, which lets us unleash our creativity for enhancing an image. Among the software’s countless features is the ability to modify selections in your photos. Especially if you know how to flip a selection in Photoshop, you will be able to create appealing visuals very easily.

How to Flip a Selection in Photoshop 

Flipping a selection generates its mirror view, a process that is used for both creative and corrective purposes in image processing and graphic design. In Photoshop, creating a selection and then flipping it is a very straightforward process.

Depending upon the precision required for selection, it is a quick procedure involving accessible menu commands or keyboard shortcuts.

You can flip a selection vertically and horizontally in Photoshop. We will walk you through the process of flipping selections and why this feature is used in image manipulation. 

Making a Selection

  1. Open an image in Photoshop CC.
  2. Create a duplicate layer of the background by selecting it in the layer panel and right clicking on it. Choose Duplicate Layer from the drop down, or press CTRL + J (Windows) or CMD + J (Mac).
  3. There is no shortage of tools when it comes to making a selection in Photoshop. Make a selection around a specific element using any of the selection tools available.
  4. For rectangular selection, you can use the Marquee tool.
  5. For free form selection, you can use the Lasso tool, the Polygonal Lasso tool, or the Magnetic Lasso tool.
  6. If your selection is based on color range, you can use the Magic Wand tool.
  7. For selections with clearly defined edges, you can use the Quick Selection tool.
  8. You can also use the crop tool or the eyedropper tool for selection. Or, use the Pen tool for highly precise selection.

Flip Selection Horizontally

  1. When you are done with the selection, you need to turn your selection into Transform mode to modify it. 
  2. Go to the Edit menu on top, and go to Transform.
Transform option in Photoshop
  1. Click on Flip Horizontal from the extended menu.
  2. Alternatively, you can right click on the image and click on Flip Horizontal.
Flip Horizontal option in Photoshop
  1. The elements of your selection will be flipped horizontally. 

Flip Selection Vertically

  1. After selecting a specific area in your image, go to the Edit menu, and choose Transform.
  2. From the extended menu in the transform commands, click on Flip Vertical.

Besides flipping a selection both ways, there are other ways to modify your selection. You can rotate or inverse the selection to transform your image in various creative ways.

Rotate Selection

  1. Select a section of your image using any of the selection tools in the toolbar.
  2. Go to Select and choose Transform Selection.
  3. Rotate your selection using the cursor. You can move it around the selection to rotate.
  4. Or, you can choose the Rotation options by right clicking on the selection.

Inverse Selection

Inverting a selection is a very useful feature in Photoshop. You can use it to select deselected areas that seem challenging to select. Or, if you make a selection based on luminosity through the channels, inversing the selection will choose the dark regions instead.

  1. Make a selection in your image using either of the selection tools.
  2. Use the keyboard shortcut for inverse selection that is CTRL + SHIFT + I on Windows or CMD + SHIFT + I on Mac.
  3. Alternatively, go to the Select menu on top, and click on Inverse.
  4. You can also right click on the selection in the document area and click on Select Inverse.
  5. The action would deselect the selection that you made and select the rest of the area instead.

Creative Reasons For Flipped Selections

Now that you know how to flip, rotate, or inverse a selection, you must be wondering when to use these features. There are multiple reasons where transforming the selection is needed in image processing. 

Flipping Selection in Real Estate Photos

In architectural and interior views of real estate, photographers frequently use the flipping technique for marketing purposes. Flipping an element may show a more appealing view, which increases buyer’s interest.

Many properties are photographed in a way that their reflection in the adjoining water body (pool, riverside) is shown rather than the actual view. You can transform such images using Photoshop by using the option to flip the selection.

Flipping Selection to Correct Views

Often we see images with a logo or text flipped. To rectify this issue, the area which is shown tossed can be easily converted into the correct view using Photoshop. Just select the text or logo that is inverted, and flip it horizontally to get the proper perspective.

Flipping Selection for Kaleidoscopic Images

To create strikingly appealing kaleidoscopic views, the flip selection feature can be used. The easiest way to do it is to make a copy of the selection and paste it beside the original. Flip the copied selection horizontally and merge the layers.

After that, select both the views and make a copy once again. Paste the copy under the mirrored view and flip it vertically. Merge this selection with the previous one. In this way, you will get four adjoining selections making up a kaleidoscope.

Flipping Selection for Mirroring 

Correction, If the text is on an editable layer don’t select the text, just make the text layer active by highlighting it in the layers palette. You will then be able to apply Edit>Transform>Flip horizontal to reverse the text.

Mirrored Images

Mirrored images merged with the original view is a frequently used technique in creative advertising. It gives viewers a dramatic view that fascinates the onlookers. Mirrored visuals in Photoshop are created by joining the image side by side and then flipping one of them horizontally. 

Flipping Selection to Create Symmetrical Elements in Graphics

The feature to flip a selection can be used to create logos, icons, and graphic elements that require symmetrical aspects. All you need to do is create designs on one side and make a copy of these selections to flip horizontally and vertically. In the end, place it on the adjacent side of the logo. 

Inverse Selection for Choosing Deselected Areas of the Image

Besides flipping, the inverse selection option is also very useful for creating captivating visuals and editing them easily. If there are areas in your image that you need to work upon, but they are difficult to be selected with a tool, you can use the inverse selection option. 

This will select the areas outside the actual selection, making it easier for you to process that section precisely.


The flexibility to flip photos both vertically and horizontally gives Photoshop users an increased level of creativity. You can quickly make interesting graphics and add an interesting twist to your photos using the flip feature. Besides, you can also make corrections to any images that show unreadable text or any other element due to being flipped.