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One of the major pain points for anyone who's new to Photoshop, especially for people who are used to working in programs like Illustrator or Fireworks for instance, is the fact that they can't just come out here inside of their document and click on something and move it. For instance, if I wanted to move this photograph right here, if I just click on it and try to move it, the only that moves is the layer I have selected, which is the photo on the bottom. You can see it's moving and not the one on top. So it's kind of tedious for them, because they have to come over and they have to find the layer they're looking for in the Layers panel, then come back over here, and click and drag. Well, oops! That's not the right one, so then I have to go back and find another layer and oh, that-- okay that was the one I was looking for.
Then I have to remember, okay, that's layer 2 copy 2, and that's just a real pain. Luckily there is a feature inside of Photoshop that you can enable to get around this. So with the Move tool selected, this little arrow right here, which you can access by hitting the letter V on your keyboard, you can go up to the Options bar and you can select Auto-Select. Once you select that, you are then able to come out and simply click on an object and it will automatically become selected. So for instance, the bird logo here, if I click, it automatically selects it. You can see now I can move it around.
This one right here, if I click on the Compose button, it automatically grabs that. Same thing for the photos. And if you look over to my Layers panel, each time I click on something different, it switches where I'm currently selecting. Same thing for text. It works on text as well, and shapes as well. Now if I happen to have a few objects grouped together--for instance let's go down and grab this rounded rectangle and the bird logo and the blue header bar. I'll go ahead and group these together, Command+G or Ctrl+G on my keyboard and then I'll select one of these other layers, just to get my selection off of those.
If I have Auto-Select turned on, then when I come out here and I click on any one of these, it automatically selects the entire group. If I twirl open the group, I can then select the individual objects. But if I happen to come out and try to move them, it selects the entire group. So you have to be careful when working with groups and using Auto-Select. Auto-Select works fine when you're just using individual layers. However, when you're trying to select objects that are inside of a group, if you have Auto-Select turned on, it's going to automatically select the group.
If you want to turn that off, you can come back up to the Options bar, click here, and choose Layer as opposed to Group. Now when you come out you can then click on the layer and it will select the layer each and every time. So, if you wanted to do the group behavior, you come up and change that to Group; if you wanted to select individual layers, then you select layer. Either way, this is a great way to gain instant control over individual objects in your document without having to go over and search tediously inside of the Layers panel. So it's one of those little-known features of Photoshop, but one that comes in so handy.
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