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Shortcuts are a great way to increase your productivity and as you become more comfortable with Photoshop, you'll learn the ones that you need. You can also make changes to shortcuts if there's no shortcut for the menu item or for the tool, or for the command that you want. We can see as we move through the menu that many of the commands already have keyboard shortcuts. And just to decipher them for you on the Mac, this icon is the Command key, on Windows it would be the Control key. This icon right here is the Option key or the Alt key on Windows, and the arrow that points up, that's going to be the Shift key.
Let's take a look for a moment at the Layers menu. This is one of the longest menu. But if we scroll down to the bottom, you'll notice that there is no keyboard shortcut for the Flatten Image command. So, let's go ahead and customize that and make one. In order to do this, I'll select Edit. And then we'll scroll down and at the bottom there will be keyboard shortcuts. You'll see that we can add keyboard shortcuts for not only the application menus, which are the menus across the top, but also the Panel Menus. Those were the flyout menus here on each of the panels, as well as the tools. So let's start with the application menus.
And I want to add a keyboard shortcut to flatten my layers. So I'll use the disclosure triangle next to the Layer menu here. And then we just need to scroll down to the very bottom almost, until we see where it says flatten image. Then, I'll click over here in the blank area. And as soon as I do, I can then type in the keyboard shortcut that I want to use. So let's say for example, I type in Command+F on Mac or Control+F on Windows. Well, Photoshop's going to alert me because that keyboard shortcut is already in use, and will be removed from the Filter menu > Last Filter if I accept it.
So this is up to you. I use this keyboard shortcut quite often, so I want to select a different keyboard shortcut. I'll try typing in Cmd+Option+F. Again, that's already in use but it's going to be removed from the Filter > Last Filter with dialog box. So here I have a choice, I am going to go ahead and accept that by clicking on the Accept button down here on the lower left or we can click accept in the upper right. That's going to remove the keyboard shortcut from its default, and place it here on flattened image. Let's also change one of the shortcuts for the tools. The tools are a little bit unique, and that you can see that they can only use a single key as their shortcut, so you can't use a modifier like the Command or the Option or the Shift key.
On Windows, that'd be the Control, Alt, Shift key, instead we just need to find a letter that not be used. Well, let's scroll down here, because there are two tools that I often go between. That's the Brush tool and the Mixer Brush tool. And instead of continuously tapping the B key, or adding the Shift key and adding the B key to cycle through these tools. I'm simply going to select the Mixer Brush shortcut by clicking on it and then I'm going to tap in the K key.
You can see that Photoshop is not warning me anything because the K key isn't being used, nor is the end key. So I'm going to scroll almost all the way down to the bottom. You'll notice that I have options here not only for these tools but, also to bring up the foreground or background color picker. So, instead of having to click on one of these icons, I can simply use a keyboard shortcut. So, I'll select the foreground color picker and then, tap the N key. I'll go ahead and click accept again or you could just click anywhere outside of here for Photoshop to accept this, because the N key wasn't used anywhere else.
Now you can see that where it says set, it says, Photoshop defaults and then modified. What I'd like to do is save this out, as its own set of keyboard shortcuts, so that I could transfer it to another machine, or, maybe give it to a friend so that they could use the same keyboard shortcuts. In order to do that, I'll click on this middle icon here. And then I'll save the keyboard shortcuts in the keyboard shortcuts folder. So Photoshop is automatically is going to save it to the correct folder, and I'll just rename this jkost. And I'll go ahead and click Save and we can see that we are now using the jkost set.
If I wanted to return to Photoshop defaults, I could do so at any time by just selecting the Photoshop defaults. You can see that the N key went away and then I can change back to my own set and we see my custom keyboard shortcut. One thing that you might want to keep track of is actually where we saved those files just in case you do want to copy them to another machine. So let's click on the Save icon again. Just so I can show you where exactly this folder is. So if I click on this downward pointing triangle here, in order to show the full dialog box then we can go ahead and take a look at the path. So on my computer, in My User, the shortcuts are saved under the Library folder, under Application Support, Adobe, Adobe Photoshop CC, Presets, and then Keyboard Shortcuts.
So if you ever forget, where we save them, you can go ahead and use this pass in order to kind of, help you cheat, to find where they are. Now, I don't want to save another copy, so I'm going to select Cancel. So let's go ahead and just make sure that these work. I'll click OK, and then I'll tap the K key and you'll notice that I was taken not to the regular default Brush tool but to the Mixer Brush tool. And if I tap the N key, we can see that it automatically brings up my Color Picker. Now in order to test the Flatten Image, I'll go ahead and choose the File and then New, and just accept the default, and the I'll create the new layer by selecting Layer, New Layer. I'll say okay, and we can see how my layers panel I have two layers and then I can use the keyboard shortcut Command+Option+F or Control+Alt+F, and we can see that this image has been flattened.
Excellent, so we'll close this. We know that our keyboard shortcuts are working. We now know how to create them but I am going to return back to Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts. And I'm going to change the set back from the custom one we just created to the Photoshop defaults to make sure we're all in the same place. I'll click OK. So there you have it, creating custom keyboard shortcuts might seem like sort of a minor thing when you're first starting to learn Photoshop. But as you become more advanced, you're really going to want to access your tools and menu items more quickly.
And customizing your shortcuts is one of the most productive ways to do that.
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