Finding Hidden Transform Handles in Photoshop

When you drag a large image onto a smaller one in Photoshop, often you will need to make the larger photograph smaller. To resize the large photograph, you can use the Edit > Free Transform option. However when you choose Free Transform in a situation like this, the corner handles you need to drag to resize will be out of reach. Here’s how to quickly find those handles.

First, just so you can see what I’m talking about, let’s set up the situation.

1. Create a new document with a size of 500 x 500 pixels and a resolution of 72 ppi.

2. Open a photograph or image that’s larger than this. (most high-resolution stock photography will be larger than this and certainly any photograph from a modern digital camera will be larger than this). Note that in the image below, the illustration of the girl LOOKS smaller than the blank image, BUT I was viewing the illustration at 50%.

3. Using the Move tool, click and drag the large image onto the 500 x 500 pixel image. You’ll see that the larger photo will extend off the edges of the document you dragged it onto.

4. To scale the image down, you can use Edit > Free Transform (or hit Ctrl + T/ Cmd + T for Mac). Unfortunately because the image is so large the resizing handles are not visible. You should be able to see crosshairs indicating the centre of the image but not the handles.

5. While the Free Transform is active, hit Control + 0 (zero) on the PC or Cmd + 0 (zero) on the keyboard. Hey Presto, Photoshop will change the view of the document window so that you can see the handles.

6. Resize the image by dragging the handles. Remember, hold down Shift while dragging the corner handles to ensure the proportions are constrained.


  1. rachel says:

    This is PERFECT. Thank you so much for this tip. I am frustrated with this problem on a daily basis. I can’t believe I never knew this!

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