A few useful reminders about Photoshop CS4

I’ve previously noted the following points, but as I continue to encounter folks who haven’t found this info, I thought it would be worth repeating:

  1. If you’re using Photoshop CS4 and can’t find Extract, Contact Sheet, Picture Package, Web Photo Gallery, you can download & install them: Mac, Win.
  2. If you want to create/edit a Curves adjustment layer in CS4 via a dialog box, you can use this panel (screenshot)*.
  3. If you don’t like the CS4 changes to keyboard shortcuts for channels, download this plug-in (Mac)/registry entry (Win).
  4. If touching your MacBook Pro trackpad produces unwanted canvas rotation/zooming, you can use this plug-in to disable that feature.
  5. You can drag and drop layers between document tabs in CS4; you just need to start the drag from the document surface, not from the Layers panel. (I know, the latter behavior should work, and we’ll work on improving it in the future.)

If I might ask a favor of you: if you hear people complaining about any/all of this stuff, please refer them to this URL (or directly to the ones linked above). I greatly appreciate your help in spreading useful info.

* In case you have trouble installing the panel via Extension Manager, you can download this plain-zipped version, then unzip it and drag the resulting “Curves – Dialog” folder into your “Adobe Photoshop CS4/Plug-Ins/Panels” directory.

23 thoughts on “A few useful reminders about Photoshop CS4

  1. Nice tips!
    This is a problem though with Photoshop (and Illustrator): they are so complex, it’s difficult to know all its functionality – even important things. I read Julianne’s blog notes, and it astounds me how many shortcuts and tricks there are…
    For the future, you should think of a way to make all these tricks easier to discover.
    [How, specifically? –J.]

  2. Again, thanks for making that Curves panel/box. It always saves me when I need to get detailed work done fast!

  3. Thanks for the drag between tabs tip. I’ve been swearing at CS4 while trying to drag from the Layers panel. You made my day.
    Also, why does the curves dialog box (Image > Adjustments > Curves) work differently than the Curves Adjustments panel? In the Adjustments panel, the eyedropper tool isn’t selected by default, and dragging the eyedropper tool over the image doesn’t circle the corresponding point on the curve like it does in the dialog. I often just want to see the the corresponding part of the curve as I drag around the image.

  4. Thanks for the reminder that the shortcuts plug-in exists. I’ve been trying for the last 5 months to get used to the new channel shortcuts, assuming that it would be better to go with the flow. I will now give up – because I still find it too much of a stretch, to get the Blue or when working in CMYK the Yellow and Black channels.
    There are still fortunately other ways to get the old adjustment layers dialog boxes, with their associated shortcuts, back.

  5. As a tip, when installing the panel in Vista, you should bring up Extension Manager from the start menu. Instead of clicking on it, you should right click and do a run as administrator. You may have to do this even if you are an administrator of the box.

  6. hey john,
    what happened to the selective quality compression in photoshop. there’s no longer a widget for selecting a channel for weighting in the optimize panel. has the workflow changed, or has the funcitonality been removed? thanks.
    [Unfortunately that functionality was removed during the redesign of Save for Web. We found that almost no one was using it. –J.]

  7. Hi,
    when I set my own shortcut for:
    New Adjustment Layer/Curves (cmd + shift + M) I get the adjustmentpanel.
    When I make an action for Adjustment Layer/Curves I get a dialog.
    Is this OK?
    Is it possible to make a shortcut to start
    “Adjust Curves Layer” from Your Curves-Dialog panel (so that the dialog open)?

  8. In Photoshop CS3>Automate>Multi PDF Files, the save for web function created smaller file sizes but with great results for web(big images). In Bridge CS4 I can’t get the file size down to what i used to get in CS3. When I make the files smaller, the images are too small for viewing on the web, when in CS3 there was no problem. What setting should I use on Bridge CS4 to achieve the same results as the save PDF for web function that used to be in Photoshop CS3? Please help! It used to just be one click..

  9. I have upgraded from Photoshop 7 to CS4. I was able to scan from my a3 scanner staight from 7 why can’t I do this using cs4?

  10. I just moved to CS4 tonight and so far so good. Couple little things to get used to.
    I was pretty disappointed by the way you drag between tabs. I couldn’t even figure it out until I read this. Watching the layers move out of alignment (even if only temporarily) as you drag to another tab is very disconcerting. CS3 had this worked out a lot better.
    Either way, thanks for explaining how to do it.

  11. I know we can create multipage PDFs from Bridge instead of Photoshop now, but in CS3 the sizes of the imported images in the PDF kept their original dimensions. In the new way, if we have images of differing dimensions, some images will be stretched and/or compressed, thereby, picelating it. We TRULY NEED to put that automate function for creating PDFs back into Photoshop or have the ability to keep Bridge from distorting our images. As professional designers, having your work distorted and pixelating is not a good thing. PLEASE add it back

  12. Hi
    I agree 100%. I am uninstalling CS4, and putting back CS3 for that reason alone. I never used Adobe Bridge before as I always used Automate PDF for multipage documents. In Bridge I only have preset pdf options, I tried changing things to get the page to not add borders to my file but gave up in the end. Why on earth did they remove an excellent function.. they can’t count on me for any further “upgrades” Bridge is a monster of a program and completely useless when you just “need to get things done” come on ADOBE put it back!

  13. I have downloaded the files for Extract and pattern maker and cannot get it to come up in PS4 with Windows 7.
    I have search and carefully done everything I find but it doesn’t work.
    Please help me get it to work.
    Thanks, Claudia

  14. I was trying to update from to bridge 3,7. every time I try it to activate the update it says close Bridge. It is already closed.Thought I would just reinstall everything but I can’t uninstall. It says close Bridge,which I already did.I have Windows 7 64 bit. Ever heard of this problem?

  15. Hi john, sorry to dig that one out, it’s about selective compression. Last year in a comment, we could read :
    mongo1515 — 5:50 PM on April 29, 2009
    what happened to the selective quality compression in photoshop.
    (…) functionality was removed during the redesign of Save for Web. We found that almost no one was using it. –J.]
    I’ve been introduced to FW lately (had to make a demo for it, never used it before).
    And one of the good things i was shown was the selective compression.
    The jpeg export in fw soon brings squares, but the ability to have PS jpeg export + selective compression (if well demoed), with the rise of handheld devices pleading for less bandwidth usage.

  16. hey, at my job, we’re still using cs4 (no cs5 yet..) and i just got a new computer, which means a fresh install of cs4. I’d like to download Use_Old_Shortcuts.zip but it appears your link to it is no longer active…? can you tell me where i can get this file?? thanks!
    [I’ll work on fixing the link (apparently broken during the WordPress transition). In the meantime, here are the Windows and Mac files. –J.]

  17. Thanks god man…. What a nightmare to create compilation of images into 1 pdf…. Bridge does not cut it for me….
    AWESOME POST thanks!
    Still wondering why one of the best functions (easy and efficient) was cut from cs2 to cs4….
    Thanks lots!

  18. Try as I have, I cannot find a setting in CS4 Bridge to adjust the output quality of jpegs for the Gallery export?
    Pressed every button in the gui and nothing changes the poor low quality export that I can find and I usually find it if it exists with this kid-press-everything attack.

  19. i call it … useless changes in new versions of adobe products.
    either in indesign, psd or illustrator. where is svg format save, web gallery, who needs bridge and why we should suffer because of adobe stupid promotion ideas… i dont like adobe and if i can change in future to new software i will. meanwhile its a standard in agencies but hope to find in future some company who know what logic thinking is….

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