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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Using Actions to Add Keyboard Shortcuts

After some tough Photoshop artistic challenges, you might already know how valuable keyboard shortcuts are—especially ones such as F7, which is used to hide and display the Layers palette.

Well, Contrast/Brightness was demoted a few versions ago, and I use it a lot for special effects, such as those found in some of these screen figures. The drawback is that I could have a birthday while wading through Image, Adjustments, Brightness/Contrast... accessing it from the main menu just takes me too far away from my work.

The good news is that Photoshop CS now lets you assign your own keyboard shortcuts to items that don't currently have keyboard shortcuts (from the main menu, choose Edit, Keyboard Shortcuts). The bad news is that very few keyboard shortcut combinations are available because just about every possible shortcut combination is already in use for one feature or another. You can attempt to wade through all the possible combinations until you find one that doesn't display a warning that it's already in use, or you can consider making an Action as an alternative solution.

So let's invent a Photoshop Action that assigns Brightness/Contrast to the F11 key—a key few people use in Photoshop.

Actions for Keyboard Shortcuts

  1. Open the Actions palette from the Window menu. Click on the menu flyout button (circled in Figure 3.45), and then choose New Action. In the New Action dialog box, type Brightness/Contrast in the Name field, leave Set at its default, assign the action a function key (F11), and then click on Record.

  2. Figure 3.45Figure 3.45 Record an action that is activated with a function key.

  3. Click on the menu flyout button again on the Actions palette, and then choose Insert Menu Item, as shown in Figure 3.46. The dialog box stays onscreen.

  4. Figure 3.46Figure 3.46 Later in this book you'll learn to create really fancy Actions, but for now, we want Brightness/Contrast to pop up at a keystroke!

  5. Follow the numbered callouts in Figure 3.47. The first step is to reconfirm the Insert Menu item. As you can see in this figure, you need to mouse your way to the desired command. Choose Image, Adjustments (callout 2 in the figure).

  6. Click on Brightness/Contrast (callout 3), and then click on OK in the Insert Menu Item dialog box (callout 4).

  7. Finally, click on the STOP button at the bottom of the Actions palette (callout 5). You're done. In fact, you can close the Actions palette now, and the command will work!

Coming up: Selections versus masks. Don't put your money on a winner yet....

Figure 3.47Figure 3.47 A few simple steps make the Brightness/Contrast command pop up when you press F11.

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