Improve Type Compatibilities of Photoshop

Photoshop 7 adds several major new capabilities, such as the File Browser, the Healing Brush, and Tool Presets. But you’ll also be quite pleased with the dozens of little tweaks in the program, including some long-awaited improvements in the type department.

Photoshop is an image editing program, not an illustration or page layout program. The fact tat it does so much with type continues to be a blessing. Rather than bemoaning the fact that type on a path and text wrapping aren’t possible (yet), let’s celebrate what is new in Photoshop 7.
Just a few short versions ago, Photoshop text capability was restricted to creating selections in the shape of letters. It now has a rather sophisticated type engine with many powerful features. Among the newest features is the long-awaited spell checker.
The Check Spelling dialog box is opened through Photoshop 7′s Edit menu. Note the Check All Layers box in the lower-left corner. When an image has multiple type layers, that box will be available. When deselected, only the active type layer is checked. If a non-type layer is active in the Layers Palette, the next type layer upward is checked.
Photoshop automatically switches dictionaries, even in the middle of a sentence, while checking spelling. The language (and dictionary) are set in the Character palette. You can set the appropriate language/dictionary for a specific word or phrase, then switch back to the primary language with the click of a button. That allows you to easily insert a quick foreign word or phrase to dress things up, without having the spell checker trip on it every time. (And if your foreign language skills are comparable to mine, having your word or phrase spell-checked in its original language is oh-so-very-important, n’est pas?
Although not particularly sophisticated, the Find and Replace Text command is certainly adequate for an image-editing program. Enter the search target in the Find What text box and the desired replacement in the Change To text box.
Adobe’s certainly not trying to knock Microsoft Word out of the ballpark with this feature, but it is a welcome addition.
As the Help Desk Director for the National Association of Photoshop Professionals, I can give you a good estimate of the number of folks who lost hours of productivity due to Photoshop 6′s Faux Bold feature: Lots! (I don’t want to get too precise with my estimate….) This type “style,” buried in the Character palette menu, prevented the application of text warping. It sometimes was applied automatically or by accident, and it was very difficult to find for many. Faux Bold, as well as Faux Italic and six other type attributes, can be applied by using buttons in the Character palette, and the button itself indicates whether the attribute is applied.
Notice in the lower-right corner of the dialog box the pop-up menu set to Sharp. This new anti-aliasing option is designed to help keep small Web text legible, but it’s appropriate for a wide variety of type.
Smart quotation marks and apostrophes, also know as printer’s marks, curve in toward the material being cited. The alternative (often called dumb quotes) are straight and identical at the beginning and end of the quoted material. A comparison is shown below. Smart quotes are selected (or deselected) in the General pane of Photoshop’s Preferences.
These are small steps toward full-fledged type and text handling, but steps in the right direction. Photoshop will never rival a page layout program for type-tweaking and placement capabilities, but many of us are making far fewer trips to Illustrator to add type to our Photoshop images.


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