Photoshop Elements Toolbar

The Photoshop Elements toolbar can be very intimidaing if you are new to Photoshop Elements for your digital scrapbooking projects - relax - they are not that difficult to learn ...

The majority of the tools in the tool bar are used for digital editing which is part, but not nearly all, of a scrapbooking project.  Digital editing of the images will typically be completed before the scrapbook page is started.

Let's look at the tools in the toolbar ...

The Tools

Let's look at the elements toolbar from top to bottom.  The name of the tool is highlighted followed by its keyboard short cut in brackets followed by a description of the tools function.

Elements Toolbar - top 4

Move Tool (V) - the move tool allows you to drag images and text around your document.  The Move Tool gets used a lot in digital scrapbooking.

didgtal scrapbooking elements tools
Zoom Tool (Z) - for zooming in and out - default zooms in and holding the ALT key zooms out.

Hand Tool (H) - if you have less than a full screen view (you are zoomed in) and want to move to another part of the page click the hand tool and drag.  This can also be achieved by holding down the space bar and dragging.

Eyedropper Tool (I) - the eyedropper is used to pick up a color and make it the foreground color.  It is useful if you are making a background and want a prominent color from an image to be part of the background.

Elements Toolbar - Selection tools

Rectangular/Elliptical Tools (M) - see the little black arrow in the lower right corner of the rectangular/elliptical tool?  That means there is more than one tool there - kind of like they are living together.  This is the rectangular and elliptical marquee tools home and they are used to make selections.
digital scrapbooking selection tools
Lasso Tools (L) - three selection tools live here - the normal lasso, the magnetic lasso (which clings to areas of strong contrast and the polygonal lasso which creates selections with straight lines.  These tools get used a lot!

Magic Wand (W) - selects large areas of similar color - sounds good, doesn't it but there are better ways to make selections.

Quick Selection Tool (A) - this is a really neat selection tool.  Drag it across something that you want selected and it finds the edges.  It can create great selections or drive you crazy.

Elements Toolbar - miscellaneous

Text Tools (T) -  There are 4 text tools living here - the horizontal and vertical text tools and the horizontal and vertical type mask tools.  You will be using them a lot in your digital scrapbooking projects.

Crop Tool (C) - this tool is used to cut out unwanted portions of an image.
digital scrapbooking tools
Cookie Cutter Tool (Q) - like the name says - it is a cookie cutter with lots of different shapes to play around with.

Straighten Tool (P) - this is useful for straightening an image that is not quite straight and there are a few options available.

Red Eye Removal Tool (Y) - this is self explanatory!

Spot Healing Brush (J) - lives with the healing brush tool and they are both very good at removing blemishes.

Clone Stamp Tool (S) - and the pattern stamp tool.  The clone tool removes objects beautifully remover device and the pattern stamp is amazing to create patterns for your backgrounds.

Elements Toolbar - more miscellaneous tools

Eraser Tool (E) - like the name says and there are two additional erasers here - the background eraser and the magic eraser.  All of these will be used in your projects and create great results.

Brdigital scrapbooking toolbarush Tool (B) - there are four different brushes here.  The normal brush tool, the impressionist brush (to turn a photo into a painting), the color replacement tool and the pencil.

Smart Brush Tool (F ) - and the Detail smart brush tool apples different effects to an image (these tools are not included with the MAC version of Photoshop Elements).

Paint Bucket Tool (K) - for doing a flood fill of color.

Gradient Tool (G) - very useful in a variety of different situations.

Custom Shape Tool (U) - there are seven different tools living here and they all have the potential to be a big part of your digital scrapbooking projects.  Each one has multiple different effects they will produce.

Elements Toolbar - the last 3

Blur Tool (R) - The blur tool, the sharpen tool and the smudge tool all live here.  They are generally used to make local adjustments to an image.
digital scrapbooking tool bar
Sponge Tool (O) - two darkroom tools and the sponge are found here.  The sponge either adds or subtracts color, the burn tool makes an area darker and the dodge tool will lighten an area.

Foreground/Background Colors - these are the active colors with the top one being the foreground color and the one in back the background color.  Clicking on either will bring up the color selector wheel.

The thing to do is to open a blank document and an image and start messing with the different tools.  Without a doubt that is the best way to lean how they behave in different situations.

It is possible, however, to complete a lot of digital scrapbooking without using many of the tools. It all depends on the shape of your images and how demanding you are about the end results.

Scrapbook Resources

If you cannot find what you are looking for here then you might try the resource page.

There are some free things as well as scrapbook products for sale from some great scrapbook sites.

scrapbook resources

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