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Creating Your Own Custom Crop Tools

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I know, we just learned how to use the Crop tool and now we're jumping into an advanced technique: creating your own custom tools. The reason is, it fits with what we're already doing. Although it's more of an advanced technique, it's not complicated. In fact, once you set it up, it will save you time and money. What we're going to do is 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'll create a 5 x 7, an 8 x 10, a 6 x 4, or whatever Crop tool we want. Then, when we want to crop to 5 x 7, all we have to do is grab the 5 x 7 Crop tool. 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 palette (shown here). By default, five Crop Tool Presets are already there, all at 300 ppi. That's great if you need these sizes, at 300 ppi; but if you don't, you might as well drag these Tool Presets onto the Trash icon at the bottom of the palette, 'cause if you don't need 'em, they just get in the way. (Also, make sure that Current Tool Only is checked at the bottom of the palette so you see only the Crop tool presets, and not the Presets for every tool.)
Step Two. Go up to the Options bar and enter the dimensions for the first tool you want to create (in this example, we create a Crop tool that crops to a wallet size area). In the Width field, type 2. Press the Tab key to jump to the Height field and type 2.5 (as shown here). Note: If you have your Rulers set to inches under the Units sections in Photoshop's Units & Rulers Preferences, when you press the Tab key, Photoshop automatically inserts “in” after your numbers, indicating inches.
Step Three. Go to the floating Tool Presets palette (the one you opened in Step One) and click the New Tool Preset button at the bottom of the palette (it looks like the New Layer button in the Layers palette). This brings up the New Tool Preset dialog where you can name your new preset. Name it “Crop to Wallet Size” and click OK.
Step Four. This new tool is added to the Tool Presets dialog (as shown here).
Step Five. Continue this process of typing in new cropping dimensions in the Crop tool's Options bar until you've created a set of custom Crop tools for the crop sizes you personally use the most. Make sure you make the names descriptive (add Portrait or Landscape, for example, where necessary).
Step Six. After you create Tool Presets for all the custom Crop tools you'll need, chances are they won't be in the order you want them (it just works out that way). To reorder the tools the way you'd like them to appear, go under the Edit menu and choose Preset Manager. When the dialog appears, choose Tools from the Preset Type pop-up menu, and scroll until you see the Crop tools you created. To reorder your tools, just click-and-drag them to where you want.
Step Seven. After your tools are in your preferred order, you can close the Tool Presets palette because you don't actually need it to choose your tools. That's because there's an easier way: When you choose the Crop tool in the Toolbox, you can access your custom Crop tool presets from the Options bar. Just click on the first icon from the left (as shown at left). A pop-down library of tools appears and you can choose the one you want from there. As soon as you click on one, you see the Options bar change to reflect the proper measurements, and now you can drag out the cropping marquee and it will be fixed to the exact dimensions you chose for that tool. Imagine how much time and effort this is going to save (really, close your eyes and imagine. Mmmmmm, Tool Presets. Yummy).
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