Another Photoshop prank

Thanks to a feature added in Photoshop 7, you can now pull one of my favorite Adobe Illustrator pranks on your Photoshop coworkers or friends that will drive them just this side of insane. Adobe put a pop-up list of language dictionaries in the Character palette for hyphenation and spelling. The simple trick is to change the dictionary from English USA to English UK. The next time they create some paragraph type, or run the spell checker…well, you get the picture. I’ve pulled this prank and in each instance, if they see the word English when the glance at the palette, they assume it’s correct, and so far they’ve never noticed it was changed from English USA to English UK. Eventually, they just give up and do a full reinstall of Photoshop. It’s a great way to turn somebody’s day upside-down.

Rotating through the Pens

In Photoshop, you can only toggle between two of the Pen tools found in the Toolbox with a keyboard shortcut: the regular Pen tool and the Freeform Pen tool. To toggle between these two, press Shift-P. However, when a path is selected, you can actually access other pens that don’t even have keyboard shortcuts. For example, if you have an active path and you move the Pen tool over a line segment–look at your pointer–it changes to the Add Anchor Point tool. Then, move the Pen tool over an anchor point and it changes into the Delete Anchor Point tool.

Loading Action Sets

When loading Action sets in older versions of Photoshop, you had to do more digging than an archaeologist to find them (they were buried deep within your drive, nested inside folder after folder). Not so in the latest versions of Photoshop; now they’re just one click away. Here’s how to load Actions: From the Window menu, choose Actions to bring up the Actions palette. From the palette’s drop-down menu, choose one of the Action sets at the bottom. They’ll appear as a folder in your Actions palette. Click the right-facing triangle beside the folder’s name to show the contents of the folder. Scroll down to the Action you want and click on it. Then click the Play button (the right-facing triangle at the bottom of the Actions palette) to run it. Pretty sweet! Some of the Actions are pretty decent. Others are… well, let’s just say they rhyme with "fame."

If it doesn’t have a keyboard shortcut, give it one!

One of the coolest things about Photoshop CS may well be the ability to assign a keyboard shortcut to just about anything. For example, if you find yourself using a particular filter all the time (such as Gaussian Blur or Unsharp Mask), you can assign a keyboard shortcut for either one of them by going under the Edit menu and choosing Keyboard Shortcuts. This brings up a dialog box where you can choose whether you want to create a shortcut for a menu command, a tool, or a palette (from the pop-up menu at the top). Once you choose one of those categories, find the command you want to assign a shortcut, click on it, and type in the shortcut you want to use. Adding the shortcut is easy, but finding one that’s not already taken is the hard part because there are already so many. Why, even the Keyboard Shortcut command has a keyboard shortcut. It’s Shift-Option-Command-K.