Photoshop Tips & Tricks for Web Designers

There are hundreds of tools and features in Photoshop. Learning the basics requires an investment of time and mental energy. Moving beyond the basics into true mastery requires even more time and an adventurous spirit. Of course, it helps to pull on the countless years of accumulated experience that millions of Photoshop users have amassed. That’s what this article is all about: distilling the useful tidbits learned by years of poking, prodding and just having fun experimenting with this great tool.

Most of the tips presented will work in Photoshop 7, CS (8) or CS2 (9), but in some cases there are techniques that only work if you have certain tools and features. The screen captures were taken in Photoshop 7 and CS2.

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Layers lie at the heart of Photoshop mastery, from simple tasks to advanced techniques. So I’ll start here with some layer tips and tricks to make your time in front of Photoshop more productive.

Layer Shortcuts

First, remember you can right-click (control-click on the Mac) and get a context-sensitive menu. This is handy in a few different ways. First, if you have a multi-layered image, you can right-click within your image and you’ll get a pop-up list to choose which layer to make active. This can be very handy in designing mock-ups of web page layouts—for instance, when working with text on top of buttons on top of backgrounds.

Zac Van Note

Zac Van NoteZac earned his BFA in graphic design at New MexicoStateUniversity. In the years before college, he wrote, drew, and published comic books. In the years since college, he's worked as a graphic designer for three large B2B distributors creating catalogs, web sites, and multimedia presentations.

Since 1999, Zac has taught hundreds of classes at the University of New Mexico and Santa FeCommunity College, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, HTML and much more. He has also contributed to several Dreamweaver books as an author and technical editor for New Riders/Peachpit and Thomson-Course Technologies. The site he created for his students,, is a good reference for anyone interested in design and graphics.

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