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I’ve been kicking around the idea of doing a series of screencasts that demonstrate some handy tips and techniques to help people be more productive in Photoshop. It’s been a few years since I’ve written any sort article on this topic, and this time around, I figured a screencast would be better suited.

If I recall correctly, the first time I used Photoshop was in multimedia class in grade 10, and I’m pretty certain it was version 3. Needless to say, I’ve been using the app for nearly two decades, yet I still find myself learning new ways to speed up my work flow, and often stumble upon handy little settings to make my life easier. Just last week, Orman Clark mentioned that he had found a way to remove the “copy” from being added to duplicated layers and groups, which served as the motivation to actually getting this screencast out the door.

Most of the ground covered in this screencast is fairly basic, and mostly to do with setting up the user interface. But hopefully I’ve mentioned a thing or two that you weren’t aware of. If you find this screencast useful and/or would like to see me present more of this type of content, be sure to let me know in the comments, or on Twitter.


Removing the “copy” text from duplicated layers is exactly what I was looking for earlier. Thanks!

As for copying and pasting layer styles, I’ve added keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop for them to speed things up. I use CTRL + CMD + C for copy and CTRL + CMD + P for paste. I also combine that with the Move Tool with Auto-Select enabled so I can simply click on the pixels of the layers to select them.

I often forget that you can completely customize the keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop. Adding bindings for copy and paste layer styles is a must, as I do this all the time. Thanks for the tip!

I’m not really a fan of auto-select for the Move tool, though. I had it enabled for a while, but in big documents, it can be easy to lose your place in the layers palette. Might give it another try, though.

I don’t know how I would design in Photoshop without the auto-select option but I understand the concern about the layer management when using it. To be honest, I have never organised layers in a Photoshop file (yep, I’m THAT guy) because I find that it hinders my design process by slowing it down way too much.

Also, I’ve almost always been the sole designer working on something but with my latest project I’m going to have to make sure I organise layers or I won’t be taken seriously! The removal of the copy text is going to be so handy as I already found it frustrating after 5 minutes of actually trying to organise them.

Thanks for the tips Matt. I’m not a big grid user, may have to change that. Also, the copy added to the layers also bugged the hell out of me every time.

Coming from a Fireworks background, the biggest issue I have with Photoshop is the need to babysit the layer panel. I can create a 5000 layer document in Fw without ever even touching the Layer panel. Productive to say the least.

Aside from that Ps is really starting to grow on me. I have a feeling that I’ll be switching to Ps in a few years if Adobe doesn’t start making decent progress with Fw.

This post is absolutely perfect for potential switchers like me. Thank you for documenting these tips. I really appreciate it.

Bravo Matt, I love the Application Frame tip! Also being able to close the New Effects when pasting.

My only issue is that I have CS4 and I don’t have the option to deselect the “add copy to copied layers”. Any suggestions?

thanks for the tips

Thanks for the tip Matt!
Never thought you can remove the “copy” layers, and the expand of layers styles. This is really helpful 🙂

An alternative to using the Move Tool with Auto-Select enabled is to just hold CMD and click the element you want—same functionality but on a per use basis.

This was fantastic. Really how you build this series up in the future. Small things like this help tremendously when building a larger skill set. Thanks Matt!!!

Hey Matt, nice video. I just thought that it was worth mentioning the “Snap to Pixels” option. At roughly 4 minutes, you talk about using the one pixel grid as the method to getting pixel perfect edges. I am one of those people that likes to design, structurally, at full scale. Of course, I do all my detail work at 2400-3200%, but it is nice to be able to get “perfect” results full scale too. Additionally, it is nearly impossible for me to nail the scaling without seeing the overall layout while super zoomed on a grid. You may already be aware, just didn’t mention, but you can set the “Snap to Pixels” option via the geometry options. The plus with this is that you don’t HAVE to snap to grid OR even view the grid if you don’t want to. Thanks for sharing!!

In the move tool set auto select to layers, leaving auto select unchecked. You can use it when you want to. Ctrl + click on what you want in the canvas to select the layer. Handy.

Hey Matt,

I have just started working at a Company that transforms everyday photographs into Large Scale Canvas Wall Art. We get a lot of questions asking if we can alter the image or remove certain things like spots and blemishes. Do you have any tips or advice regarding this? Or would you be interested in writing a short guest blog on “Enhancing Photos for Print”? We would love to have you contribute to our website!