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Shortcuts are an excellent way to increase your productivity and as you become more comfortable with the application, you'll learn the ones that you need. But if we look under, say, for example, the File menu, we can see that some of the options certainly have keyboard shortcuts, but not all of them do. Just so that you know, this shortcut right here for Browse in Bridge for example is going to be the Command key-- that's what this icon is--plus the Option key plus O. On Windows it Ctrl+Alt+O.
This little arrow icon right here means to hold down the Shift key. Let's go over to the Layer menu for a moment and if we scroll all the way down, you'll notice that the command for Flatten Image does not have a keyboard shortcut. If we want to customize our keyboard shortcuts to assign one to that command, it's very easy to do so. We'll go under the Edit menu, scroll all the way down to Keyboard Shortcuts. You'll notice that you can change keyboard shortcuts and you can also change menu items, but we are going to focus on the keyboard shortcuts.
We can change the shortcuts for our application menus, for the panel menus, and for the tools. Let's start with application menus and we'll find the menu for the layers. Then we need to scroll down. There are a lot of options here, but almost all the way at the bottom you will see the option to Flatten Image. In order to apply a keyboard shortcut, you click in the blank area to the right and then simply type in the keyboard shortcut that you want to assign. So for example if I type in Command+F or Ctrl+F, Photoshop tells me that that keyboard shortcut is already in use. I can remove it from the Filter > Last Filter menu item if I want to, but I actually use that quite often, so let's try another keyboard shortcut.
How about Command+Option+F or Ctrl+Alt+F? Well, that's also in use, but I really don't use this command very often, so I'll go ahead and accept that. Basically, we've taken the keyboard shortcut away from another command in order to apply it to this one. Let's also change the shortcuts for a tool. Now there might be a variety of different reasons that you want to do this. Usually, when I'm using the brush tools you can see that all of the brush tools, the Brush tool, the Pencil, the Color Replace, and the Mixer Brush, they all have the same keyboard shortcuts.
Well, instead of toggling through using the Shift key and tapping the B key in order to get from the Brush tool to the Mixer Brush tool, I simply assign a different keyboard shortcut for the Mixer Brush tool. Now we can go through these keys one at a time. We could try A, but that's already in use. Well, B was the Brush tool, C is for Cropping. So I'll just give you a hint here. There are two letters that aren't in use. The first one is K and the second one M. So I'll go ahead and assign the K key for the Mixer brush tool.
Then we'll scroll down to the bottom, because I wanted to show you another option down here. Because it's not just your tools; there are additional features here that you can assign keyboard shortcuts to. So for example the Foreground Color Picker. Sometimes it just takes a lot of mouse movement to go from a image all the way down to the bottom of the Tool palette to bring up the Foreground Color Picker. So I'll assign the N key here in order to automatically bring up that Foreground Color Picker. We can accept this one, and then you'll notice that at the top it says that the set, the Photoshop Default Set of keyboard shortcuts has been modified.
I don't want to change the Photoshop defaults, so I am going to click on the second icon here and I'll save out my own set. So we'll just name this my name and it will automatically save it in the correct place. So you can see here that under my username if you go to the Library, to Application Support, in Adobe Photoshop CS6, to Presets, this is where we are going to save these keyboard shortcuts. And the reason that I point this out is that you might be running Photoshop on more than one machine and you might want to grab your keyboard shortcuts from one machine and automatically load those into the other one.
So that's where this file is going to live. Let's click Save. You can see that the set has now been changed. When I click OK and I tap the K key, you'll notice that right over here, instead of having my regular brush selected, it automatically turns to the Mixer Brush. If I tap the N key, I automatically get the color picker for my foreground color. And if I had a file open and we used the keyboard shortcut Command+Option+F or Ctrl+Alt+F and I had a multi-layered document, Photoshop would automatically flatten it for me.
Now before we go any further, I am going to bring back out the keyboard shortcut editor by using Command+Option+Shift+K. That would be Ctrl+Alt+Shift+K on Windows. And I am just going to change the set to the Photoshop Defaults and then click OK. So it might seem like a minor thing as you are just starting to learn Photoshop, but as you master more and more tools, you'll really want to access those tools and those commands more quickly. So the ability to customize the interface can really be a benefit to your productivity.
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