Automate With Custom Keyboard Shortcuts

I’m a huge proponent of keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop.  I use them all the time to quickly switch tools, create new layers, print my images, and a ton of other general tasks.  I don’t even come close to knowing all of them but I do have my favorites that I have memorized over time.  One task that I have to do a lot of these days is converting my images to a different color profile for my books so they can be printed in CMYK. Unfortunately there is no keyboard shortcut for this operation.

When I am working on a book, I will use this command about a hundred times. Since I like to work fast I figured it was high time that this menu function get its own keyboard shortcut.  Luckily this is a very easy operation in Photoshop.  I’m not sure which version started allowing for custom shortcuts but I can tell you that it is a fantastic feature that is pretty darn easy to set up.

The first thing to do is to open the Custom Keyboard Shortcut dialog box. You can acces it though the menu or by using the keyboard shortcut, CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+K.  Once it’s open, just look for the command that you want to add a shortcut to.  Each menu item is listed so it’s just a matter of locating it.

To add a shortcut, just click in the vacant area of that item in the same location that the other shortcuts are. A small text window will appear. The next step is to type in the shortcut that you want to use.  Here’s where it gets a little tricky.  There are already a lot of shortcuts already in use so you can either use one that you might never use in your day-to-day work, or get creative and come up with a unique one. If you type in one that is already being used you will get a warning message alerting you to which command that keyboard shortcut is already associated with.  You can go ahead and use it or try again.

In my case, I opted to go with OPT+CMD+Q, which actually let’s me activate it using just two fingers (I press the CMD and OPT keys at the same time with my thumb and use my index finger to press the Q key).

Now I can quickly convert my files to CMYK and move on to the next image with just a couple of quick keystrokes.

So next time you find yourself using a menu item a lot and it doesn’t have a shortcut, start working faster and smarter by making your own.

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