Feb 7, 2007

42 Photoshop Tips for interface - By Trevor Morris

Application Window

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1. Use the Zoom field ( Zoom Field in the bottom-left of the Photoshop window or Navigator palette) to enter an exact zoom level.

Tip: Press Shift+Enter after entering a value to have the field remain active.

2. To change the information displayed in the status bar (which, by default shows document sizes), click on the Status Display Options button and choose an option from the pop-up menu. You can also click on the status bar (to the left of the Status Display Options button) to display the print size of the current document. Alt-click to see the image dimensions and resolution, or Ctrl-click for tile information.

Tip: Choosing Document Profile from the status bar menu ( Status Display Options ) will allow you to monitor the color space of any / all documents opened in Photoshop.

3. Double-clicking on Photoshop's background (the gray background) will summon the Open command [Ctrl+O] (File » Open).

Document Window

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4. Change Canvas Border Color You can fill the (gray) canvas borders with the foreground color by Shift-clicking on it with the Paint Bucket tool [G].

Note: To replace the default color, change the foreground color to 25% gray (R192,G192,B192) and Shift-click on the canvas border again.

5. Press "F" to cycle between three different full screen modes (or use the Full Screen Modes buttons near the bottom of the toolbar).

Tip: Press Shift+F to toggle the menus in full screen mode.

Tip: Shift-click on one of the screen mode buttons ( Full Screen Modes ) in the toolbar to display all open documents in the selected mode.

6. Right-click on an image window's titlebar to quickly access features like Canvas Size, Image Size, Duplicate and File Info.

7. Pausing the mouse pointer over an image window's titlebar will reveal (via a tool tip) the full path of the current document.

Path Information

8. To mark your image as copyrighted, choose File » File Info and in Copyright & URL [Ctrl+6]. Check the Mark as Copyrighted option and enter any relevant information in the fields provided. Press the OK button and note the copyright symbol ( © ) that appears in front of the image title in the document title bar.

Tip: You can even save this information and load (or append) it later for inclusion in another image.

Tip: Right-click on a document titlebar to quickly access the File Info command.

9. Sometimes it is quicker to navigate with the keyboard than to reach for the mouse. Here are some useful navigation keys:

HotKey Result
Home / End go to top-left / bottom-right corner of the canvas
PageUp / PageDown scroll canvas up / down one page
Shift+PageUp / PageDown scroll canvas up / down 10 pixels
Ctrl+PageUp / PageDown scroll canvas left / right one page
Ctrl+Shift+PageUp / PageDown scroll canvas left / right 10 pixels

10. Use Ctrl+Tab (or Ctrl+F6) and Ctrl+Shift+Tab (or Ctrl+Shift+F6) to activate the next and previous documents, respectively. Alternatively, you may choose a document, by name, from the (bottom of the) Window menu.


New! The title bar of a Photoshop document contains a wealth of information about the image, but not all of it is self-explanatory. Here is a sample title bar:


1. If the current image is copyrighted, a copyright symbol ( © ) precedes the document name. See File » File Info: Copyright & URL [Ctrl+6] to see more information about the copyright.

2. Next is the name of the document (e.g. Untitled-1.psd, MyImage.gif, etc.).

3. Immediately following the document name is the magnification (viewing size) for the current image (e.g. @ 100%, @ 66.7%, etc.).

4. After that, beginning in brackets, is the current layer name (e.g. Layer 1).

Note: If the current document is a flattened image containing only a Background layer, no layer name is displayed in the title bar.

5. The color mode of the document follows (e.g. RGB, CMYK, etc.).

Note: the color mode will be preceded by a comma ( , ) if a layer name is present (see previous).

6. If a pound symbol ( # ) appears after the color mode, it means that the document is untagged (i.e. it is not color-managed). An asterisk ( * ) after the color mode implies that the document colorspace is different from the working colorspace. The absence of these symbols means that the colorspace of the document matches the working colorspace.

7. After that (and preceded by a slash [ / ]) is the soft-proofing mode (e.g. CMYK, Monitor, etc.) – if soft-proofing is enabled [Ctrl+Y] (View » Proof Colors).

Note: When converting profiles (Image » Mode » Convert to Profile) this area will display the word Preview – provided that Preview is enabled in the Convert to Profile dialog box.
12. New! Use the Mouse Wheel over the canvas to zoom in (up) and out (down).


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13. To reset all palettes to their default locations, choose Window » Reset Palette Locations.

14. New! To reset the contents of an individual palette, choose the Reset command from the respective palette's menu (Palette Menu).

Note: The reset command is not available for all palettes.

15. Updated! Press the Tab key to hide the toolbar and all palettes. Press Shift+Tab to hide only the palettes (and leave the toolbar visible).

Tip: To reveal the Options palette (Window » Show Options), even when all other palettes are hidden, simply press the Enter key.

16. Updated! Snap your palettes to the nearest screen edge by Shift-dragging them or Shift-clicking on their titlebars.

17. For palettes that contain thumbnails, right-click on an empty area of the palette to reveal a context menu that allows you to choose from the following thumbnail sizes: None (which is not always available), Small, Medium and Large.

Note: This applies for the Layers, Paths, and Channels palettes in Photoshop and the Layers, Rollover, and Animation palettes in ImageReady.

18. Opacity Slider Bar Increase / decrease slider bars by 1% using the left / right arrow keys. Add Shift to increase / decrease by 10% increments.

19. Right-click on thumbnails in the Layers palette [F7] (Window » Show Layers) to display a context menu of available commands – this is especially useful for layer masks and layer clipping paths.

20. Minimize palettes by double-clicking on their associated palette tabs. Use the minimize button ( Minimize ) on the palette titlebars to cycle between compact mode (minimum number of options / contents visible) and contents mode (view all palette options / contents).

Note: You can also double-click the toolbar's titlebar to minimize it.

21. Press Shift+Enter in palette fields to apply the current value but have the field remain active. This is a quick way to experiment with different values.

22. Alt-click on a triangle icon ( Arrow Icon ) to expand or collapse all child elements of an action, layer style, or layer set.

23. You may "stack" palettes (example) by dragging one palette tab onto the top or bottom of another palette: a highlight appears to indicate where the palette will be placed.

Tip: You may also group palettes together by dropping one palette onto the middle of another.

24. Click on the background color well on the Color palette (not the toolbar) to have any color changes affect the background color. A black outline indicates the active color well.

Tip: With the Eyedropper tool [ I ], press the Alt key to choose a color for the opposite color well. For example, if the foreground color is the active color well, press the Alt key to select a color for the background, and vice versa.

25. Shift-click on the color ramp, in the Color palette [F6] (Window » Show Color), to change the spectrum. Alternatively, you may either right-click on the color ramp or open the Color palette menu (Palette Menu) to select an alternate color mode.

26. Add a custom color to the Swatches palette (Window » Show Swatches) by clicking on any empty (gray) area. Remove a color by Ctrl-clicking on it. Replace a color by Shift-clicking on it.

Tip: Choose a background color from the Swatch palette by Alt-clicking on the desired color.

27. Define View Area Ctrl-drag inside of the proxy preview area, in the Navigation palette (Window » Show Navigator), to specify a new view area within the current document.

Tip: Shift-drag within the proxy preview area to move the highlight vertically and horizontally.

Tip: Change the color of the proxy view highlight by selecting Palette Options from the Navigation palette menu (Palette Menu).

28. Assume that you want to see the dimensions of the current cropping marquee, but the Info palette is hidden beneath another palette. You cannot click on the Info palette tab (or press F8) to bring it to the foreground: however, you can choose Window » Show Info to bring the palette to the foreground!

Tip: To bring a palette to the foreground (of a palette group) while a dialog box is open (such as Curves, Levels, etc.), choose the palette name from the Window menu (e.g. Window » Show Info), or press its associated hotkey.

29. To create a duplicate image of the currently selected history state or snapshot in the History palette (Window » Show History):

* click the New Document button ( New Document from History State )
* choose New Document from the History palette menu (Palette Menu)
* drag-and-drop the current state (or snapshot) onto the New Document button ( New Document from History State )
* right-click on the desired state (or snapshot) and select New Document from the context menu

30. Drag a history state from the History palette (Window » Show History) of the current image into any other image window to replace the contents of the destination image.

31. Alt-click on any history state (other than the current state), to duplicate it. The duplicated state becomes the current (most recent) state.

32. Alt-click on the New Snapshot button ( New Snapshot ), at the bottom of the History palette, to display a dialog box that allows you to duplicate the current image as a Full Document, Merged Layers, or Current Layer.

33. New! Use the up and down arrow (cursor) keys to change the values in entry fields and drop-downs. Add the Shift key to change the values by a larger increment.

Tip: You can also use the Mouse Wheel to change values. Use Shift-Mouse Wheel to change the values by larger increments.

34. New! To replace the current preset (i.e. brushes, swatches and shapes, etc.) without being prompted for confirmation, hold down the Alt key while choosing a preset from the Preset Manager or a palette menu (Palette Menu).

35. New! When the Color palette [F6] is in Web-safe mode, Alt-drag the sliders to prevent them from snapping to the Web-safe tick marks.

36. Highlight palette fields New! Click on palette field titles to highlight / select the contents within the field (or to turn checkboxes on / off).

Dialog Boxes

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37. Hold down the Alt key to change any Cancel button into a Reset button (in any dialog box); this allows you to easily restore values without having to cancel and come back.

38. For dialog boxes that contain multiple pages (e.g. Edit » Preferences » General), use Ctrl+N and Ctrl+P to go to the next and previous pages, respectively.

39. Favorites Menu Use the Favorites button ( Favorites ) in Open dialog box [Ctrl+O] (File » Open) to store folders that you visit on a regular basis.

40. Use the hexadecimal color field ( # ) in the Color Picker dialog box to copy and paste color values from one place in Photoshop to another (or even to another application that supports hexadecimal color values).

41. When selecting colors in the Color Picker dialog box or Color Palette [F6] (Window » Show Color), click on the Web-safe icon ( Choose Web-safe Color ) to force the selected color to the nearest Web-safe equivalent. Click on the Out of Gamut icon ( Choose Print Safe Color ) to force the selected color to the nearest print safe color.

42. New! While using the Save for Web dialog box [Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S] (File » Save for Web), hold down the Alt key to change the OK button into a "Remember" button. Press this button to assign the current settings to the active document. These optimization settings will be remembered, even if you press Cancel. In addition, if you save the document, the assigned settings will be saved with as well.

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