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Auto Select and Transform Controls

The Move tool is probably one of the most selected tools, but have you ever stopped to look at the options to the left of the contextual menu? Those ones to the right do all kinds of aligning but what about Auto Select and Show Transform Controls?


Auto select does exactly that, it auto selects whatever you click on. In the settings above it will select the Group that the item is in but this can be changed to ‘Layer’.

captured_Image.png[5] With this selected, when you click on an item within your image the layer will be automatically selected, handy if you have lots of layers and don’t know where something is, or if you are concentrating on arranging several items.

A word of warning, don’t forget to uncheck the box when you’ve finished, there’s nothing more frustrating than having everything where you want it, only to move it by accident. With that in mind, it seems like a lot of bother to go to to select a single layer, but there is a shortcut for this.

With the Move Tool selected, press and hold Ctrl (PC) or Cmd (Mac) and this will invoke the Auto Select Layer temporarily.

Next along is the Show Transform Controls and like the Auto Select it can be useful when arranging several items.captured_Image.png[7] What this does is invoke the Transform handles in the layer, or layers, you’re on. It works in exactly the same way as pressing Ctrl+T (PC) or Cmd+T (Mac).

This is great if you want to resize a lot of things in your image but for general use, not so good. Like the ‘conventional’ transform control you need to press Enter or click the checkmark to confirm your transformation, although not if you move the item without resizing.

captured_Image.png[9] If you have used Transform a lot previously an start to use the Show Transform Controls, be ready to see the above dialogue a few times. May be its just me, but I forget to confirm my transformations when I haven’t evoked the transform myself.

And there we are, two little check boxes that you’ll either love or hate depending on your workflow, but like so much with Photoshop, you may not need it often, but it’s nice to know its there when you do.

About Eric Renno (435 Articles)
Eric’s background in video editing with Adobe Premier led to his interest, and then obsession, with Photoshop. Starting TipSquirrel.com as a hobby he is proud to have gathered together and be a part of The Photoshop Nuts. Known as only “TipSquirrel” for two years, Eric ‘went public’ when he was a finalist in The Next Adobe Photoshop Evangelist competition. He’s also been a finalist in Deke’s Techniques Photoshop Challenge. While still taking on some freelance work, Eric has recently become a Lecturer at Peterborough’s Media and Journalism Centre where he enjoys sharing his knowledge as well as learning new skills. This realisation that he loves to teach has made Eric look at altering his career path.

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