Context Menus in Photoshop



Aug 8, 2020
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There are many areas of Photoshop that remain a mystery to most users. I've been using this application for over 20 years and I'm sure there are entire sections I remain oblivious of. One common feature that alludes quite a few of us who dabble in graphics and photo editing has to do with what's referred to as "context menus." When we create and edit, we're so attuned to working a specific way, whether it be through the available menu items at the top of the application or through the tools available over on the left. In today's post, I'd like to show you another helpful method for getting to some options as quickly as possible. I'll do this through a quick example. I'll work though one and then I'll let you explore the remainder.

To start off, I'll open a random picture in Photoshop. This isn't necessary, as I can just create an empty document, but working with a photo makes things more fun. Once that's done, I'll draw a square over part of the image with the Rectangular Marquee Tool.


If you aren't aware, to draw a perfect square, you'll need to hold down your Shift key as you click and drag.

Next, I'll choose the Brush Tool from the toolbar on the left. Once that tool is active, I'll right-click anywhere on the image I want. The result of that click is the Brush Tool context menu. Take a look.


Basically, I get many of the tool's options in one nice clean panel. I don't have to use another panel or the options bar up top, which makes changing settings a lot faster and easier. Many tools in Photoshop offer context menus and as I said above, I'll let you explore them. All you need to do is choose the tool and then right-click to see if it's got one.

To close a context menu once it's been opened, click your Enter button on your keyboard.

To continue on with this example, I'll choose some random settings in this context menu and then I'll paint inside the square selection I made earlier. To paint, I'll press and hold me left mouse button. As I paint, I'll notice that nothing makes it past the edge of the selection.


Pretty cool, right? I'm not sure if you knew this or not, but you can paint inside any type of selection and you'll get the results I got. This is helpful when you make much more complex selections. This can be done on the same layer as the original image or a new layer. Doing this on a new layer will keep things separated, so that's probably a good idea. Your painting won't be destructive.

To deselect the selection, I can either choose the Rectangular Marquee Tool again and click anywhere on the image or I can use the Select > Deselect menu item to do so. I'll get the same result.


Here's what it'll look like.


So that's pretty much it. I merely wanted to show you that there's such a thing as a right-click context menu feature that can make your life easier while working in Adobe Photoshop. Comments and questions are welcome.
Context Menus in Photoshop was posted on 02-23-2021 by EmeraldHike in the Photoshop forum.

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