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Chapter Seven. Tools > Tools (General)

Tools (General)

Q1:Is there a quick way to change tool settings?

A1: If the tool has a field to enter a value, press Return to “jump” to the first field in the Options Bar. If there's more than one field, press Tab to jump to the next field to the right. Type information into the highlighted field, and then press Return (PC: Enter) to finalize the value and return to using the tool. You can also use the “scrubby sliders” to change a value—just position your cursor over the name to the left of the field, and when your cursor changes into a pointing hand with a double-sided arrow, you can then click-and-drag to change the value. For tools that use a percentage setting (such as Opacity, Flow, or Strength), you can type the first number of the setting you want (e.g., 5 for 50%, 6 for 60%).
Q2:Why doesn't typing a number to change Opacity work? I'm trying to use the keyboard to change the Opacity setting of a tool, but it doesn't work. Why not?
A2: Usually this is because your cursor is positioned in a field in a palette and Photoshop is “waiting” for you to finish typing. Press Enter or Return, and then it should work.
Q3:Why does my tool have such weird settings?
A3: The Options Bar has a long memory, so if you (or someone else who used this copy of Photoshop) changed a setting, that new setting becomes the default until you change it.
Q4:What can I do with tool presets?
A4: Each tool has a default setting that determines the way in which it operates. First you tweak settings for each tool, then click on the down-facing arrow to the right of the tool thumbnail in the leftmost corner of the Options Bar, click on the Create New Tool Preset icon in the resulting palette, and you've created a tool preset. Then, before using a tool, you can pick from the predefined presets to determine how the tool operates—just click on the tool thumbnail to see the presets you've created in the Tool Presets palette. For example, create several presets for the Lasso tool (L): one with no feather, one with a feather of 1 pixel, and a third with a feather of 6 pixels. Before using the tool, pick from these presets in the Tool Presets palette.

Q5:How do I reset my tools back to the default settings? I want to put a tool (or all my tools) back to the default tool settings but don't want to reset all my preferences. Is that possible?
A5: You can reset all tools or just one tool by Control-clicking (PC: Right-clicking) on the tool thumbnail on the leftmost side of the Options Bar. From the contextual menu, choose Reset Tool or Reset All Tools.
Q6:Is there a quick way to get back the default Foreground and Background colors?

A6: Click on the two-square icon in the bottom left near the swatches in the Toolbox or just press the letter D.
Q7:Is there a quick way to switch between black and white? When I'm using a layer mask (or Quick Mask mode), I am constantly switching back and forth between black and white. Is there a better way than clicking the Switch icon in the Toolbox?
A7: Yes, just press the letter X to switch between the Foreground and Background colors.
Q8:Is there a quick way to see multiple options for a tool?
A8: Use context-sensitive menus by Control-clicking (PC: Right-clicking) with any tool anywhere on an open document. A menu will pop up with choices that will change depending on the situation: what tool you are using, whether you have a selection, what mode you are in, etc. Change one of these factors and the list of choices in that menu will also change.
Q9:How do I switch tools with the keyboard when I'm using the Type tool? I use the keyboard letters to switch tools, but I cannot seem to use this with the Type tool. Whenever I type a letter, Photoshop thinks that I want that text on my image, but what I really want is to switch tools. How do I get around this?
A9: You're right, that can cause a problem when you're used to the keyboard shortcuts. The only real answer is that you have to “commit” the type so that Photoshop knows you are finished typing. Either click on the Commit button in the Options Bar or press Enter on your numeric keypad to “finalize” the type. Then the tool shortcuts will work.



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