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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.
One of the other strategies you can use to do panel management is create a primary dock and a secondary dock or even more than that. You can create as many docs as you want. What am I talking about? So, here I see one primary dock. I have the dock open, it's expanded, I'm seeing the panels that I have got arranged in that particular dock. But you can actually create a secondary dock. In fact by default, if you open up some of these other panels, if I go to the Window menu and choose say History, you'll see Photoshop has secretly arranged that in a secondary dock and that group of panels opens there in this thin strip.
This is been reduced to the iconic mode where this is in the expanded mode. So, you can have all your panels open if you want. So, I can open up Character, you see that gets added to secondary dock, I can open up the Histogram, again that shows up, up in the secondary dock. It's kind of nice is instead of having the Window menu all the time, you can just go over here and click on the particular panel you need. I don't care about having these panels open all the time, so I'll leave them collapse in this iconic mode. If you want to rearrange these collapse panel docks, you'll flip the secondary stuff over to the right or the primary one, you can do that. Let's click on this panel group, and I'll just drag it to the right edge to create a third panel.
I'm going to consolidate all these into just a single secondary panel group here. So, there I've got all the stuff that I don't use as frequently over in the far right collapsed all the way down. The stuff that I'm going to use all the time, I'm going to leave in the separate dock, but it leave it expanded. Okay, now I want to hit my Tab key, everything goes away when I hit the Tab key again. It remembers the state of these two docks that one is collapsed down to icon and one is expanded. If I don't care about the secondary panels, I can just rip out the group and close the group here, it's got its own little close circle here, a close box in the upper left- hand corner, I'm going to get rid of that.
Then what some people are starting to do is they've discovered that the Tools panel itself can be repositioned as well. So, if I grab this gray double-dotted line there and pull it away from the left-hand edge, the Tools panel can be floating, just like any other panel, but some people are actually moving this all the way over to the right and making that combine with the Layer panel. So, now they have full screen real estate all the way to the left of their panel area. Then just come over here since we're using the tool shortcuts, just pressing the letters on their keyboard, they don't even really need to have the Tools panel prominently positioned as much as they used to.
So, just a different strategy. If you have a different way of working that's totally fine, but there is just lots of ways to customize your panels and arrange them on your screen. Get them set the way you want and then just leave them that way.
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