Hi! Barbara Unzen here. I’ve been digi scrapping for many years and I have learned a lot about Photoshop and the art of digi scrapping in that time. That being said, I’ve still got a LOT left to learn! One thing that never changes is that I’m always super excited when I learn something new in Photoshop. If you asked my family they might just tell you I’m kinda geeky excited when I learn new Photoshop tricks! Despite feeling fairly competent with my Photoshop skills, I learn something new all the time. With that thought in mind, and the hope that I might be able to share a new Photoshop tip/trick with you that might help you when you’re “playing” in Photoshop, I decided to compile a list of 10 tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the years. These are things that help me in Photoshop every single time I use it (which is pretty much every day) and that I wish I’d have known right from the start. So … without further chatting, here’s the list I compiled for you:
1. How to easily get to a particular layer in the layers pallet
With the MOVE tool activated (Hotkey V) simply RIGHT CLICK on your scrapbook page in the Photoshop window over the item you want to locate in the layers pallet. A list of all the layers that are located directly under your pointer will pop up. All you need to do is highlight the layer you want to go to and voila you will be brought to that layer in the layers pallet! I love that!
2. How to scroll through your fonts and see them real time on your page
- Highlight text on your page (using the Text tool)
- Highlight the fonts in the font menu in the top menu bar
- You can now arrow up and down through the fonts and see them real time on your page
- NOTE, you can also do this through the Character panel
3. How to toggle through blend modes and see their effect in real time
Within the layers pallet, with the layer you want to apply a blend mode active, activate the MOVE tool (Hotkey V). Now, hold down the SHIFT key and hit the + or – buttons. You can now scroll through the blend modes and be able to see their effect in real time.
4. How to access the Hand Tool from anywhere
Did you know that you can access the Hand Tool (which allows you to easily move around in your document) when you are using ANY tool? You don’t need to switch to the Hand tool. Simply press the SPACE BAR and whatever tool you are currently using will temporarily switch to the Hand tool until you release the space bar. Love that!
5. How to create a default Style/Effect
Do you have style/effect settings that you like to start with all the time that are different than the default style/effect that Photoshop provides? You can make your style/effect settings the default by simply clicking on the MAKE DEFAULT button in the Layer Styles Menu. (It was a long time before I ever noticed that button!) NOTE, you need to have one of the style options selected before the MAKE DEFAULT button will be available to you (i.e., stroke, drop shadow, etc.).
NOTE: You can choose a MAKE DEFAULT setting for each of the different style options (i.e., bevel/emboss, inner glow, stroke, drop shadow, etc.).
6. How to create a New Style
Do you have a combination of styles that you like to use over and over again? I do. One example, I like to create a photo mask with a drop shadow and a white inner stroke so that when I clip a photo to that shape it already has a basic white frame around it. I don’t want to keep creating that style setting and I don’t want to copy the setting from another item and I also don’t want to write an action for the style either. There’s a much easier way to create a new style.
All you need to do is set the style settings as desired (i.e., the white frame and drop shadow example I described above) then click on the NEW STYLE button, assign your new style a name and you can now access it at any time from the Styles panel!
7. How to change the foreground and background colors with one click
Many people know that if you press the Hotkey I (the Eyedropper tool) you can click anywhere in your document to select the foreground color. Did you know that if you hold down the OPTION key on a Mac (ALT key on a PC) when pressing the Hotkey I you can set the background color? In addition, once you start choosing a color you can sample colors from ANYWHERE ON YOUR SCREEN – not just within the Photoshop window! Just don’t let up on the mouse. How cool is that?
8. How to zoom in and out in your document
My preferred method of zooming in and out of my documents is to use my mouse’s scroll wheel. I can do that because I set up that option in my Photoshop Preferences. NOTE, if you are not able to zoom in and out with your scroll wheel, go to your Photoshop Preferences. In the General settings make sure the option “Zoom with Scroll Wheel” option is checked.
Did you know that you can also zoom in and out in your document with a scrubby zoom? Press Hotkey Z (Zoom Tool) then, while holding the Z button, simply move your mouse left/right or up/down. You can do this if you have the Scrubby Zoom option clicked in the Zoom options bar.
9. How to create black and white layer masks
When you click on the Create Layer Mask button (the little button that looks like a little white square with a black circle in it) in your layers panel, your layer mask is automatically created with a default color of white (which means everything is revealed). If you want to create a black layer mask, simply OPTION-Click on the Create Layer Mask Button (ALT-Click on a PC). Your mask will be set to black which mean everything is concealed.
As in all things in Photoshop, you can also achieve this same thing with the Layer pull down menu. Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All (white mask) or Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All (black mask). I just prefer to create my masks within the layers panel.
10. How to view your page/photo without distractions
If you want to see the page you’re creating or the photo you’re editing without the distractions of the Photoshop windows/panels, etc., simply press Hotkey F. Press Hotkey F two times and you can view your page/photo at full screen with only the left and right rulers showing. (I zoom in and out with my scroll wheel in this view.) Press the Hotkey F a third time and you’ll be back to the normal view.
Note: I use Photoshop CS6 and have described these steps as they as I do them in CS6. I’m pretty certain all of these tips are universal and can be done in Elements and other versions of Photoshop as well.
Well, that’s it; at least for now. I hope that at least a couple of these tips/tricks were new for you and can help you when you are scrapping or editing your photos. There are so many things you can do in Photoshop that this list can really be endless. I think I might just start another list of tips to share with you in another blog post! Have a great day!