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Photoshop Tip...

Amazingly no one has figured out how to make a hollow rectangle with Photoshop. I recently needed to be able to do this and came up with a method of accomplishing this with shapes. Here's how:

1) Create a new document (or use the workspace you want the shape to be added to.
2) Select the shape tool you wish to use. Most people want a hollow rectangle (i.e. rectangle tool), but this works with any of the shapes: Hollow rounded rectangle, hollow circle, hollow ellipse, etc. Even hollow lines (but those are effectively rotated rectangles). You get the idea.
3) Draw the shape on the canvas. A new shape object should be added to the layers palette.
4) Double-click the shape object in the layers palette to open the "Layer Style" window.
5) On the "Blending Options" page, change the "Advanced Blending"'s "Fill Opacity" to 0%.
6) Next, go to the "Stroke" page. If preview is enabled, you should see what I'm getting at by this point. Anyway, change the color and size or use a pattern or whatever. Inside and outside strokes usually look best - especially if you used "Snap To Pixels" in the " Options".

There. You have a hollow shape that is a vector object (more or less). Unfortunately, scaling the image doesn't scale Layer Styles accordingly, so you have to rasterize or fiddle with it, but it is better than trying to eyeball two of the same object. Wish I had figured this trick out for the VerifyMyPC logo artwork. It wouldn't look quite so silly with the bulging inner corners.

Oh well. Hopefully this tip saves someone some effort. Leave a comment if it helps you.


  1. Thank you so very much for your tutorial! I found the steps were easy to follow and yes, you saved me time and frustration!!! Many thanks!

  2. Excellent! Not many people read this blog, but I feel it is worth it if I help a single person every so often.

  3. Nice tutorial. I was one of those people who don't know this simple trick. Thanks for sharing. I wish photoshop will soon have a new feature to make hollow rectangle instantly.

    Be The Master of Your Life

  4. Reyn - Thanks for the compliment.

    Since Adobe dominates the market, they slack off when it comes to adding new features. It took them over a decade to getting around to implementing "text on a curve". Something frequently asked for and yet would have been simple to implement.

  5. Very nice tutorial. But there's one more thing I'd like to see: adding a drop-shadow such that you can see the shadow through the "hollow" part.

  6. There's a much easier / faster way to do this:

    1. Draw your shape using the Marquee tool,
    2. From the Edit menu select Stroke,
    3. Tweak the settings (if needed) and press OK.


  7. SkyDiver - I suppose I should mention I like drawing stuff using the vector toolset. Marquee is fine if a person plans on never, ever resizing the final image.


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