Adobe Photoshop is an incredible application that has branched out from its initial photo-editing beginnings to be a full-fledged design tool for many users. Still, it can be a big challenge for new users to create great designs quickly, and you may often find yourself doing repetitive tasks over and over. Wouldn’t it be great if you could save yourself a bit of time and create better photos and designs at the same time? These 5 tips can help.
1. Learn the Keyboard Shortcuts
Do you spend a lot of your time in Photoshop clicking around the interface with a mouse? Chances are you can save yourself a lot of time by learning the keyboard shortcuts. Instead of clicking the brush tool, for example, you can simply click the B key. Instead of increasing or decreasing the brush size with the mouse, you can simply use the [ and ] keys. To view the entire list of Photoshop keyboard shortcuts, click Edit and click Keyboard Shortcuts. You can even edit them to your liking. Shutterstock.com provides this list of 10 Time-Saving Photoshop Shortcuts to get you started.
2. Use Photoshop Actions
Photoshop Actions are a group of steps saved together, so that you can easily apply a multi-step routine and save yourself time. Instead of applying a blur filter, then an unsharp mask, then boosting the color, for example, a Photoshop Action can handle these all in one step. You can save even more time by using pre-existing actions created by others. Check out this list of 40 Real Time Saver Photoshop Actions to get started. Here is a YouTube video on how to Install, Use, and Manage Photoshop Actions:
3. Use and Organize Your Custom Fonts
While both Windows and Mac OS X come with a pretty good selection of fonts, it pays to branch out a bit. There are a variety of sites offering excellent free and paid fonts, so check out our article on how to Dress Up Your Documents with Better Fonts for more details.
Of course, once you have a bunch of new fonts installed, you can also save time by organizing them properly. Take the time to explore the Font Book app on the Mac or the Font Control Panel in Windows. Now, instead of stumbling around to find just the right font, you can have a favorites list ready to go.
4. Use Templates
If you use Photoshop for design work, you probably find yourself creating the same size document each time, or changing the resolution to the same number each time. You might even re-use the same background or text for multiple designs. Instead of starting from scratch each time, save a copy to use as a template. Here is how:
- Click File, then Save as, and choose to save the template as a Photoshop PSD file.
- Give the file a name like “Design Template” to differentiate it from design projects.
- When you are ready for a new design, open the “Design Template” file, but you will want to save a copy to avoid changing your template.
- Click File, then Save as, and give the design a new name.
- Close the template file and work on the new design file, keeping your template intact.
5. Use Print Presets
When you go to print your Photoshop projects, you probably find that you have to tweak settings each time. For example, you may wish to print a proof using low-quality grayscale settings in order to save your inkjet cartridges while you test the layout. Once you are satisfied, you can then print it at the maximum quality settings. You can create Print Presets in Photoshop to automate these settings for each situation. Here is how:
- Click the Start button and click Devices and Settings.
- Right-click your printer and click Printer Preferences.
- Change the settings you wish to use, then click Save as and give the setting a name, such as “Draft test”.
- Repeat for any other presets you wish to create.
- When you go to print, simply click Properties and choose your preset.
- From within Photoshop or any other application, click File and then Print.
- Click Print Settings, then choose the settings you would like to change for the preset.
- Click the Presets dropdown menu, and choose Save Current Settings as Preset. Give it a descriptive name such as “Draft test”.
- When you go to print, simply click the Print Settings box and then choose from the Presets dropdown box.
It may seem a bit strange to spend extra time out of your day learning time-saving tips. If you use Photoshop on a regular basis, however, you will find that saving a few seconds or even a few minutes here and there will add up to hours of time saved before too long.
Do you have some time-saving tips of your own? Be sure to share them in the COMMENTS.