Photoshop Elements Tips 1

One of the goals for my blog is to pass on some tips and hints I have come across for doing things faster or better in Photoshop Elements. I read a lot of magazines and books on digital photography. Most of my students don’t have the time to do that. What I hope to do here is pass on some of these tips.

I do introduce a few keyboard shortcuts in my classes, but I generally leave it to the students to discover others on their own based on their needs and interest. Here are few hints to get going. I will add others in future posts.

Quickly Zoom to Fit on Screen or Actual Pixels (100%) 

To quickly set Fit on Screen, double click on the Hand Tool. To quickly zoom into Actual Pixels or 100%, double click on the Zoom Tool.

Quickly Select the Move Tool 

You can almost always quickly select the Move Tool by holding the Ctrl Key. Once you let go of the Ctrl Key Elements reverts back to whatever tool you were using. 

Easily Explore Blending Modes

 To quickly and easily cycle through layer blending modes to see how they affect the image, do the following. Select the Move Tool, and then select your layer. Press and hold the Shift key, and press the + key. Each time you press the + key the Blending Mode is changed. Pressing the minus sign key reverses the direction. 

Enlarging the Preview in the Filter Gallery

The Filter Gallery is great for playing with various filters and seeing how they interact with each other. Bring up the gallery by clicking on Filter > Filter Gallery on the Menu. To see a larger preview than what is shown initially, click on the triangle button facing upwards, just left of the OK button. This hides the list of filters and enlarges the preview of the filter you are currently working with.

Removing Stray Pixels in a Selection

Sometimes when making a selection with the Magic Wand, some pixels are not selected and are seen flashing on and off. To select these pixels, click on Select > Modify > Smooth and enter a Radius of 1; then click OK. The stray pixels should now be selected. 

Controlling the Magic Wand

The setting selected for the Eyedropper Tool also affects how the Magic Wand samples colors. The Color Picker has the following Sample Size options – Point Sample, 3×3 Average, and 5×5 Average. Thus, if the Color Picker is set to 5×5 Average, the Magic Wand will use that larger range of pixels to make its selection. So, if the Magic Wand is not working as you expected, check the Sample Size options you have set for the Eyedropper.  

Sample Colors Anywhere on the Desktop 

One of the uses of the Eye Dropper Tool is to set the Foreground Color. Normally you click somewhere in your open image to select that particular color. However, you can sample any color that is visible on your screen. Select the Eyedropper Tool, click on your image somewhere and drag the mouse to anywhere on your desktop, for example an open document. Once you are over the desired color, release the mouse button.   


3 thoughts on “Photoshop Elements Tips 1

  1. Don, this is a great idea and you have some very helpful tips on your first blog. I hadn’t used the Filter Gallery before and am very glad to know about it. Keep it up!


  2. Hi Don:
    Great idea to blog & write about tips, I will print & keep them handy. Good job! I’ve signed up for your Elements class starting on Wed. at SBAS & your projects class starting next week at SBAS. Looking forward to more tips & learning new things in class.


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