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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 one is an oldie but a goodie, and a lot of you know it already but for those of you don't, again this is a catch-up to get everyone on the same page. Every tool in Photoshop has a letter assigned to it that you can just tap on your keyboard to switch to that tool. So you don't have to disrupt what you are doing in the middle of an image, come all the way over here to left hand side and start clicking and hunting and pecking for the tool icon that you are looking for. Just press the letter to switch to the tool that you are thinking about. So for instance, the M key gives you the Marquee tool. If you type the L key, that's Lasso. If you type the W key, that's the Magic Wand tool. C for Crop, I for Eyedropper, and so on.
Most of them make sense. Every once in a while there is a wild card, like J is the Healing Brush and you are like, what the heck, why is it J? And that's how you actually remember it. It's an oddball. So B for Brush, S for Stamp, E for Eraser, G for Gradient, R for Rotate, O for Dodge and Burn, P for the Pen tool, T for the Text tool. The point is you don't need to memorize them right now by watching this movie. Just know that the concept is there, if you didn't already know that. And more important, if you hover over a tool and wait for a second, it gives you a tool tip telling you the name of the tool and also gives you its letter shortcut in the tool tip.
So pick these up as you go along, if you haven't memorized them already. They really accelerate how you work with the product. You will also notice that a lot of the tools have additional tools in their slot. You can tell that by the little tiny triangle on the bottom right hand corner of that tool slot. So for instance, in the Marquee tool, there is actually more than one Marquee tool. There is the Elliptical Marquee tool, the Rectangular Marquee tool, and a couple of other oddball ones there. Under the Lasso tool, there is three different Lasso tools. And you see that they all have the same letter for that tool slot. So for instance, the Lasso tools have L. You will notice that if I hit L more than one time, the tool is not changing because by default, if your tool has more than one tool in its slot, you need to hold down the Shift key to cycle through those additional tools.
So I'll do that. Shift+L, now I have the Polygonal Lasso tool. Shift+L again, the Magnetic Lasso tool, Shift+L one more time takes me back to the Regular Lasso tool. So again, if you see a tool have a little triangle in its slot, hold down the Shift key to cycle through that tools in the slot. If you don't like that requirement of holding down the Shift key, you can actually change that. I'm going to open up my Preferences, it's Command or Ctrl+K and right here in the General Preferences, that's this little check box here that says Use Shift Key for Tool Switch. And you can just turn that off and then click OK. And now just pressing L will cycle you through the tools in that slot.
Sometimes that's a better way. Sometimes it gets in the way, because you don't realize that you are actually switching tools. So, your choice. There you have it. Tool shortcuts really, really accelerate how you work with the product. It's really kind of a cool thing. Your brain just doesn't even think about the actual tool anymore. You just automatically press the letter without even really thinking about it. So there you go.
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