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The Lazy Developer’s Way to Switch From the Text Tool

    Corrie Haffly

    Jeremy asked in a comment to the last blog: “How do you go from the text tool to a different tool using just the keyboard shortcuts?” Just to explain the question, in many graphics programs (I’ve been focusing on Illustrator lately) you can use the keyboard to type a letter and quickly access a tool without having to use your mouse and click on the tool palette. For example, you can easily type “P” to access the “pen” tool, “V” to access the “move” tool in Photoshop or the selection arrow in Illustrator, and “T” to switch to the type tool. However, once you’re typing away, Jeremy wonders, how can you quickly switch to another tool?

    I am not aware of a simple set of keys that you can press — and I didn’t have too much luck when I googled the issue (anyone out there know?) but this is what I do:

    In Illustrator: While you’re still in your text box or area, hit the Ctrl (PC) or Command (Mac) key, which should switch the tool temporarily to the last “arrow” tool used, then move your mouse and click outside of the text box to deselect it. You’ll still be in the type tool, but just not “in” any particular text area… which means you can then use your keyboard access key to swith to the pen tool, ellipse tool, or anything else that you want… (This does still require moving the mouse, but for lazy people like me, you definitely expend less energy moving your mouse randomly out of the text box rather than trying to find the tool in the palette!)

    In Photoshop: My cheater shortcut for switching out of the Type tool is to save (Ctrl-S or Command-S) the file. This seems to “close” out the text area for me, and then I’m able to apply any keyboard shortcut that I desire.

    Does anyone else have more “official” ways of achieving the same effect… or any other self-discovered shortcuts?