A paraxial equation for calculating pixel-based 2-D shifting selectivity of collinear holographic storage system is proposed. The equation shows that the broader reference pattern makes high shifting selectivity. In addition, both amplitude and phase modulation make no obvious change in shifting selectivity so shifting selectivity is not affected through advanced design of reference pattern. Besides, a simplified formula based on a point signal is proposed, which shows a clear physical insight that the shifting selectivity is the square of Fourier transform of the intensity distribution of reference pattern and does not depend on thickness of the disc when a point signal is applied. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.