Crop tool changes to be able to draw box

I would love a crop tool that allows me to simply click on the photo and drag a box to any size and shape I want (see Picasa!) or at least for the tool to be set to always start in “unconstrained” mode. I get quite tired of always having to change the setting from “keep aspect ratio” to unconstrained every time I use the crop tool.
I would also like the option to create “custom” crop sizes–like square or the correct sizes used for social media uploads. (Again: see Picasa.)

If the crop tool was set to start at “unconstraint” mode, maybe other people would get quite tired of always having to change this setting to “keep aspect ratio”.
There should be a) the possibility to set the mode (in Preferences) to what one needs, and b) - as you propose - the option to create custom crop sizes (these being saved within the list of ratios).


Yes, I did mean that we would be able to choose (set in preferences) that the crop tool would start in unconstrained mode. Thanks for clarifying.
I would rather just be able to click and draw a box of the size and shape I want, as first option.

You already can set the default crop mode to what you need. Do it for one image, save the settings as a preset, and set the preferences to apply that preset to your images when you load them into PhotoLab.

You can also draw a crop box. Turn on the crop tool above the image viewer and draw.

And you can type in a crop ratio, according to the user guide. Perhaps this, too, can be saved to a preset.

Try pressing the Shift key before drawing the box.

The Mac version toggles between constrained and unconstrained each time you do this, but you might need to experiment with which modifier key does it for Windows

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Preset: Maybe could work, but does not accomplish my goal of easier manual cropping. Point is–I do not want to have to drag all four corners or sides to get the size I want.

“You can also draw a crop box. Turn on the crop tool above the image viewer and draw.”

That only works on images that have already been cropped. Does not work on images that have not been previously cropped. From the page link you included: “To adjust a crop, you can also click on the Crop tool button. Once you have enabled the crop tool, select a point in the image, hold down the left mouse button, and drag to create a crop box. This will appear as a black rectangular frame within the image.”

You said" And you can type in a crop ratio, according to the user guide. Perhaps this, too, can be saved to a preset."

I would have to have a number of presets–if that would even work. And would not solve the issue for most crops I want to perform.

I just want to be able to click and draw the size and shape of crop box I want. No having to drag all the sides/corners of the box to get to what I want. See Picasa. See FastStone Image Viewer. And probably other photo programs, too.

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Thanks. No effect in Windows. :frowning:

Actually, it does work. I admit it’s confusing - but what you need to do is start with the Crop palette control off, not on - but with the ratio set to unconstrained. If that’s your preset starting point, then all you have to do is click on the Crop tool above the viewer and you can immediately draw your box. Does that meet your needs?

PhotoLab lets you start with either “No Corrections” or with a preset. The default preset is DxO Standard, which enables the Crop control palette and turns on preservation of the image’s original aspect ratio. You’re not limited to this. You can create as many presets as you need, set one as your default starting point, and switch to another by simply clicking on the “Apply preset” button in the upper right corner.

On Win version the CTRL key is used to switch between constrained and unconstrained.
However as soon as the key is released, the unconstrained function remains and the CTRL key no longer works.

In the Windows version it works as follows … assuming we start in crop mode as “Preserve Aspect ratio”;

  • Move the crop handles, and the image will resize while maintaining current aspect ratio.

  • Hold down the Ctrl-key (Shift-key on Mac) whilst moving the crop handles and the mode will switch, permanently, to Unconstrained … One can now change the crop to any free-form size.

  • Hold down the Shift-key (I’m not sure if there is a Mac equivalent for this) and the mode will toggle, temporarily, to “Preserve Aspect Ratio” mode … Keep holding the Shift-key whilst moving the crop handles to maintain this constrained mode - release Shift to revert to unconstrained.

Regards, John M

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It also create a new (temporary) constrained ratio right ?

Thanks. That does work!

And it is confusing. I have actually only used the crop tool on the top of the window. I did not realize that the Crop function was ON in the Essential Tools palette or that it is part of the DxO Standard “preset” when set in Preferences.
Correct me if I am missing something: Can I use the DxO Standard preset as a “base” to create another Preference to be applied when opening a photo. Or do I need to apply a different preset after opening the photo that will turn off the crop function. (I want to keep some of the other functions in that Preference.) I really have not used to the Preset function at all to this point.
I definitely need to do some more playing.
OK. I can save it and set it as my choice in Preferences. Thanks for the tip!

Update. Well, sort of works. Preset still wants to turn the crop function on even though I create the preset with the crop function off. Still fiddling to see if I can figure it out.

Ok. After a few tries, I got it to work!
Thanks everyone!

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If you are saying you want drag an arbitrary crop to be the default behavior, I have been doing that at least since since dxo optics pro 7. Just make that change in the preset specified in “presets to be applied to new images” in preferences. If you are using the DXO standard profile you can’t edit that, but you can copy, rename to whatever you want, edit, save, then change the preference setting to that profile.

What to edit: Note to avoid confusion, by Crop I mean Crop settings in the palette, not the whether the Crop Tool is active.

In Crop settings set correction to manual and aspect ratio to unconstrained. In the preset I also have crop off (no white square) but I don’t think that matters. And note again that crop on or off is separate from whether the Crop Tool is active or not. On a new image when click the crop tool to active and start to drag a crop box, Crop flips to on (white square) automatically.


I totally agree with @nikki. I wanted open a new thread but seeing that one was already open, I resign and join this one.
I read unnecessarily complicated solutions like saving it as a preset or using the ctrl key, when it would be so easy to save the last setting used, or at least to be able to choose it in preferences. I am not at all interested in the ratio of my camera but in the framing I want, without always having to change to unconstrained. Who knows, perhaps I prefer 4/3 or 1/1 ratio! Those who want to keep it won’t have any problems either, they will also get the last one used or set in preferences. Cropping an image is not something that is done only once in a while, it is very frequent, and it is very tiring to take two steps each time instead of one. Besides, I don’t think it requires a lot of programming effort, quite the contrary.

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Hi Vichenso,

Are you aware that you can decide on your own preferred settings, to be assigned to each new image encountered by PhotoLab ? … including your Crop-setting preferences, etc, etc

If you need instructions on how to do this then let me know in response …

John M


Hi John.
Yes please, frankly I can’t find it anywhere, neither in the edit/preferences menu nor in the preset editor palette.
thank you

I agree with @nikki and @vichenso. In every other image editor I’m aware of, no one forces the user to first setup the ratio or worse, to deal with a static “preset” - these are good for projects which have to keep images within certain limits, but DxO’s extra-complicated way here doesn’t help anybody. I don’t know a single user who always needs or wants to crop to sensor proportions. These constantly needed “workarounds” are really turning me off. :angry:

Sorry, this was not meant as a reply to you, @John-M but a general reply to the feature improvement thread. I confused the reply buttons.


I hope that this change in preferences will simplify the process in a sufficiently satisfactory way. In general I think PhotoLab is an unbeatable program in many respects and yet it has some loopholes that are very easy to implement from a computer programming point of view that are really incomprehensible, like for example not being able to flip an image or compare two images (something that really pisses me off). Others like creating a satisfactory camera profile with the help of a colour chart, e.g. Colorchecker, I imagine require more effort, but other programs do it very well. Maybe PL also does it correctly but I still haven’t found a way…

No worries, Vichenso - Here goes …

In PL’s preference settings (Menu: Edit / Preferences) there’s a setting that determines the Preset that’s applied to all newly encountered image.
Here’s mine: image
Yours probably still refers to the DxO Standard preset - which is the “out of the box” setting.
You are able to modify the DxO Standard and then save it as your personal default (instead of Standard).

  • Point PL at an image that it has never encountered before (to ensure the DxO Standard preset will be applied, with no other modifications).

  • Make any changes to settings that you’d like to become your own default - - for example, open the crop tool and change the aspect ratio, etc, etc, etc

  • Use this menu option:
    image … and save current settings with your preset name.

  • Go to the Preferences settings (as above) and change ‘DxO Standard’ to your default preset name.
    – For RGB images, it’s best to set the default to ‘5 - No Correction’ - to avoid doubling-up.

HtH - John M