Mastering Keyboard Shortcuts

5 Dec

2008

Nothing makes you look and feel more like a pro than mastering keyboard shortcuts. While beginners are searching through menus, your fingers will be flying across the keyboard and you’ll be ten steps ahead before they can apply their first command. In all of the Adobe applications, you can view shortcuts; in most (but sadly, not After Effects or Encore), you can edit them and add new ones.

1 A HELPING HAND
To learn the shortcuts for your favorite app, select its Help file from the Help menu; for example, in Photoshop, choose Help>Photoshop Help. Keyboard Shortcuts are always listed near the bottom, so scroll down. (It’s also a good idea to print out the Help pages.) The third time you use a command from a menu, ask yourself if it’s a command that you’ll use all the time; if so, force yourself to look up the shortcut and use it from then on. It may take a few attempts, but soon you’ll have it memorized.

2 EDITING SHORTCUTS IN PHOTOSHOP
In almost all the Adobe apps, you can edit shortcuts by choosing Edit>Keyboard Shortcuts from the menu (or use the shortcut, Shift-Option-Command-K [PC: Shift-Alt-Ctrl-K]), which will open the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog. Note: If you start editing the shortcuts in Photoshop right away, you’ll be changing the default set of shortcuts and that’s a little unsafe. So, we recommend that you click the Create a New Set Based on the Current Set of Shortcuts icon (to the left of the Trash icon), which will allow you to save a copy of the shortcuts and edit that instead.

3 COPY THE DEFAULTS
Photoshop will save the new set of keyboard shortcuts as a KYS file, which you can transfer from computer to computer (it’s also a good idea to back it up). If you use Photoshop for multiple, discrete purposes, consider saving various sets of shortcuts; for example, you could save one for print work and another for video work. That way, within each set, you can assign the F5 key (for instance) to do something different. You can switch from set to set via the pop-up menu at the top of the dialog.

4 SHORTCUTS FOR WHAT?
You can add a shortcut to almost any command in Photoshop. If you want to edit a shortcut for a tool rather than a menu item, simply choose Tools from the Shortcuts For pop-up menu.

5 ADDING A NEW SHORTCUT
Adding a new shortcut is easy: Just locate the command, click on its name, and type the shortcut you’d like to use for this command in the white field. Photoshop will warn you if you’ve chosen an illegal shortcut: one that Photoshop can’t understand or one that’s already assigned. It’s okay to reassign a shortcut if you want to; just make sure it’s one you won’t be needing.

6 INSTANT ACCESS TO BLUR
Add shortcuts for those commands you use most often; for example, we gave the Gaussian Blur filter a shortcut as we use it all the time. After you’ve finished making your changes, make sure you press the Save button (circled).

7 EDITING SHORTCUTS IN ILLUSTRATOR
The Keyboard Shortcuts dialog in Illustrator works almost exactly the same way as in Photoshop, with a couple of exceptions; for example, the Save button is on the right-hand side of the dialog.

8 PRINT THE SHORTCUTS
In addition, the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog in Illustrator has an Export Text button that, when clicked, will create a text file listing all of your shortcuts. You can view it in a text editor, such as Windows Notepad or TextEdit.

9 EDITING SHORTCUTS IN PREMIERE PRO
In Premiere Pro, we like to use markers, so let’s create shortcuts for that. In the Keyboard Customization dialog (Edit>Keyboard Customization), choose Panels from the second pop-up menu, twirl open the Source Monitor Panel group, and then add shortcuts for Go to Next Marker and Go to Previous Marker.

10 SHORTCUTS FROM NON-ADOBE PROGRAMS
Premiere Pro users who are transferring over from non-Adobe editing applications may wish to select one of the built-in shortcut sets, which mimic shortcuts for Avid Xpress DV and Final Cut Pro.

11 EDITING SHORTCUTS IN SOUNDBOOTH
In Adobe Soundbooth, make sure you click the Save As button (circled) before editing or adding shortcuts in the Edit Keyboard Shortcuts dialog. Adding a shortcut in Soundbooth is a little different from doing so in other apps: First you need to select the command, type the shortcut in the Press Shortcut text field at the bottom of the dialog, and then click the Assign button.

12 EDITING SHORTCUTS IN FLASH
Flash veers the farthest away from the standard workflow: While PC users will be able to edit keyboard shortcuts by choosing Edit>Keyboard Shortcuts, Mac users must choose Flash>Keyboard Shortcuts. To edit a shortcut in the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog, first duplicate the standard set by clicking the Duplicate Set icon (circled), then choose a set of commands from the Commands pop-up menu.

13 ADDING SPEEDY FLIPS
If like me, you’re driven bonkers when you can’t flip graphics in Flash without going to the menu, then why not add shortcuts to Flip Vertical and Flip Horizontal?

In the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog, choose Drawing Menu Commands from the Commands pop-up menu. Twirl open Modify then Transform. Click on Flip Vertical to select it, click the Plus button beside Shortcuts, then inside the Press Key field, type the shortcut you want to use. To save the shortcut, click on the Change button. Then just do the same for Flip Horizontal—with a different shortcut, of course. That’s all!

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