I was working on images for my next book this past weekend and the thought occurred to me that my workflow is extremely dependent on keyboard shortcuts. I use them in Lightroom to add images to my catalogs. I use them to export images into folders, I use them in Photoshop to resize, sharpen, save, and close my images. But there was one task that I couldn’t perform with a default shortcut and that’s converting the profile of my images from RGB to CMYK for my publisher. Luckily Photoshop has a great feature that has been around for several years that lets you assign your own keyboard shortcuts to any menu task.
Frankly I’m always amazed when I am helping friends with their Photoshop problems and find that, not only do they seldom use keyboard shortcuts, but they never realized they could make their own. Here’s how I set up my shortcut for converting profiles.
First of all, if you want to make a shortcut, you should first look to see if the menu command already has one assigned. This is as easy as clicking the menu, finding the command, and looking to the right side of the menu to see if it lists a shortcut. I know this might seem simple but you would be surprised how many people overlook this.
If there is no keyboard shortcut assigned, click the Edit menu and then click on Keyboard Shortcuts… or you can press CMD+ALT+SHIFT+K on a Mac or CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+K in Windows.
When the dialog box opens, scroll down the list to find the application menu command that you want to customize.
Now comes the hard part, trying to find a shortcut that hasn’t already been used. You have the option of using a single key or a combination of a key and the CMD (Mac)/CTRL(Windows), and or SHIFT keys. If you happen to pick something that is already in use, the dialog box will alert you with a triangle and exclamation point. It will also let you know what the shortcut is being used for so you can decide if it is something you will ever use.
In the image above you can see that I picked the CMD+P keys, which is the shortcut for printing. I certainly didn’t want to change that so I tried adding a SHIFT to the combo and found it to be free for use.
Having found something that works, I clicked on the Accept button and then OK. Now when I am cruising through my workflow I simply press SHIFT+CMD+P and up pops the Convert to Profile box.
The bottom line is that if your workflow involves a lot of repetitive tasks, you would be well served to start using keyboard shortcuts to help you navigate through your images. And if there isn’t one available, now you know how to make your own and boost your productivity.