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Tools

After you're finished moving around in your image, zooming in and out, and moving pixels hither and yon, it's time to get down to work with Photoshop's tools. Photoshop's tools have all sorts of hidden properties that can make life easier and—more important—more efficient. Let's look at a number of tips and techniques for getting the most out of these instruments of creation.

Tip

Tool Keystrokes. The most important productivity tip we've found in Photoshop to date has been the ability to select each and every tool with a keystroke. Unlike most programs, the keystrokes for Photoshop's tools do not use any modifier keys. You press the key without Command, Control, or Option. Figure 2-11 shows the keystroke for each tool.

Figure 2-11. Keystrokes for tools

Of course, these are just the defaults; you can edit the shortcuts by selecting Keyboard Shortcuts in the Edit menu


Some tools in the Tool palette have multiple modes. For instance, the Dodge tool also “contains” the Burn and the Sponge tools. The slow way to access the different modes is to press the tool icon to bring up the popout palette containing the different modes. A faster method is to press the tool's keystroke once to select it, and then hold down the Shift key while pressing it again to toggle among the choices. Press M once, and you jump to the Marquee tool; then press Shift-M, and it switches to the elliptical Marquee tool; press Shift-M once more, and it switches back to the rectangular Marquee tool. Note that this keystroke doesn't cycle through the single-row marquee or the single-column marquee.

(Photoshop lets you change this behavior: If you turn off the “Use Shift Key for Tool Switch” checkbox in the General panel of the Preferences dialog box—see “Preferences,” later in this chapter—then you don't have to hold down the Shift key to rotate through the tools; each time you press M, you'll get a different tool.)



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