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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.
So this next power shortcut is something that's actually available on pretty much all of the Adobe applications, and it has to do with overriding your current measurement system. So let's say I want to crop this vertical image into a horizontal 4x6 or a 6x4 image. So I'm going to press C for the Crop tool and you can see my Width and Height fields are currently blank. So I'm going to type in the dimensions I want. So I want to type in 6, hit the Tab key to go to the Height field and type in 4. Then I'll hit Apply to lock in those particular dimensions. Okay, so now when I drag out with the Crop tool, of course it's going to constrain to that 6x4 shape. Okay, so I go ahead and reposition that.
Now to apply that I'll hit Return or Apply, but that's not the result that I was expecting. I wonder if you guys can tell, but I have a very, very tiny image there in the center of my screen. That's because my measurement system in Photoshop right now was set to pixels. So I have just cropped this to a 6 pixel by 4 pixel image. Obviously not what I wanted. So I'm going to undo that Command+Z. What you can do if you want to override your current measurement system is use the two-letter abbreviations to override the current default. So right now it's pixels. If I wanted this to be 6 inches, I would type 'in' after the number. Hit the Tab key. I want this to be 4 inches so 4in.
I'll lock those numbers in. Now I'll go ahead and drag out my crop boundary and when I hit Return this time I get what I expected, a 6x4 inch result. So anytime you want to use any particular measurement system that's not your current default, you just include the two little letter of abbreviation for that given measurement system. So for pixels it's px, for inches it's in, for millimeters it's mm, and of course for centimeters it's cm. You can also right-click or Ctrl-click on a particular text field to change the measurement system there as well.
So if I type say 8 and right-click, I get a contextual menu to choose a different measurement system for that field and that field only. So it's not like I'm changing the default for the app. I'm just changing it for that particular field. If I change this to picas, that's going to convert that to a pica value. So either use the two-letter abbreviation and just type it in or right-click on the field itself and use the little pop-up menu to override your default measurement system.
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