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Creating Your Own Custom Crop Tools

Although it’s more of an advanced technique, creating your own custom tools isn’t complicated. In fact, once you set them up, they will save you time and money. We’re going to create what are called “tool presets.” These tool presets are a series of tools (in this case, Crop tools) with all our option settings already in place, so we can create a 5x7", 6x4", or whatever size Crop tool we want. Then, when we want to crop to 5x7", all we have to do is grab the 5x7" Crop tool preset. Here’s how:

Step One:

Press the letter C to switch to the Crop tool, and then go under the Window menu and choose Tool Presets to bring up the Tool Presets panel. You’ll find that five Crop tool presets are already there. (Make sure that the Current Tool Only checkbox is turned on at the bottom of the panel, so you’ll see only the Crop tool’s presets, and not the presets for every tool.)

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Step Two:

Go up to the Options Bar and, with the pop-up menu set to Ratio, enter the dimensions for the first tool you want to create (in this example, we’ll create a Crop tool that crops to a wallet-size image). In the Width field, enter 2 in, then press the Tab key to jump to the Height field, enter 2.5 in, and press Return (PC: Enter). Note: If you want to include the resolution in your tool preset, from the pop-up menu, choose W x H x Resolution. Enter your height, width, and resolution in the fields to the right of the pop-up menu, and click OK.

Step Three:

In the Tool Presets panel, click on the Create New Tool Preset icon at the bottom of the panel (to the left of the Trash icon). This brings up the New Tool Preset dialog, in which you can name your new preset. Name it, click OK, and the new tool is added to the Tool Presets panel. Continue this process of typing in new dimensions in the Crop tool’s Options Bar and clicking on the Create New Tool Preset icon until you’ve created custom Crop tools for the sizes you use most. Make sure the name is descriptive (for example, add “Portrait” or “Landscape”). If you need to change the name of a preset, just double-click directly on its name in the panel, and then type in a new name.

Step Four:

Chances are your custom Crop tool presets won’t be in the order you want them, so go under the Edit menu, under Presets, and choose Preset Manager. In the resulting dialog, choose Tools from the Preset Type pop-up menu, and scroll down until you see the Crop tools you created. Now just click-and-drag them to wherever you want them to appear in the list, and then click Done.

Step Five:

Now you can close the Tool Presets panel because there’s an easier way to access your presets: With the Crop tool selected, just click on the Crop icon on the left end of the Options Bar. A tool preset picker will appear. Click on a preset, and your cropping border will be fixed to the exact dimensions you chose for that tool.

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