There will likely come a time when working in Photoshop that you’ll need to alter the dimensions of your canvas, whether it is at the beginning, middle, or end of a project. Photoshop makes it easy to change your canvas size at any point while working with a few different methods to do so.

But if you’re in a rush, here’s a quick overview of the steps to follow.

To change the canvas size of an existing document in Photoshop:

  1. Go to Image > Canvas Size
  2. Type in your desired dimensions in the width and height values
  3. Click OK to change the size of your canvas
  4. Now your canvas size will be changed, without affecting the contents on the canvas.

How To Change The Canvas Size Of A New Document In Photoshop

The first point at which you can alter the size of your canvas is when opening a new document. Note that this is different from simply opening an image — if you do that, the image will automatically appear in a new document with the canvas set to the image size. 

Instead, you can open a new document by heading to File > New. You can also do this by pressing Control + N (Win) or Command + N (Mac).

The New Document window will appear, and it is here you can adjust all kinds of settings related to the new project you’re creating, like size and color profile. 

You can either choose a preset canvas size from the tabs at the top or head to the area on the right to enter your dimensions.

The canvas dimensions will already be set, likely to whatever canvas size you’ve been using before. To change the size, I recommend first selecting which unit of measurement you’d like your canvas to be measured in. Do this by clicking the drop-down arrow next to the units and selecting the one you’d like to work with from the options available.

Once you’ve chosen your preferred unit of measurement, you can enter the number of units you’d like the canvas dimensions to fit in the Width and Height boxes.

You can also choose whether you’d like your canvas to sit vertically or horizontally by clicking one of the options under Orientation.

Once you’re satisfied, click Create, and your canvas with appear with your set dimensions.

How To Change An Existing Canvas Size In Photoshop

While working on a project, you might realize that you’d actually like the canvas to be a different size. Perhaps you’d like more space to add more elements, or you have too much unnecessary space. Luckily, you can easily change the size of your canvas while you work. 

Changing the canvas size while you work will change the space on all four sides, while the image or elements on the canvas will remain the same size. If you decrease the canvas size of an image that fills the canvas, it will crop the image.

To change the size while working, head to Image > Canvas Size.

The Canvas Size window will appear.

Here, you’ll see the current dimensions of your canvas in the Current Size area, and under New Size, you can select the unit of measurement and enter a new size. Changing the unit for width will also change the unit for height, and vice versa, to ensure you’re working in the same unit for both.

Once you’ve selected the correct unit of measurement, enter the number you’d like your Width and Height to be in the boxes.

Check Relative and you can enter relative values in these boxes — meaning, you can enter 3 next to Width and the size will increase by 3 units of your chosen measurement. Enter a negative number to decrease the size. 

The Anchor settings determine in which direction the new dimensions will be applied. If you keep the default center selection, the changes will be applied equally on all four sides. However, if you select the bottom left, for example, the changes in size will be only applied to the top right of the canvas.

Once you’re satisfied, click OK. You will see your canvas change according to the new dimensions you’ve set.

How To Change The Canvas Size On Export From Photoshop

The final way to change the size of your canvas is while exporting your project. This is useful if you may need to add a border around your image or to have extra space around the edges for printing.

When you’re ready to export your project, head to File > Export > Export As

The Export As window will come up.

This window is where you can adjust and apply various settings upon export of your project. Head to the Canvas Size area.

Here, you can type in a new width and height for your project in the boxes. The unit of measurement will stay in pixels; you won’t be able to change it. You’ll also have to enter both Width and Height values, and they won’t be linked so you’ll have to enter them separately. 

You will, however, see the preview change as you enter the values, so you can see when it looks correct. You will notice that changing these values will only change the size of the canvas around your image or elements and won’t affect the actual size of the image or artwork.

Keep in mind that, when exporting for printing, it is best to know the dimensions you plan to print and ensure your PPI is high enough to present the project in good quality (normally around 300 PPI).

Similarly, keeping the file size low is best when exporting for the web if you’d like to save memory, but again it is best to ensure your PPI is high enough for any specific digital display purposes you have. In most cases 72 PPI is fine for digital use.

Happy Editing!