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Photoshop Elements >

Tools >

1 - Introduction

(Photoshop Elements 11 & Later)

Here's the layout of the tools.

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Tool Names

If you hover the cursor over a tool icon, the name of the tool appears.

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Select a Tool

Click the icon of a tool to select it.

The icon will darken.

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Zoom Tool Not Selected Zoom Tool Selected

A Tool Is Always Selected

A tool is selected at all times.

If you're not using a tool, "park" the tools on the Zoom tool by pressing z.

Keyboard Shortcuts

The tools have keyboard shortcuts.

As mentioned, if you hover over a tool icon, the name of the tool appears.

Look for the letter in the parentheses after the name of the tool.

For example, z is the shortcut for the Zoom tool.

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Press z to select the Zoom tool.

Go to Shortcuts.

Tool Categories

Adobe has attempted to sort the tools into logical categories.

Below, I list the Move tool in with the Zoom and Hand tools (yellow area).

The category names below are my own.

Photoshop Elements is a powerful program.

So, there are lots of tools.

Don't worry.

You won't use most of them!

The tools are described briefly in subsequent sections, including links to articles and tutorials.

The Tools

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Navigation Tools:

• Zoom

• Hand

• Move

Selection Tools:

• Rectangular Marquee & Elliptical Marquee

• Lasso, Magnetic Lasso, Polygonal Lasso

• Quick Selection, Selection Brush, Magic Wand

Retouching Tools:

• Red Eye Removal

• Spot Healing & Healing

• Smart Brush & Smart Detail Brush

• Clone Stamp & Pattern Stamp

• Blur, Sharpen, Smudge

• Sponge, Dodge, Burn

Mish Mash Tools:

• Brush, Impressionist, Color Replacement

• Eraser, Background Eraser, Magic Eraser

• Paint Bucket

• Gradient

• Eyedropper

• Custom Shape

• Type

• Pencil

Crop, Straighten, Etc.:

• Crop

• Recompose

• Cookie Cutter

• Straighten

Click below to learn about the tool categories.

Or, read on for more about tools in general.

Tool Options

Every tool has options.

Click the Zoom tool.

The icon looks like a magnifying glass.

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To see the options for the Zoom tool, click the Tool Options icon in the bottom-left corner of your screen.

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Here's the tool options for the Zoom tool.

We won't learn how to use the tools here.

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Plus & Minus

Many tools have a plus and minus icons in Tool Options.

For example, the Zoom tool has plus and minus buttons.

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If you click +, and click your photograph, it will get bigger.

If you click –, and click your photograph, it will get smaller.

Press & Hold Alt Instead

When editing, you'll often need to go back-and-forth between plus and minus.

Clicking the plus and minus icons is cumbersome.

You can make a plus into a minus more easily.

Press and hold Alt (Option on a Mac).

Tool Families

Many of the tools are members of tool families.

Click the Brush tool.

The icon looks like a brush with a blue tip.

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Look at Tool Options at the bottom of your screen.

If you don't see the tool options for the Brush tool, click the Tool Options icon in the bottom-left corner of your screen.

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Here's the tool options for the Brush tool.

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On the left end, you'll see three tools.

They're the members of the Brush tool family.

1) Brush Tool

2) Impressionist Brush Tool

3) Color Replacement Tool

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Help

If you're online, click the question-mark icon in the upper-right corner of Tool Options for help.

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Close Tool Options

Click the minimize icon in the upper-right corner of Tool Options to close Tool Options.

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Let's look at the tools.