Useful scaling techniques in Photoshop

In the last lesson, we learned the basics of resizing the view and scrolling an image, looked at how to zoom in and out using the Zoom tool, how to scroll through a picture using the Hand tool. We also got acquainted with the important parameters of the “View” section, which allow you to display the image in full screen or quickly switch to 100% image scale.

In this lesson we will learn several useful tricks and keyboard combinations that will help you save time and feel like a real professional when working with scaling and scrolling through the image.

As in the previous tutorial, I will use the Photoshop CS6 version, but this tutorial will also work for the Photoshop CC version.

Below is the image that is openly on my screen at the moment (portrait of a man from Shutterstock photobank):

Photo, open in the program Photoshop CS6.

As a logical conclusion and as a reminder, we will again look at important keyboard combinations from the previous lesson, and along with them we will learn new, less well-known techniques and useful tips when scaling and scrolling through images. Let’s start!

Zooming in and out of the keyboard

In order to bring the image closer from the center on a computer with a Windows PC operating system, press the key combination Ctrl + and the + icon. For Mac, you must press Command + and the + icon. When you press a key combination several times, the image will approach a certain amount.

In order to reduce the image from the center on a computer with a Windows PC operating system, press the key combination Ctrl + and the “-” icon. For the Mac operating system, respectively, you need to press the key combination Command + and the “-” icon. To remove an image by a certain amount, press the key combination several times.

“Show full screen”

In order to quickly move to such a scale level at which the entire image fits on the entire screen, press the key combination Ctrl + 0 (Win) / Command + 0 (Mac):

Press the key combination Ctrl + 0 (Win) / Command + 0 (Mac) to display the image in full screen

In order to immediately go to the 100% scale level for the most accurate viewing of image pixels, press Ctrl + 1 (Win) / Command + 1 (Mac):

Press the key combination Ctrl + 1 (Win) / Command + 1 (Mac) to go to 100% image viewing size

Selecting the Scale tool from the keyboard

In order to activate the Zoom Tool (Zoom Tool) – it is not necessary to select the corresponding icon on the toolbar, just press the Z key on the keyboard:

Press key Z to select the scale tool

Toggle between Zoom and Zoom

By default, the Zoom tool is set to zoom mode, which means that the image area you click on is approximated. To zoom out to the desired area, hold down the Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key. This action will lead to a temporary selection of the mode of reduction, and then click on the image to remove it. When you release the Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key, the Zoom tool will again return to the zoom mode:

Press and hold Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) to enable reduction mode. Release the key to return to zoom mode.

Temporary inclusion of the Scale tool

To temporarily select the Scale tool when working with another tool (for example, the Move Tool), press and hold the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + spacebar (Win) / Command + spacebar (Mac), then click on the image to bring it closer. As soon as you release the shortcut, the program will again make active the tool with which you worked before.

To temporarily select the Scale tool in zoom mode, press and hold Alt + spacebar (Win) / Option + spacebar (Mac), then click on the image to zoom out. To return to the instrument you previously worked with, simply release the key combination pressed.

You can also temporarily select the Scale tool by pressing and holding the Z key on the keyboard. Note that this action is different from simply pressing the Z key to quickly select the Scale tool, with the result that this tool remains active until you select another tool in the toolbar. If you press and hold the Z key, you will select the Scale tool temporarily. Hold down the key for at least a second and when you release it, the tool you worked with before will become active.

As long as you keep the Z key pressed, you can turn on the diminishing mode by simultaneously pressing and holding the Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key. By releasing the Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key (while still holding the Z key), you will return to the zoom mode, and by releasing the Z key as well, you will return to the tool that was active before.

Continuous scaling

After you have selected the Scale tool either on the toolbar, or using one of the keyboard shortcuts we studied earlier to temporarily turn on the tool, you can click on any area of ​​the image that you want to zoom in and hold the mouse button down. This action will lead to the fact that the approximation of the selected area will be held continuously towards the location of the cursor until you release the mouse button.

The same can be obtained by switching the “Scale” tool to reduction mode by any of the methods we have studied. Click on any area of ​​the image that you want to zoom out, and hold the mouse button down. The program will begin to continuously move the desired area away from the cursor until you release the mouse button.

Faster and more accurate zooming

For faster and more accurate zooming using the Zoom tool, click on the area you want to zoom in and hold the mouse button down and drag the cursor to the right. If you do this quickly, the image will come closer quickly. If you drag the cursor more slowly, then the approximation will be slower, but you can quite accurately adjust the degree of approximation.

Also, if you click and drag the mouse cursor quickly to the left, the image moves away very quickly from the place where you clicked the mouse. Slower moving the cursor to the left will allow you to more accurately control the degree of image reduction:

Click the mouse and drag the cursor left or right to quickly zoom in or out the image or drag the cursor more slowly for more precise control.

Another way to quickly zoom and fine-tune the degree of approximation or distance of the image is to hover the mouse over the place you want to zoom in or out, then press the Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key and hold it down, scroll the mouse wheel up or down. Scrolling the wheel up, you zoom in on the image, scroll the wheel down, you move it away. If you scroll wheel quickly, the image scale will change quickly. Scrolling the wheel more slowly, you can more accurately control the degree of approach or distance of the image. The advantage of this method is that you do not need to select the Scale tool to change the size of the image view. This method works with any selected tool:

Press key Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) and, while holding it down, scroll the mouse wheel to zoom

Select the required area using the Scale tool

We just looked at how you can quickly zoom in by clicking the mouse on a specific place and moving the cursor to the right or left while the Zoom tool is selected. This action provides us with a parameter called “Scrubby Zoom”. By default, it is available to us, but we can disable the parameter by unchecking the checkbox in the corresponding window on the toolbar’s properties panel (when the “Scale” tool is selected):

Disable the “Scale dragging”

When the Scale by Drag and Drop option is disabled, the Scale tool becomes similar in operation to the Rectangular Marquee Tool. To approximate the required area, you just need to click the mouse in the right place and stretch the rectangular selection frame around the area you want to zoom in. In my case, I made a selection around the lips of a man:

Click with the mouse and stretch the rectangular selection frame while working with the Scale tool.

When you release the mouse button, the program will immediately zoom in on the selected area and place it in the center of the screen. At any time, you can turn on the “Scale by dragging” parameter again by ticking the appropriate box on the tool properties panel:

The area that I selected is approximated and placed in the center of the document window.

Entering specific scale level values

In the last lesson “Basics of scaling and scrolling images in Photoshop” we learned that you can not only see the current scale level in the lower left corner of the program window, but also change it by double-clicking the current value and typing a new one:

Enter the new value of the current scale level in the lower left corner.

The only drawback that we encounter in this case is that as soon as we press the Enter (Win) / Return (Mac) key to confirm the new scale value, the data entry window is no longer active. In other words, if we need to enter a new value of the scale level, we will need to double-click the current value twice to select it, and only then enter a new value. However, if you press and hold the Shift key while confirming a new value with Enter (Win) / Return (Mac), the data entry window will remain active and the entered scale value will be highlighted. This will allow you to change the scale values, each time without clicking the mouse button to select the current value:

Hold down Shift when you confirm a new value with the key Enter (Win) / Return (Mac) to leave the data entry window active

Another useful way to work with the data entry window in the lower left corner is to zoom in using the special slider. Hover your mouse over the data entry window, then press and hold the Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac) key, resulting in the mouse cursor taking the form of a small hand with arrows pointing left and right. This is the icon for the dynamic slider control. Click the mouse on the data entry window and hold the mouse button down and drag the cursor left or right to increase or decrease the scale value by 1% or more:

Press and hold Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac) to make the slider appear, then drag the cursor left or right

To scroll the image, Photoshop uses the Hand Tool. To select this tool, there is no need to access the toolbar; simply press the H key:

Press H to select the hand tool.

Temporarily turning on the Hand tool

The disadvantage of selecting the “Hand” tool by pressing the H key is that this tool remains active until another tool is selected on the toolbar. However, we can temporarily turn on the Hand tool by simply pressing and holding the spacebar (spacebar) on the keyboard. With the space bar pressed, click on the image and drag it to scroll inside the document window, then release the key so that the previous tool becomes active again:

Press and hold the space bar (spacebar) to temporarily select the Hand tool

Scroll image using mouse wheel

Another way to scroll the image, in which you do not need to select the “Hand” tool (it is suitable when working with any tool) is to use the mouse scroll wheel. Scroll the mouse wheel up to stretch the image up in the document window, or scroll the mouse wheel down to move the image down.

If you press and hold the Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac) key, scrolling the mouse wheel up will drag the image to the left, and scrolling down the wheel will drag it to the right.

Scroll the mouse wheel up and down to move the image up and down, and to scroll the image left and right, press Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac)

View image with zoom

And finally, to quickly move from one place of the image to another, press and do not release the H key (including when working with the Hand tool), and then click on the image and keep the mouse button pressed. The program will temporarily display the entire image on the screen, and you will see a rectangular outline that can be moved. Move this contour to the area that you want to see at the closest moment on the screen:

While the entire image is visible in the document window, move the rectangular outline to the area you want to display on the screen.

When you release the mouse button, the program will immediately display the selected area in the center of the screen:

The area that was inside the rectangular outline is now reflected in the center of the document window.

And finally, we have studied all the useful tricks, tips and keyboard combinations that will help you feel like a real professional when working with scaling and scrolling images in Photoshop! Make sure that you are familiar with the lesson “Basics of scaling and scrolling images in Photoshop”, then visit our section “Basics of Photoshop” or go on to other lessons that may interest you!

Author: Steve Patterson

Transfer: Ksenia Rudenko

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