Surely it’s happened to you too: you took a basically good picture, but there was more empty space around the edges than you wanted. In these situations, the simplest solution is to take out the scissors—well, the crop tool—and cut away the excess.
But the crop tool has more uses than just this. It’s also often useful for emphasizing detail in a picture. It also has some very handy variants for easy cropping to a certain size or ratio of sides. While cropping, be careful not to cut the head or feet off of any people in the picture. Getting a certain ratio of sides or removing unwanted objects from a picture is not worth decapitating your friends. As always, work on copies of pictures, not the originals. That way you can go back if you make a mistake.
The crop tool is the third from the top on the main Editor toolbar—the one along the left. To reach it quickly from the keyboard instead of the mouse, press C. Activating this tool changes the mouse cursor to indicate the tool’s function. Click and drag to set the part of the picture that should stay after the crop. The rest of the picture is automatically darkened. Normally, that’s ideal, but you can turn it off using the Shield option, on the Options toolbar at the top. There is also a Snap to edges option here. Turn it on to make the cropping frame’s edges and corners jump to visible edges in the picture. To turn it on temporarily, hold the Alt key while you work.
The most important of the Option controls shown with the Crop tool active lets you force a ratio of sides or exact size for the crop rectangle. This control starts out set to Free Ratio—that is, no restriction. However, you can often encounter situations where you need to crop a picture to a specific ratio of sides or even to a specific exact size—for example when you need to print a picture at a traditional 3:2 ratio (since digital compacts usually create 4:3 pictures) or upload your photograph to a social network that has size requirements.
In such cases, use the items in this control to force the needed ratio or size. Click the list to drop it down. First check the list for the ratio or size you want. If it is not there, then use Fixed Aspect or Fixed Size to enter a one-time custom ratio or size. Zoner Photo Studio then forces the crop rectangle to respect that ratio or size.
You may end up needing a certain ratio of sides or exact size frequently. In that case it is best to add it to the list permanently so you do not need to hand-enter it repeatedly. To do so, use the “Settings…” item. This displays the Custom Crop Ratio or Size window. Use it to add or remove preset ratios and sizes. To add an item, click Add and use the next window to name the new setting, set whether it is a ratio or an exact size, and fill in the numbers for it.
Marks dividing the cropping area by thirds or via the Golden Mean can help you find the ideal crop. To show such marks while using the Crop tool, press Tab. This cycles through the variants no grid—Golden Mean—thirds. Alternatively, use View | Crop Marks followed by your desired setting.
After cropping the picture, save it to keep the crop. To save over the original of the picture, use File | Save or Ctrl+S. To save a new copy, use File | Save As… or Ctrl+Shift+S