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I can't select individual points on a shape layer in Photoshop CC

Community Beginner ,
Apr 16, 2015 Apr 16, 2015

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When I have a shape layer selected as my current layer and switch to the path or direct selection tools, I am unable to select individual points. Is there a difference between a Live Shape and a path shape? I have accidentally had an alert pop up asking if I am ok with a Live Shape converting to a path but I am unable to recreate it on purpose.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 16, 2015 Apr 16, 2015

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It's a bit of a black art when you start:

  1. Lets say you have created a live shape layer, or a work path — the process is the same either way.
  2. Hit the 'a' key to select the Path selection tool (black arrow) or Direct selection tool (white arrow).
  3. If you have the black arrow, and click on your shape/path and move the cursor, the entire thing moves and you start to get annoyed.  Everyone has done this 😉
  4. Hold down the Ctrl (Cmd) key, and the black arrow will change to the more useful white arrow. Click outside the shape/path to unselect everything.  Now drag a widow over a small area, and just that point will be selected. You can now drag that point.

To give yourself more control, select the Pen tool.  You can switch to the white arrow at any time using the Ctrl (Cmd) key.  If you select a single point, and want to change it from a curve to corner point, hold down the Alt (Opt) key and click it.  If going from corner to curve, hold down the Alt (opt) key, and click and drag.

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 17, 2015 Apr 17, 2015

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Thanks,  Trevor.Dennis. That is how it worked in CS6 but now in CC for some reason I am unable to select a shape with neither direct selection or the path selection tool. It simply does not show the anchor points. I am not sure if it is a bug or what. Is there an method to convert live shapes to normal shapes as Silkrooster‌ suggested?

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LEGEND ,
Apr 17, 2015 Apr 17, 2015

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There is no method. Take a look at the points and see if the are all solid or hollow. If they are all solid try clicking off the object to deselect it they try and select a point.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 17, 2015 Apr 17, 2015

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asmcleod wrote:

Thanks,  Trevor.Dennis. That is how it worked in CS6 but now in CC for some reason I am unable to select a shape with neither direct selection or the path selection tool. It simply does not show the anchor points. I am not sure if it is a bug or what. Is there an method to convert live shapes to normal shapes as Silkrooster suggested?

You don't need to.  Do what Bruce said in post #5, and what I said in the 4th point in post #1.  Click outside the Shape to deselect, and with the white arrow, drag over the point you want to move.  If it is a Live Shape, as soon as you move any point it will become a normal shape, and if the Live Shape Properties panel was open, it will close.

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 17, 2015 Apr 17, 2015

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That is the weird thing. The points don't appear. It is definitely a shape layer, but the direct/path selection arrows don't cause the anchor points to appear at all. That is why I am thinking it is some sort of bug.

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LEGEND ,
Apr 17, 2015 Apr 17, 2015

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Maybe you have another issue. The pointer arrow is it black or white?

Could the layer be locked?

Could you capture your entire screen with the layers panel open and expand any collapsed layers.

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LEGEND ,
Apr 16, 2015 Apr 16, 2015

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When you edit a live shape, it must be converted to a normal shape object. The only way to select points is to use the direct selection tool.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 16, 2015 Apr 16, 2015

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Silkrooster wrote:

When you edit a live shape, it must be converted to a normal shape object. The only way to select points is to use the direct selection tool.

Yes, but as soon as you select and move a point, it becomes a normal shape object. That is unless you can avoid skewing the shape, in which case the Live Shape properties panel will still be visible.

So if you make a rectangle with rounded corners, and use the Direct selection tool to drag over all four upper points, and drag them perfectly up or down without any side movement, the object remains a Live Shape.

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Enthusiast ,
May 11, 2018 May 11, 2018

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Screen Shot 2018-05-11 at 3.16.24 PM.png

I think I figured it out through trial & error:  to select only 1 node of a line (a line being 'node-line-node'), you have to dig deep into the hierarchy, and select 'Path 1' as an example - that allows easy node moving - now I can make lines any length and join them visually.

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LEGEND ,
May 11, 2018 May 11, 2018

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That image looks more like After Effects than Photoshop. That could cause the confusion.

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New Here ,
Feb 01, 2019 Feb 01, 2019

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I had the same problem in Illustrator CC: went to View/Show Edges. that displays the individual points.

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Explorer ,
Jan 24, 2020 Jan 24, 2020

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I have the same issue, in 2020. Sometimes a shape layer simply does not allow one to select the anchor points - it's the craziest thing - it simply does not repsond to being clicked with the direct selection tool, white or black. What I've found works - facepalm - is to close the document, open it again, click on the layer and then suddenly the path and anchor points are available again.

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New Here ,
Jun 18, 2020 Jun 18, 2020

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This is a stupid bug by Adobe. They keep screwing with their own products despite the fact they are bloodsucking their users with a super expensive suscription plan.

 

SOLUTION: Select the pen tool and click the path (it will create a new node, but just delete or undo), then select the white arrow again and you'll be able to select the nodes.

 

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New Here ,
Oct 21, 2022 Oct 21, 2022

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LATEST

This is definitely a bug.

I'm encountering the same issue in Photoshop CC, in a document that was functioning fine for the last 5 days (using lots of shapes, and manipulating all the individual points)... then, suddenly, the same issue with having unselectable points.

The "fix" in my case: zoom out, reorient document direction... points and selectability returns.

This is a very inconvenient bug, considering the ability to rotate the canvas and zoom in/out is critical for me to get the shapes correctly arranged.

There may be other "fixes" to the same issue — but if canvas orientation is messing with this function, then it's not on the User to troubleshoot.

Frustrating time suck, which is burning income when you're on the clock.

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