• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL

Best-Kept Secrets

Best-Kept Secrets

After you've mastered the Top 15 tips on pages 1–4, you'll want to take a whack at Photoshop's best-kept secrets. These are the ones that will make novice users bow down in awe before you, chanting in unison, “I didn't know you could do that!” Maybe you already know some of them, but I guarantee that at least one of these puppies will catch your fancy. In no particular order, here they are:

  1. Zoom In or Zoom Out: (Cmd + Plus)[Ctrl + Plus] or (Cmd + Minus)[Ctrl + Minus]

    These work even better with the plus and minus keys on the numeric keypad—they're easier to find without looking at the keyboard. This shortcut works to zoom the image while you have a dialog box onscreen.

  2. Reposition a selection as you create it: Spacebar

    This one will save you so many steps, you'll wonder how you ever made selections before you knew it. Just don't let go of the mouse button while you're pressing on the spacebar, or the selection will be completed—then you can move it, but not continue to resize it.

  3. Draw from the center while creating selections: (Option + drag)[Alt + drag]

    It seems simple and obvious after you try it, and it's particularly useful for elliptical selections. Trying to judge where the “corner” of an elliptical selection will fall is nearly impossible—and now you don't have to.

  4. Paint or draw in a straight line: Shift + click

    So you can't draw a straight line—so what? Click once with any painting tool at the beginning of the line, and then Shift + click at the end of the line. Voilà! A straight line.

  5. Cycle through open documents: Ctrl + Tab.

  6. Create a protractor: (Option + drag)[Alt + drag] an end point of the measure tool's measure line.

    The angle change shows up in the Info palette.

  7. Create a duplicate while transforming: (Cmd + Option + T) [Ctrl + Alt + T]

    This shortcut is great when you're placing multiple, slightly different copies of an element throughout a document. You can do anything you want to the copy—resize it, rotate it, skew it, move it, whatever—without changing the original. If you have an active selection, you get a duplicate of the same layer. If you do not have a selection, you get a duplicate layer.

  8. Fade the last filter used: (Cmd + Shift + F)[Ctrl + Shift + F]

    Filter didn't come out right? Don't undo it—fade it. You can change the opacity and the blend mode of any filter, previewing your changes as you make them.

  9. Reapply the last filter used: (Cmd + F)[Ctrl + F]

    Why waste time looking for that filter in Photoshop's mare's nest of a Filter menu? If you're applying the same filter repeatedly, to one image or to many, just use this shortcut and take an early coffee break.

  10. Transforming linked layers

    If you want to scale, rotate, or otherwise transform more than one layer at a time, you can link the layers. When you use the Free Transform (Cmd + T)[Ctrl + T] in versions before Photoshop 7, even though you only see a bounding box around the contents of the active layer, you will be modifying all the linked layers simultaneously. In Photoshop 7, it is more obvious that you will be transforming all the linked layers because you see a bounding box that encloses all the linked layers.

  11. Toggle the Airbrush mode On/Off

    In Photoshop 7, there is no longer an Airbrush “tool.” Rather, it is now a “mode” for any of the painting tools. Instead of clicking on the Airbrush mode icon in the Options bar when a painting tool is selected, you can press (Option + Shift + P)[Alt + Shift + P] instead.



Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint