Cheat Sheet

Photoshop Elements 9 All-in-One For Dummies

From Photoshop Elements 9 All-in-One For Dummies by Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

In Photoshop Elements 9, you find tools for editing, organizing, and sharing your images as prints or digital projects, and this Cheat Sheet highlights features you’ll want to use again and again. When you edit images, zooming in helps you make precise edits and zooming out enables you to check the results; use keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop Elements 9 to zoom in and out easily. The Smart Album feature in Photoshop Elements 9 organizes images automatically, and the Image Size dialog box enables you to adjust your digital images so they look great when you share them in print, on the Web, or on any screen.

Zooming with Keyboard Shortcuts in Photoshop Elements 9

For some quick zooms in and out of photos as you use Photoshop Elements 9, you can use keyboard shortcuts. Here are a few to keep in mind when you need to quickly change the zoom level:

  • Ctrl++ (Command++ on the Mac): Press the Ctrl (Command) key and the plus (+) key on your keyboard and you zoom in on a photo. Keep pressing the same keys to continue zooming in. By default, when you press these keys, the photo and the Image window zoom together.

  • Ctrl+– (Command+– on the Mac): Press the Ctrl (Command) key and the minus (–) key and you zoom out. Again, the Image window zooms along with the photo.

  • Ctrl+Alt++ (Command+Option++ on the Mac): Press both the Ctrl (Command) and Alt (Option) keys and then press the plus (+) key. The photo zooms in, but the Image window stays fixed at one size.

  • Ctrl+Alt+– (Command+Option+– on the Mac): Press both the Ctrl (Command) and Alt (Option) keys and then press the minus (–) key. The photo zooms out, but the Image window stays fixed at one size.

  • Ctrl+0 (Command+0 on the Mac): Press the Ctrl (Command) key and then 0 (the zero key), and the photo zooms to fit the Image window.

  • Ctrl+spacebar (Command+spacebar on the Mac): This combination temporarily activates the Zoom In tool. In order for this shortcut to work on a Mac, you need to change the System Preferences and reallocate the Spotlight shortcut to another key combination.

  • Ctrl+Alt+spacebar (Command+Option+spacebar on the Mac): This combination temporarily activates the Zoom Out tool.

Organizing Images Automatically with a Photoshop Elements 9 Smart Album

In the Photoshop Elements 9 Organizer, you can perform a search based on a number of different criteria — and ultimately save the searches in a Smart Album. You can, for example, rate images with stars and choose to view all files with three or more stars, or maybe you changed camera models and want to show only the photos taken with your newest camera. You can search a catalog by metadata, location (Windows-only), or another criterion. Furthermore, you can combine searches, first searching for (say) a location and then searching the files within a given date range.

A Smart Album saves not only the search results but also a complex set of search criteria. You create a Smart Album in Photoshop Elements 9 by following these steps:

  1. Open the New menu in the Albums panel and choosing New Smart Album.

    The New Smart Album dialog box opens.

  2. Type a name for your new Smart Album and make selections for the search criteria below the Name text box.

  3. Click OK, and the Smart Album is listed above the albums in the Albums panel.

    After you create a Smart Album, Elements automatically updates the album with photos that meet your search criteria.

Choosing an Image Resolution for Print or Screen in Photoshop Elements 9

When you print digital images or share them on onscreen, choosing the right resolution for your output is of paramount importance. Good ol’ 72-ppi images can be forgiving, and you can get many of your large files scrunched down to 72 ppi for Web sites and slide shows.

Printing images is another matter. Among the many different printing output devices, resolution requirements vary. For a starting point, look over the recommended resolutions for various output devices listed in the following table.

In Photoshop Elements 9, you can select the right resolution for an image in the Image Size dialog box. To access the Image Size dialog box, choose Image→Resize→Image Size.

Avoid resampling up (upsampling) or risk image degradation. When you upsample, you set the new resolution to one that’s higher than the original image resolution without making the relative reduction in width and height dimensions.

Output Device Optimum Acceptable Resolution
Desktop color inkjet printers 300 ppi 180 ppi
Large-format inkjet printers 150 ppi 120 ppi
Professional photo lab printers 300 ppi 200 ppi
Desktop laser printers (black and white) 170 ppi 100 ppi
Magazine quality — offset press 300 ppi 225 ppi
Screen images (Web, slide shows, video) 72 ppi 72 ppi

Editing Photos for Online Albums in Photoshop Elements 9

Online albums on social networking sites like Facebook are a popular way to share photos. In Photoshop Elements 9, four adjustments are all you need to improve pictures taken with cell phones, point-and-shoot cameras, and professional digital SLR cameras.

Obviously you can make more refinements using artistic effects, selecting areas of a photo for brightness adjustments, using additional color correction tools, and other options. However, understanding the following adjustments is really all you need to improve images for displaying your pictures onscreen, using albums on social networks or other online tools:

  • Levels: The Levels adjustment is used to change brightness values for highlights, shadows, and midtones. Make this adjustment first.

  • Shadow/Highlight Filter: Your second adjustment, which you find by choosing Enhance→Adjust Lighting→Shadows/Highlights.

  • Hue/Saturation. You use the Hue/Saturation adjustment when you need to correct color. The tool can reduce or increase saturation.

  • Sharpen: A lot of amateur photos are on the soft side, and a little sharpening as a final step can make them a little snappier.

Use these tools in Photoshop Elements in the order they’re listed, although you may need to make only a single adjustment when preparing photos for your Facebook albums. Perhaps a Levels adjustment is enough to add some snap and proper brightness to your image. Each photo is different and the appearance of the original photo dictates how much editing you need to make.

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