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Photoshop Killer Tips

Working with Tabbed Documents

When working with multiple documents while using the Tabs features, to see any tabbed image, just click on its tab at the top of the image window or press Ctrl-Tab to cycle through them one by one. To turn tabbing off, go under the Photoshop (PC: Edit) menu, under Preferences, and choose Workspace, then turn off the Open Documents as Tabs checkbox. Also, you’ll probably want to turn off the Enable Floating Document Window Docking checkbox, too, or it will dock your single open image.

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Setting Up Your Workspace

Photoshop comes with a number of built-in workspace layouts for different tasks with just the panels visible Adobe thought you’d need. You can find them by clicking on the pop-up menu at the right end of the Options Bar. To create your own custom workspace layout, just click-and-drag the panels where you want them. To nest a panel (so they appear one in front of another), drag one panel over the other. When you see a blue outline appear, release the mouse button and it nests. More panels can be found under the Window menu. Once your panels are set up where you want them, go under the Window menu, under Workspace, and choose New Workspace, to save your layout so it’s always one click away (it will appear in the pop-up menu). Also, if you use a workspace and change a panel’s location, it remembers. That’s okay, but you’d think that clicking on your workspace would return things to normal. It doesn’t. Instead, you have to go into that pop-up menu and choose Reset [your workspace name].

Getting Sharp Edges on Your Stroke Layer Effect

If you’ve applied a large stroke using the Stroke layer effect (under the Edit menu) or Stroke layer style (by clicking on the Add a Layer Style icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and choosing Stroke from the pop-up menu), you’ve probably already noticed that the edges start to get rounded, and the bigger you make the stroke, the rounder they get. So, what’s the trick to nice, sharp straight edges? Just switch the Stroke position or location to Inside.

White Balance Quick Fix

If you have an image whose white balance is way off, and you didn’t shoot it in RAW, try this: go under the Image menu, under Adjustments, and choose Match Color. When the Match Color dialog appears, just turn on the Neutralize checkbox in the Image Options section. It works better than you’d think for most white balance problems (plus, you can write an action to do all that for you).

Change Ruler Increments

If you want to quickly change the unit of measure in your ruler (say, from pixels to inches or from centimeters to millimeters), just Right-click anywhere inside the Rulers and choose your new unit of measurement from the pop-up menu that appears.

Using “Scrubby Sliders”

Anytime you see a numerical field in Photoshop (like the Opacity field in the Layers panel, for example), you can change the setting without typing in a number, or dragging the tiny slider. Instead. click directly on the word “Opacity” and drag left (to lower the opacity) or right (to increase it). This is very fast, and totally addictive, and if you’re not using it yet, you’ve got to try it. There’s no faster way to make quick changes (also, press-and-hold the Shift key while using it, and it goes even faster).

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