or maybe a more appropriate title, “Oh crap, now what?”
When working in Photoshop, Edit > Undo is your best friend. Accidentally move a layer you had perfectly placed? Rethinking adding that last ribbon? Adjust the brightness of a photo just a little too much? Edit > Undo can fix these and so many other oopsies.
Edit > Undo lets you take a step backwards, like the last click of the mouse never happened. (How redundant would it be right now to tell you that it’s done by selecting “Edit” from the file menu, then “Undo”? heh.) If undoing just one step backward isn’t enough, you can go to “Edit > Step backward” over and over until you’re back where you want to be. If you change your mind about one of the un-done steps, you can choose “Edit > Step forward” until you get back to where you want to be. If you’re REALLY indecisive and want to get back to where you started un-doing in the first place, choose “Undo State Change.”
~ Try doing THAT in paper scrapping! I think this is my second favorite thing about digital scrapbooking, right behind the gorgeous papers from Shabby Princess that I get to buy once and use over and over again! ~
Now even cooler than Edit > Undo (and serving the same purpose), is the History Palette. This is pretty much a “multiple undo” tool. With one click you can step backward ten (or twenty. or thirty.) steps!
How it works:
I usually keep the History Palette hidden – or at least minimized – until I need it. (To keep it hidden and out of the way, double click the palette's title bar to minimize it. Then double click again to maximize it.) The History Palette can be found through Window > History. If you decide you want to step backward, open the History Palette and extend it (by dragging the corner down) to be able to view all the available changes. Each level’s title reflects the step that level will undo. The most current changes are at the bottom, the oldest are at the top. If there are a lot of changes, you may need to use the slider on the right side to scroll through and view them all. When you click on any level, your picture will change to reflect the steps backward to that place. It’s not permanent until you make an additional change outside of the History Palette. You can click on several different levels of the History Palette to decide which place you want to start from, or you can decide to not make any steps back at all by clicking on the very bottom level in the Palette. Any levels below the current level selected will be shaded – showing they are still available as a choice, but those changes are not reflected at the time in the image. (click here to see how this layout I used as an example turned out!)
You can change how many steps you want the history palette to remember and keep available. The default is 20 – if you want more, you need to know that it may take up more memory (but it may be worth it to be able to go back that far.) It’s really your call. This adjustment is made through the main file menu at “Edit > Preferences > General." There is an option called “History states,” next to a box you can type a number in. Then hit “ok” to set. Anything beyond how many steps you have it save, you can’t back up to – Photoshop hasn’t kept them in memory.
I think this is a good place to remind you to save your work periodically – don’t get to the point where you have 30 layers in a layout and you haven’t saved it at all. If your system or program freezes or you lose power or something (and it WILL happen at some point!), Edit > Undo isn’t going to help you at all! If you’re doing an in-depth layout and are experimenting with some different things, you may want to save a few copies of the layout -- in different stages or reflecting different variations -- that you can start with later.
You can do this with the Snapshot function in the History Palette (the middle icon -- looks like a camera -- creates a snapshot), but the problem with this is it’s saved only within Photoshop. Once you close Photoshop (or it freezes), those snapshots are no longer available. And anyhow, I’m not sure how to explain the snapshots at this time. ;o) hee hee.
Here are two other cool features for stepping backward:
1. The shortcut for "Edit > Undo" is "ctrl" + "Z." (Hold down "ctrl" and then the letter "Z," then let both go.) This will take you one step backward. Doing it a second time will undo what you just undid (since the last step you took was to undo.)
2. "File > Revert" is a feature that will let you revert your document back to the last saved copy. This is the equivalent of closing your file without saving changes once you've decided you want to try again and discard all the changes you've made, but "File > Revert" saves you the hassle.