PshopFor years now, I’ve had a free tip e-mail list where I distribute my Photoshop tips. Now I’m going to start answering Photoshop questions as part of this blog. The fourth installment is below:

Jason S. asks: I’m in PS CS and when I’m using the text tool my type doesn’t move to another line.  Every time I hit enter it starts at the beginning of the same sentence and writes over the words already typed out.  In the end I have a bunch of sentences typed over each other.  Do you know what’s causing this?

The Leading setting (it looks like to capital A’s stacked on top of each other) controls the line spacing… it’s found in the Character palette (get to it via the Window menu). I’m guessing that it’s set really low. Also, when you first click with the type tool, click and drag to create a column width instead of just clicking and letting go of the mouse button. That way you won’t have to press Return to create a new line.

Valeria S. asks: I am not clear on how to save and then retrieve a brush combination I may use over and over.

Answer: Once you have the brush created, then click on the Brush Preview that appears on the far left of the Options Bar at the top of your screen (must have a painting or retouching tool active in order to see it). That should cause a drop down palette to appear when you can click the New Brush icon (which is on the right and looks like a piece of paper with the corner folded down). After you do that you will be prompted for a name and your brush should appear at the bottom of the brush presets list that also appears in that palette.

Dick N. asks: Every now and then, I’m doing something on Photoshop (and no, I don’t know exactly what), but I lose the capability of using any tool on the image that I’m working on. The only thing I can do is save the image, exit Photoshop, and then start it again. I’m using Windows.

Answer: When I run across this type of situation, I go through a standard checklist to see if I’m stuck in some sort of mode that is preventing most of Photoshop for being available. Below are some of the things you can check for:
1) Is a tiny selection active making it so thing don’t seem to be working when in reality a tiny area of the image is changing? Just click on the Select menu and choose Deselect if that option is available. If it’s not available, then no selection was active.
2) Make sure you’re not in the middle of a transformation (Edit>Transform) by pressing Return of enter twice to finish the transformation (twice just in case you have a number active in the Options Bar, the first one would accept the number while the second one completes the transformation.
3) Is QuickMask mode active. Glance at the bottom of Photoshop’s tool palette and look at the two icons that appear below your foreground and background colors. If the icon on the right is active, then quickmask mode is active, so click on the left icon to get back to normal mode.
4) Check the mode of the image by choosing Image>Mode. Many features don’t work on images that are in Indexed Color mode (convert to RGB in that case), also some features don’t work on 16-bit images (so choose 8 Bits/Channel from the same menu).
5) Is a hidden layer active. Just check the layers palette and make sure the layer that is active is also visible (eyeball icon turned on).
5) Does the tool I’m attempting to use have any unusual settings specified? To reset the tool, Control-click (Mac), or Right-click (Win) on the tool icon that appears in the Options Bar that extends across the top of your screen and choose Reset Tool.
I’m sure there are more things you can check for, but those are the first ones that come to mind.