How to use Select Similar command in Photoshop?

I saw many people always use Pen tool when it comes to making selections. Pen tool is, indeed, a great tool to make selections, but beside Pen tool, Photoshop is offers some other great tools and commands that can make your work much easier. Select > Similar is one of those tools. At first, it’s quite hard to know how Similar command works and there are lots of things that many Photoshop users might not know. So, In this tutorial, you will be learning about the working and usage of the Similar command. Let’s get into it.


color samples

Here, I have some square shapes in which the upper row is filled with pure red color (R= 255, G = 0, B =0) and the Lower row is filled with a shade of red color (R= 206, G = 0, B =3)


similar shades selected

Before using the Similar command, we need a selection that Similar command will use to select the similar pixels. So, first let’s make a selection, then, go to Select > Similar and notice that all the pixels having same color information (The upper row) get selected and the rest will remain unselected.

Step 3

different shades selected

If we increase the Tolerance value of the Magic wand tool (W) to 50 and use the Similar command again then it will also include the shades (The lower row) of the color which are little bit different from the initial selection. As you can see that the result is not accurate as before. Tolerance value is responsible for this change in the priority of selecting pixels. Let’s learn more about Tolerance value in the next step.

Step 4

Tolerance value plays an important role in selecting the image pixels. Basically, the accuracy of the selection depends upon the Tolerance value. If the Tolerance value is less, then the selection is going to be accurate and vice versa. (See image)

similar with 25 tolerance

Case 1

In the first case, I used the Similar command with the Tolerance value of 25 and it only selected the pixels which have the exact same color data / information as the selection.

Why Select Similar command didn’t select the other available shades?
There is no shade available that comes under the Tolerance range (25) and the available shades are too dark for the Tolerance value 25 so, it leaves them unselected and selects the pixels with the exact same color data / information as the selection.

Case 2

similar with 50 tolerance

Here, I am using the Similar command with Tolerance value 50 and this time it also includes the second shade in the selection. The reason is that the selected shade is now under the Tolerance range of the selection, hence it counts similar to the selection and gets selected by the Similar command.

similar tolerance difference

That’s how, you can easily control the selection range of the Similar command and make selections just by playing with the Tolerance value. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and find it useful. Good luck.