How To ...

These Photoshop how to tips are a collection of interesting and useful things you can use with Photoshop. They do not need a full blown tutorial and video - just a quick description and away you go ...

These are simple little things you will use over and over when you know how and where to use them ...

How to speed up Photoshop

Photoshop running slowly?  Check your RAM.

If Photoshop seems to be running slowly it may be because you do not have enough RAM and Photoshop can check it for you.

At the bottom of the screen is the status bar which is set, by default, to display your document'sphotoshop tips efficiency file size.  If you click and hold the little arrow head a pop up menu will appear. 

Choose Efficiency.

If the number is 100% then your RAM is OK.  It means that your memory is doing the image work all on its own.

If it is at 75% or less it means that at least 25% of the time Photoshop ran out of RAM and had to use your hard drive to make up for it.  In essence it means that Photoshop is running slow at least 25% of the time - time for more RAM or a new computer!

How to round off a square corner when selecting

If you have ever done a selection on a sharp corner and the darn thing rounded it off this is how to fix it.

Check your feathering amount - it should be 0 (the default).  You may have changed it at some time and forgot to set it back to its default value.

How to quickly get to 100% view

How annoying is it when you want to zoom in or out to 100% to locate the correct keyboard shortcuts or get the zoom tool or fuss with the  Navigator?

If you have an Intuos4 or a Bamboo it is not a problem, of course.  The Zoom function is built right into the tablet.

Anyway, if you want to get to 100% zoom quickly, simply double click on the Zoom Tool and there you go - instant 100% view!

How to quickly get to full screen view

This one is like the previous 100% view but double click on the Hand Tool instead.

Photoshop will fill the screen with your image no matter how big it is.

How to get color from - well - anywhere

This Photoshop tip is really amazing!  You can get any color on your computer as your foreground color with the eyedropper tool.

Select the Eyedropper Tool and sample any color on the screen you are working with and then drag it out of Photoshop onto your desktop or other open document wihtout letting go of the left click or without lifting your pen. 

You will need to have the Photoshop window less than the whole screen to get at any open windows on your desktop.

How to reset any palette

Did you know that Photoshop has a built in Reset Button in the different dialogue boxes?

It does and this is how you access it ...

Say you are messing with Curves and the changes you have wrought are just really nasty.  Normally you would cancel and reload curves.

Instead of doing that just press the Alt key (Windows) or the Options key (Mac) and the Cancel button turns into a Reset button.


How to instantly see the effect of an adjustment

Sometimes it is nice to have two copies of your image on the desktop - one to modify and adjust and the other to act as a guide to see how things are coming along.

Select Window > Arrange > New Window For (open file name) and a duplicate of yor image pops up.

How to cycle through open documents

With both Windows and Macs pressing the Ctrl-Tab keys will cycle through all of the open documents in Photoshop.

How to straighten an image

This can be done with the Transform tool but here is an easier way.

Get the Measure Tool (it lives with the Eyedroppers), find an edge that should be horizontal or vertical, left click at one end and drag along the straight edge to the other end.

Now go to Image > Rotate Canvas > Arbitrary ...  The angle needed to straighten the image is in the dialogue - all you need to do is click OK and it is done.

Some cropping will probably be necessary at this point but that's simple!

How to remove lasso tool control points

If you are working with the Magnetic or Polygonal Lasso tool and don't like how things are going you can delete control points.

It's easy - simply press the Delete key and watch them disappear one by one each time you press Delete from the last one you set.

How to scroll while lassoing

So you're making a selection and find yourself at the edge of the screen - what to do??

Keep the lasso tool active and press the space bar.  This turns the lasso tool into the Hand tool so you can move the document.  When you have a nice new piece of real estate to work with just let go of the space bar and the lasso tool will reappear and you can continue selecting.

How to check out your masterpiece on a black background

To get rid of the palettes and all of the other stuff press the Tab key and then the F key until your image appears on a black background - admire your work.

To get back everything hit the Tab key again and then the F key.

How to quickly improve contrast

Just as a matter of course try this on every image.  Select Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask with these settings ....

  • Amount - 20
  • Radius - 60
  • Threshold - 0

These settings will remove a foggy appearance and improve contrast.  Write yourself an Action and run it on every image when you open it up.

How to use the History Palette

The History Palette (Windows > History) is really useful.  It allows you to move backwards in time to a previous state and create a snapshot of any state.

At the bottom of the palette are three icons ...

New Document From Current State - creates a new (second) document.  It's name will behow to history the last adjustment you did on the photograph.

Create A New Snapshot - when this one is clicked a snapshot of the photograph at that point is added to the top of the palette.  You can return to this snapshot at any time especially if the next set of adjustments are not exactly what you envisioned.  You can even use the History Brush to  paint from one snapshot to another.

Delete Current State - self explanatory.

This is a very useful palette - give it a try!

How To Page Links

Speed Up Photoshop

Round Off A Square Corner

100% View

Full Screen View

Get Color From Anywhere

Reset A Palette

See The Effect Of An Adjustment

Cycle Through Documents

Straighten An Image

Remove Lasso Tool Contro Points

Scroll While Lassoing

Admire Your Work

Quickly Improve Contrast

History Palette

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