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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 I want to show you how to quickly select any given layer and also multiple layers in case you want to act on them together. So here I'm in the Move tool and in a previous video, we talked about this Auto Select command. It's off by default and you can either have it set to layer or group. So if you want to always have this behavior available with the Move tool, you just turn that on by having the check box and now whatever layer you click on directly with your Move tool here, that's what get selected. If you take a look in the Layers panel you are seeing the highlighting of the active layer changing as I click around inside my document.
Now if I click on the Background layer that actually is a way to deselect any given layer or layers if you have more than one selected because the Background layer is currently locked. It's always locked by default. So that becomes this way of clicking "nothing" to deselect something. Hopefully that makes sense to you. If you want to select more than one thing, typically, in most applications you hold down the Shift key for that to do, multiple selection and that works here as well. So if I hold down the Shift key and click and click and click over these other layers, you will see that they are all highlighting and becoming selected in the Layers panel.
Again if I have multiple selected layers, I want to deselect everything, just click anywhere there is no pixels on a particular layer. You're clicking through to the Background layer and again because the Background layer is locked, you've deselected all your selected layers here. Now let's talk about doing this temporarily instead of having this global setting turn-on. If you want the Auto Select behavior to work with the Move tool temporarily, you hold down the Command key or the Ctrl key on Windows. So now holding down Command and clicking is just like having that check box Auto Select turned-on. Okay.
And again if I want to not have it on permanently but invoke it temporarily, holding down the Command key or the Ctrl key. If I add Shift to that, I can select multiple layers temporarily by holding down Command+Shift or Ctrl+Shift on Windows. If something is already selected Command+Shift or Ctrl+Shift, again we'll deselect that layer from your selection. Again if you have multiple layers selected, and you want to deselect everything again, just hold down the Command key and click on the Background layer. Okay.
One other twist to this set of techniques here if I'm in a different tool and I want to select a different layer or different layers, holding down the V key temporarily switches you to the Move tool. I notice in my options here I do not have Auto Select turned-on, I can go up there and turn-on if I want or with the V key held down, I can now also hold down the Command key or Ctrl key on Windows and Shift if I want to now select multiple layers temporarily, while I'm in any other tool. When I let go, I'm back to whatever tool I was using in this case, the Brush tool. So there you have it, very quick, easy ways to select layers. One last technique if you have the Move tool selected properly, here like just tapping the V key. If I right-click or Ctrl- click on the Mac, if I don't have a two button mouse, again, I get that list of layers directly underneath my given cursor and I can just quickly go to the layer that I'm wanting to select that way.
Okay, you can still get that contextual menu temporarily. If I'm in the middle of the Brush tool let's say, again hold down the V key to temporarily switch to the Move tool and then I'll right- click to get that temporary layer layer list up again on my screen. So there you have it, lots of different ways to get to the layer that you are trying to select, very quickly and easily.
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