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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 next power shortcut is a little bit obscure, but it's a way to open a layered file as a flattened version, and why would you do that? Well, if you've got several different versions of a document that has many layers in them, the file size can be quite large. So, you may just want to double-check that particular layered file is the one you want. Normally, when you double-click on a file, either in the Desktop or the Explorer or from Bridge, if it's layered, you see the layered file in Photoshop here in the layer stack. I'm going to go ahead and close this. The trick here is if you want to open up a flattened version, you just need to hold down two modifiers. So hold down Shift and Option or Shift +Alt, and if I'm in Bridge, I just double-click.
When you held those keys down, Photoshop says oh, do you want me to read the composite data instead? That means a flattened version of the file there. If I click OK, you'll see it comes in as just a single background layer. So it's either Shift+Option or Shift+Alt, when you double-click from Bridge, or if you're using the Open dialog, you just hold those keys down when you double-click on the file from there as well. Now, the secret to this though is you do have to make sure that the Preferences is turned on. It is on, by default, so it's unlikely that you're going to run into any issues here. To open the Preferences dialog, press Command+K or Ctrl+K in Windows and select File Handling.
But under File Handling, there is an option here that says Maximize PSD and PSB File Compatibility. I guess the default is set to Ask. You should change that to Always. What this means is that Photoshop will always save a flattened version of the layered file inside the layered file. And what's actually happening is when you hold down those modifier keys, Photoshop is just accessing that embedded flattened version for you. Now one thing to note, a word of caution here, if you were to do a Save, you would be saving over your layered version. So really this is a read-only type exercise. You just want to verify the file. You're probably not going to act on this file unless you're going to save it as a JPEG or some other file format, presample it or something like that.
So just be careful that if you're going to do anything to this file, do a Save As and give it a different name. But there you have it, quick, easy way to open up a very large layered file, in terms of file size, just as a very quick flattened version by holding down Shift and Option or Shift+Alt, when you double-click on the file.
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