How to Avoid Keyboard Collisions in Photoshop Elements 11

Photoshop Elements 11 has a little conflict in its methods. With so many ways of doing things, sometimes you may have to fiddle with Elements to get it to do what you want. For example, when you press the Shift key, how does Elements know whether you want to create a perfect square or add to a selection?

Or, what if you want to delete part of a selection while also drawing from the center outward? Both actions require the use of the Alt key (Option key on the Mac). There's a way out of this keyboard madness, and the following sections help you find it.

Add a perfectly square or circular selection

To add a perfectly square or round selection to an existing selection, follow these steps:

  1. Hold down the Shift key and drag when using the Rectangular or Elliptical Marquee tool.

    Your selection is unconstrained.

  2. While you drag, keeping your mouse button pressed, release the Shift key for just a moment and then press and hold it again.

    Your unconstrained selection suddenly snaps into a constrained square or circle.

  3. Release the mouse button before you release the Shift key.

    If you don’t release the mouse button before you release the Shift key, the selection shape reverts to its unconstrained form.

You can bypass the keyboard shortcuts in the preceding steps list by using the various selection buttons on the left side of the Tool Options to add, subtract, or intersect to and from your selections.

Delete from an existing selection while drawing from the center out

To delete part of a selection while drawing from the center out, follow these steps:

  1. Position your mouse cursor in the center of a selection; hold down the Alt key (Option key on the Mac) and drag when using the Rectangular or Elliptical Marquee tool.

  2. While you drag, keeping your mouse button pressed, release the Alt key (Option key) for just a moment and then press and hold it again.

    You’re now drawing from the center outward.

  3. Release the mouse button before you release the Alt key (Option key).

Use this technique when you’re selecting a doughnut, a tire, an inflatable swim ring, or other circular items that have holes in the middle, as shown.

[Credit: ©istockphoto.com/ericmichaud Image #3920691]
Credit: ©istockphoto.com/ericmichaud Image #3920691
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