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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.
This power shortcut is all about letting you assign your own keyboard shortcuts to whatever you want inside Photoshop. Little bit of trivia, what's the keyboard shortcut for the Keyboard Shortcut Editor? Okay, that's just me showing off, but when in doubt hold down the entire left-hand side of your keyboard, Command+Option+Shift+K or Ctrl+Alt+Shift+K to open up your Keyboard Shortcut Editor. For those menu freaks, it's under the Edit menu > Keyboard Shortcuts, Command+Option+Shift+K. And this is where you can add a keyboard shortcut to a command that doesn't have one yet, or change the existing keyboard shortcut to something you want it to be. Maybe you want to match some other application that has a different shortcut for a particular command.
One that drives me nuts is the Select menu doesn't have a keyboard shortcut for Transform Selection. Command+T or Ctrl+T does Free Transform, but that actually works on pixels. When you want to do a Free Transform on just the selection without actually affecting the pixels, that's the Transform Selection command. So I want to assign my own keyboard shortcut to that. First you just have to figure out, okay, what menu is that under? Well, it's under the Select menu. So here I have the Select list of commands under that menu and I'm going to scroll through that list until I get to the Transform Selection command.
I'll go ahead and click on that and you'll see it's blank. Click into that field and at this point just type the keyboard shortcut you want it to be. So let's see, Command+T is for Free Transform. Let's see what happens if I do Command+Shift+T. It says, hey, wait a minute. That keyboard shortcut has already been assigned to something else. It says here's Command+Shift+T is then applied to Transform Again. Now if you don't care about that, that's not a command that you ever use, you can just go ahead and accept that conflict and you are on your way. If you want to actually accept this but go to the Transform Again command and give it a different keyboard shortcut, that's what this button is for. Accept and Go To Conflict. So you can resolve that. Or you can decide that actually is a command I do want to keep for Transform Again. So let's try something else.
Command+Option+Shift+T. Okay, this is saying hey, this is also already in use. But that's okay. I'm going to overwrite that. So I'm going to go ahead and say Accept for that one. Let's say that there is a filter that I use all the time. Maybe it's Gaussian Blur. That doesn't have a keyboard shortcut, but I want it to have one. So I'll go to the Filter menu, scroll down to the particular filter that I'm looking for. That's under the Blur category, there is Gaussian Blur. And sometimes a trial-and-error to find an open shortcut that is memorable to you but isn't already used on something that you care about.
But let's try this. Let's do Command+ Option+Shift+G for Gaussian Blur and look at that. That's not used by anything. So I'm happy with that keyboard shortcut. I'm going to go ahead and accept that and I'll go ahead and click OK. Now if I wanted to blur this layer, Command+Option+Shift+G brings up the Gaussian Blur command and I'm pretty happy about that. If I get my Selection tool and make a selection and do Command+Option+Shift+T, that brings up a bounding box around my selection, so I can actually transform my selection. So that's just two examples of how you can make Photoshop your own by assigning keyboard shortcuts to it.
If you have a hard time remembering what your keyboard shortcuts are, either the default ones or the custom ones that you've created, go back to the Keyboard Shortcut Editor and you'll see that there is this very handy button called Summarize. If you click that, it will generate an HTML file. You save it to wherever you want in your hard drive there and it will create a HTML document listing every single menu command that has a keyboard shortcut assigned to it and what the shortcut actually is. Once you have that document, you can take it in something like Word or InDesign or something like that, Excel, and format it to be real pretty and then print that out and you've got your own cheat sheet, your own Keyboard Shortcut book for Photoshop.
So there you have it. You can make Photoshop much more efficient by adapting it to your tastes and assign your own keyboard shortcuts.
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