Paint Shop without wrist Pain

Last month we discussed vector graphic applications, using Freehand as a paradigm. This month we switch to raster applications, using Paint Shop as the model.

Many of you may already know that raster graphic applications depict images according to tiny dots called pixels as opposed to a series of lines created in vector applications. This is purely background information, not directly relevant to keyboard shortcuts.

What is relevant to keyboard shortcuts is that, because all raster applications perform similar actions, such as how they select an image, resize it, and create layers, they often contain common shortcuts for these operations. Therefore, they use similar tools with similar shortcuts.

Paint Shop without wrist Pain

Let’s try the following simple exercise:

  1. Perform the following steps:
    1. Type Start + D to view the Desktop.
    2. Navigate with the arrow keys to the icon.
    3. Type Enter to open the application.
  2. If you don’t see the Tool Options, Layer Palette, and Overview Window, you can view them by typing O, L, and W respectively. You can show/hide these three tools together by typing Tab.
  3. Type Ctrl + B to browse for an image; type Alt + F, then Left arrow + X to maximize this window.
  4. Type Tab again; this will both hide the tools and bring you to the browsing tree (left pane).
  5. Use the up/down arrows to locate the following path:
  6. \JASC Software Inc. >Paint Shop Pro Note:

    The names of these folders may slightly differ if you have a latter version of Paint Shop Pro.

  7. Type Shift + Tab, then right arrow, and finally Enter in order to open the image Jazz Man.psp.
    1. You can alternate between any images and/or the Browse window by typing Ctrl + Tab.
    2. To close the Browse window or any other image, type Alt + F + C.
  8. Repeat steps 4-6 to browse for the Patterns folder. Locate and open the image Leaf.bmp and close the Browse window.
  9. Type Shift + S to open the Resize window; type the pixel sizes 750 x 750.

    You should be able to do all of the above steps without the mouse. However, you will still need the mouse for the actual selecting.

  10. Type Ctrl + Tab to return to the Jazz Man image.
  11. Type M to select the magic wand on the tools palette.
  12. Click open the tool options dialog and set the following parameters:
    1. Match Mode: RGB value
    2. Tolerance: 30
    3. Feather: 1
  13. Click anywhere in the red background area and type Delete. This will erase nearly all of the background.
  14. Type Ctrl + D to deselect.
  15. Perform the following steps:
    1. Type Ctrl + Tab to return to the Leaf image.
    2. Type Ctrl + A to highlight the entire leaf and type Ctrl + C.
    3. Type Ctrl + Tab to return to the Jazz Man image.
    4. Type Ctrl + L to paste the leaf image as the new background layer.
  16. Type F12 to save your new image; call it Jazz Leaf. You can save in a variety of formats simply by typing Tab and scrolling with the arrows.

A Summary of Paint Shop Pro Keyboard Shortcuts

The table below summarizes most keyboard shortcuts. Note: The URL below is from the copyrighted list "Robin's Help Desk" on MSN Groups, The list on the website is a very thorough one and includes just about any keyboard shortcut needed in Paint Shop Pro. Keep in mind that shortcuts can vary between earlier and latter versions of the same application.

Desired Action


Activate screen capture

Alt + P (first time)

Shift + C (additional times)

Alternate between opened Paint Shop images

Ctrl + Tab

Alternate between tools from the tools palette

If you're not sure which tool you want, then use this option; otherwise, you can type the letter of the tool you want, such as M for the Magic Wand.



Ctrl + B


Ctrl + Plus/Minus

De/select option (checkbox)

Spacebar within a window

Deselect a previously selected part of an image

Ctrl + D

Open Capture Setup window

Alt + F + I + C + S

Paste a new layer

Ctrl + L


Shift + S

Show/hide all floating tools


Show/hide Colors Palette


Show/hide Layer Palette


Show/hide Overview Window


Show/hide Tool Options


Show/hide Tools


Show/hide Tools Palette


Next month: We will finish the year with an overview of the movie-making tool Captivate.

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