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15 Photoshop Tips to Make Your Life Easier
By Shaun Pearce

1. When working on a colour image, you can use the Paint Brush tool to selectively "paint away" colour to black and white. It can make one portion of your image really stand out. In the Paint Brush Options palette, change the blend mode to Colour, and paint away the colour

2. When using your magic wand tool you can press your Shift to add more to the selection, or press your Alt to take away from the selection.

3. If you have a lot of images to display, use Photoshop's image gallery to build a webpage of images that are thumbnailed for you. FILE > Automate > Web Images Gallery

4. Double click on the 'T' on a Type layer in the Layers Palette to automatically select the entire text layer.

There are at least two ways to switch between the various measurement units that Photoshop displays.

5. One is to change them in your Preferences by going to the Photoshop menu under Preferences and choosing Units & Rulers (in Photoshop 7 under Mac OS 9, Preferences is found under the Edit menu). From here you can change the ruler units and click OK.

6. The second way is to open the Info Palette (go to the Window menu and choose Info) and click on the small triangle next to the cross in the lower left quadrant. This will bring up a menu that will allow you to change units on the fly.

7. To cycle through different screen modes, simply press the F key

8. You can select only the pixels and not the transparency area of the layer by holding the Cmd/Ctrl key and clicking the mouse on that layer in the Layers palette.

9. Do you have a layer style you like to use a lot? You can save that layer style as a style that will show up in your styles palette. In the Blending Options, just under OK and Cancel you'll see 'Save Style'. Name it and save it. You'll then find this new style in the Styles palette. Note: the style must be in its own layer.

10. Sometimes when you combine multiple images, there will be a bit of fringe around the edges of the composite images. Often you can hide this by going to Layers > Matting > Defringe. At the dialogue box, choose the default setting; it that doesn't work, undo it, and try Defringe again at a setting of 2.

11. Got too many layers? Simply select the right layer by using the move tool ( V ) Right click the mouse over the layer and a drop down list will come up.

Alternatively, you can put your layers in layer sets. On the bottom of your layers palette, click the create new layers set (looks like a folder), name the new layer set, and just drag the layers you like in that set. Great for coping a set too. Highlight the set right click and copy.

12. If you want to toggle between Photoshop and ImageReady, press Shift-Command-M (Mac)/ Shift-Control-M (PC).

13. To access the Save for Web dialogue quickly, press Shift-Command-Option-S (Mac)/ Shift-Control-Alt-S (PC).

14. If you want to duplicate your current layer, press Cmd/Ctrl J.

15. To bring up the Extract dialogue box, press Command-Option-X (Mac)/ Control-Alt-X (PC). Within the Extract dialogue box, switch to the Extract Edge Highlighter tool by pressing the letter "b.", the Fill tool by pressing the letter "k.", and change the Edge Highlighter's brush size by holding the ] key to make it larger and the [ to make it smaller.

Shaun Pearce is a writer, video maker, and Photoshop expert. Right now, he's giving away a free report about the part of Photoshop that causes the most headaches to users: Layers. You can access it by going to

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Date Posted: 2008-01-22

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