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Photoshop CS4 offers an abundance of helpful shortcuts and hidden tricks that allow designers and photographers to get more done in less time. In Photoshop CS4 Power Shortcuts, Michael Ninness reveals hundreds of tips to boost productivity, including the top 20 power shortcuts every Photoshop user must know. He covers strategies for better document and panel management, and offers techniques for becoming quicker and more nimble when using layers, adjustment layers, and layer masks. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download the keyboard shortcut guide from the Exercise Files tab.
Every once in while I hear users complaining about the fact that there is some wasted space at the bottom of their Tools panel on the left-hand side of the screen. Because you can't dock another panel underneath the Tools panel. So, it's little bit hard to see on this particular screen right now because I'm capturing this video at a pretty low screen resolution. But if you have a much larger display, this area underneath the Tools panel can be quite taller. I kind of exaggerated this all. I'll go ahead and expand the Tools panel so that it's two columns, kind of like the way it used to be in the old days. You can see that this dead space now is a lot taller.
So, one way to maximize that screen real estate there and take advantage of it is to create what's called a flotilla. What the heck is a flotilla? So, it's a floating panel that can be collapsed to an iconic view and used in drawer mode. So, let's create one of these. Let's go and take out the color and swatches group and we'll just pull it out and float it. You'll notice that I can have this collapsed in the floated mode. If I just click on the like gray area here, I can expand and collapse the group. But new to CS4, you can also collapse a floating panel down to its icon. Okay, by default it goes down into icon plus label but I can resize that edge and reduce it down just to icons. Now, when I click on it, the iconic goes back into drawer mode.
Well, this means I can now reposition the entire group, say underneath the Tools panel and recapture that screen real estate. All right so, if I have some secondary panels that I want to have available but just not fully expanded all the time, I can use flotillas to reuse that screen real estate back down here. So, I'm going to go to that panel. I'll just go ahead pop that open, but wait, there is more. The other feature of flotillas is that you can dock other panels to their other edges. So If I pull out Swatches and drag it underneath this other panel, you'll see that it gets a blue line where I can attach it underneath but I can also attach it to the edge as well.
So, I can create the side-by-side flotillas if I want to create kind of horizontal flotillas. So, if I collapse that down to icons, collapse that down to icons, I can remove the whole group there, I can just create this whole series of horizontal icons. So, for instance, if I want to have the histogram, let's pull that out to floating flotilla. If I want to dock this entire group out of panels to this other edge, I can do that as well. I can create this custom floating panel that can be dragged to a second monitor, anywhere else on my screen and again they all go in iconic mode. I can expand them, expand that one beneath that one, expand this one, reduce that down to icons but bring back the label.
So, I have got ton of flexibility here on how to arrange my floating panels in addition to the docked panels that are over here on the right hand side. So, those are called flotillas. Completely customizable, drag into another screen, rearrange them the way you want, recapture that screen real estate at the bottom of the Tools panel. You'll find that these panels are a lot more flexible that you my have been aware of.
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