May 02, 2010

“Use Legacy Shortcuts” option in CS5

In Photoshop CS4 we changed a number of keyboard shortcuts related to selecting and targeting color channels. At that time I posted a plug-in (Mac)/registry entries (Windows) that one could use to switch many of these changes back to the CS3-and-earlier behavior. To make things easier to discover, in CS5, there’s an option in Edit>Keyboard Shortcuts… to “Use Legacy Channel Shortcuts” (screenshot). That is, you no longer need to use the plug-in/registry entries.

Note that this option can’t change things entirely back to the old behavior. Moving adjustments from modal dialogs to a non-modal panel simply means that some commands would now conflict (e.g. hitting Cmd-1 can’t both display a channel & target a channel). See my earlier post for a more detailed list & explanations of why this is.

Posted by John Nack at 10:14 AM on May 02, 2010


  • cs4 user — 11:27 AM on May 02, 2010

    John, I was looking forward to upgrade to cs5 just for the 64 bit support, but it seems that there’s some bug that makes memory alocation slow and performance is better with CS4 even limiter to 3 GB RAM.
    Is there any official confirmation or info about the bug? hope that is solved quickly.
    [We’re working with Lloyd to diagnose what he’s seeing. I’ll share more info as it becomes available. –J.]

  • Brandon — 1:39 PM on May 02, 2010

    I’ve been playing around with the CS5 trial, it seems pretty cool. I’d say 40% of the time the automatic filling in of the background works perfectly, which is honestly more than I thought it would.
    There is some great stuff going on in CS5. I’ll have to see how much the student pricing is and perhaps I’ll consider it.
    One complaint I have is the lack of native UI throughout the application. The file open and save dialogues could be updated, this is true of all of Adobe’s programs especially Lightroom.
    The file open and save dialogues are most annoying really.

  • Sula — 3:43 PM on May 02, 2010

    Well, talking about shortcuts, I’d love to know if I can edit, say, the shortcut to access the color wheel? alt+shift+ right click is a bit awkward to use.
    [I’m afraid that one isn’t editable. –J.]

  • Leigh Perry — 5:47 PM on May 02, 2010

    Hi John. After using Photoshop CS5 for a couple of hours now, I have found that keyboard shortcut handling in Windows 32 bit on XP to be degraded. I find that every now and then the keyboard shortcuts stop working (and the keyboard focus is _not_ in a numeric entry field). I have not characterised exactly what preceding operations lead to the condition, but it happens fairly frequently to both built-in shortcuts (like M for marquee or B for brush) as well as to my custom keystroke assignments (like F5 for Action / Play).
    When it gets into this state, the keystrokes don’t work as expected and Windows plays the’ exclamation’ warning sound. Has something changed in PS’s keyboard handling?

  • Jeffrey Tranberry — 6:49 PM on May 02, 2010

    @Leigh Perry – Are you using MiniBridge?
    When you put the focus on MiniBridge, keyboard events go to that panel. If you find that single keys or other keyboard shortcuts aren’t working, hit the [esc] to remove the focus from MiniBridge.
    Let me know if this corrects the focus in your case.

  • Leigh Perry — 9:45 PM on May 02, 2010

    No, it’s not related to MiniBridge. It’s related, at least some of the time, to popup dialogs like Curves invokes within Actions. I have such an action (invoked from Ctrl F7 shortcut) that I use a lot and it is my chief suspect at the moment.

  • Jeffrey Tranberry — 5:46 AM on May 03, 2010

    Hi Leigh – I sent you an email. It might be easier for us to debug what’s going on over email or the phone. Let me know if you don’t receive my reply with additional questions.

  • James Conner — 6:03 PM on May 04, 2010

    In Photoshop CS5 Extended I selected the legacy shortcuts option, but Command Tilde no longer selects the RGB channels, and Command 1 no longer selects the red channel in the RGB mode. When CS4 was released and this abomination presented itself, Adobe posted a plug-in that restored the old way of doing things. It’s time to post a similar plug-in for CS5.
    Asking — in this I think compelling is the better word — people to abandon years of learned keyboard shortcuts is tantamount to sending Qwerty typers to a concentration camp and releasing them only when they have learned the Dvorak keyboard.
    Am I steamed? No. That’s too cool a word to describe how hot under the collar this makes me.

  • Jeffrey Tranberry — 7:39 PM on May 04, 2010

    Hi James, looks like you need to restart the app after you check “Use Legacy Shortcuts” for it to take affect. Sorry about the confusion.

  • James Conner — 12:08 PM on May 06, 2010

    That worked. Whew! And many thanks to Adobe for including this function.

  • Jeffrey Tranberry — 2:41 PM on May 06, 2010

    Cool. Thanks for bringing it up James! I’ll add a note to the help documents about the restart.

  • Antoine Beyeler — 7:09 AM on May 13, 2010

    Speaking of shortcut… I had hoped CS5 would fix broken support for international keyboards, but it seems its not the case. Critical shortcut are the [ + ] for brush size and similar, except that on my Swiss Mac keyboard, I have to type Opt-5 / Opt-6 for [ and ], which obviously wont work. Impossible to assign the same physical keys because some of them correspond to accent that will wait for the next keystroke to have effect (eg. ¨ + a => ä). Using F key would be the solution (I dont need F1 – F4 for the copy/paste stuff), but sadly CS5 wont allow me to assign them to the brush size change. I feel a bit abandoned on this front… Any chance that this might change in the future?

    • Jerry — 2:27 PM on March 10, 2011

      Antoine, read my post (Jerry – March 10, 2011). It’s a few months since yours but better late than never, or have you already abandoned ps!

  • Larry Leuallen — 5:30 PM on May 14, 2010

    I am having the same problem with keyboard shortcut and adjustment layers.
    Alt-f5 assigned to curves. Create new curves adjustment layer using shortcut. Try to create another new curves adj. layer with shortcut (with focus on first curves adj. layer) and it does not work. Change focus to non-adj layer and it works. Seems like if focus on an adj. layer the shortcut does not work.
    Win7 64 bit. 12GB I720 Asus board. ATI 4850 video.

  • Frederik T — 2:48 AM on May 21, 2010

    Hi! I have activated “Use Legacy Channel Shortcuts” and restarted CS5 and Command 1-3 works for selecting the channels, but I can not use Command-Tilde to go back and select the RGB-channels?
    I am using a swedish keyboard layout on a Mac, but the Tilde-button was earlier located before “1” in the top of the keyboard. This does not work for me now (and not in CS4 either). Where can I find this button now?
    Does the “old shortcuts”-plugin for CS4 work with CS5?
    Thanks in advance!
    Cheers / Frederik

  • Nick — 9:28 PM on May 31, 2010

    I still don’t see the advantages a non-modal panel interface. Finally, you have brought back some of the keyboard commands for adjustment layers but overall i have to say that cs3 is much faster for me in my day to day work. I have yet to hear a single positive remark regarding the interface changes in cs4/cs5.

  • Howard Rudnick — 9:52 AM on August 06, 2010

    Only used cs5 a couple days. Turned on use legacy shortcuts, and restarted. Command + # works on document, but not within curves,etc. A bit confused from discussions. Should it work in both situations?

    • David Mohr — 5:19 PM on August 11, 2010

      Howdy Howard — you must relaunch PS for the legacy shortcuts to take effect. From there, they should work everywhere the same.

  • Howard Rudnick — 10:18 AM on August 06, 2010

    I have to agree with Nick. Pretty much skipped over 4. Find 3 to be faster and more stable. Used 4 only when a document was built in 4 and had adj layers missing. 5 installed recently. A curves issue-in 4 and now in 5, when a file gets fairly large, I find that moving points around in the curves is very sluggish. Quite annoying, and not a problem in 3. Not just me either. A guy I work with has the same experience. Is this common for others?

    • Edward Caruso — 1:25 PM on April 29, 2011


      I also find that curves dialogue to be slow and annoying.
      Like a delay if you use the arrow keys to move a point around. All painting tools are sluggish too. There’s some memory or carbon to cocoa conversion issue with CS5 I think.

      And I do not like the adjustment panel at all. It is not good at all – I could go on and on about it. I just want an option to have it like it was in CS3.

      Go to and tell them how much you dont like it. I’m about to do that myself.

  • Daniel — 12:33 PM on November 18, 2010

    Hi, im using illustrator CS5 on a Windows 7 … I changed the keyboard setting and now I cant use any short cuts on illustrator…

    When I start running the program says:
    “Error loading plugins. Keyboard Shortcuts.aip”

    Can you help me?
    Thanks alot

    (ASUS G73J)

  • Michael — 9:07 AM on November 22, 2010

    I am having the same problem and it started on November 18 as well. is it possible that there was an update on that day the might be causing this?

  • ugur — 6:41 AM on December 15, 2010

    Hey everyone,

    is there any chance to change the shortcuts of the color channels?

    I really do not need them, because I bearly use them.

    I’d rather prefer to use them somewhere else.

    Any ideas?

    I am using cs5

    [Sorry, I’m afraid they can’t be reassigned. –J.]

  • David — 9:05 AM on January 20, 2011

    Microsoft did a substantial critical update (approx. 129 total) to both of my systems in mid November and I not only lost keyboard shortcut functionality but it no longer is listed in the ‘edit’ dropdown.

    Same notice on opening the program:
    “Error loading plugins. Keyboard Shortcuts.aip”

    I flushed the hard drive completely and reinstalled everything including the operation system, turned off the Windows Update so that it notifies me instead of doing the ‘recommended’ automatic mode.

    Windows may call its procedure progressive but the
    massive loss of time to me is really annoying.

  • Jerry — 2:19 PM on March 10, 2011

    For INTERNATIONAL KEYBOARD users (spanish, northern european, and what not), my solution is this. Btw, this aplies to ms windows, don’t know about apple.

    Add the English language to your regional settings, so that you can switch to english when using photoshop. This allows the good old shortcuts (Legacy option must be on too).

    You can access Regional (language, date, time) Settings through the Control Panel. Next, look for the option that says add other language. Next, look for “writing (or input) method”, from there you should be able to add English (I’m using UK En because I’m in Europe, but that’s just preference). Once you click OK/Apply, you should have at the bottom right (next to the clock) a little icon that say EN (or ES for spanish, etc). Click that to switch from one to the next. If it’s not there, it might be floating somewhere on the screen, just minimise it to send it in its place.

    Hope this helps, it did for me. Thanks for everyone’s input.

  • Nick — 4:22 PM on March 22, 2011

    what a disappointment this turned out to be, the legacy option does not work on adjustment layers, damn it…are there any keyboard commands that work on the ‘curves’ modal dialog box?

  • Mr Djip — 4:43 PM on March 22, 2011

    Hi John!

    I am about to buy a MBP for personnal work and a little video on Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 with my band of videasts.
    According to you, which is the best suited to work with Premiere Pro CS5:

    – the MBP 15′ 2010 high level with a processor Intel I7 bicoeur, RAM of 4 Go, a hard disk of 500 Go running 5400 tours/min, a NVIDIA GeForce 330 m at 512 Mo at GDDR3

    -the new MBP 15′ 2011 low level with a processor I7 quadricoeur, RAM of 4 Go, a hard disk of 500 Go running 5400 tours/min, a Intel HD Graphics 3000 + a 2nd graphic card AMD Radeon 6490m at 256 Mo GDDR5 (those cards are not suited to CUDA)

    So do you think the MBP 2011 with the processor I7 quadricoeur will do better, worse or equal than the MBP 2010, with a processor I7 bi-coeur, but with the CUDA technology carrying by the Geforce 330 m?

    thanks in advance!!

    • Jason Levine — 5:09 PM on March 22, 2011

      Hi Mr. Djip,

      You’ve listed several good options, but there are a couple of things that are immediate ‘red flags’, especially when it comes to video editing.

      Namely, you’ve listed harddrives at 5400rpm. I would steer away from these. At a minimum, you should have the 7200rpm drives. I believe they still offer the same (drive sizes), but 7200 is a must.

      As for the RAM, this too is a bit low in my opinion, especially if you’ll be using more than one application at a time. One of the benefits of PPROCS5 is that it’s 64-bit, which means that it can access as much RAM in your system as you dedicate to it. So, with 8GB, you can really run PPRO smoothly, leaving plenty of RAM to work in Photoshop, After Effects, or Adobe Media Encoder (all 64-bit apps). Again, this isn’t essential, but you’ll feel a significant performance increase with more RAM.

      As for the MBP i7/dual or MBP i7/quad…well, I have both, and there’s no doubt that the quad is faster; it just ‘feels’ faster (but I also have the 2011 512GB Solid State drive, which helps a great deal). That being said, the performance of the 2010 i7 is stunning…especially with 8GB RAM.

      Lastly…the video card. Sadly, neither the nVidia 330m nor the current AMD video cards are supported GPU cards for Premiere/Mercury acceleration, meaning that we won’t accelerate any effects or rendering. This *does not* mean you won’t get great performance, however. Mercury is the 64-bit engine in Premiere…it’s always on; you can still get multiple layers of HD, running in real-time. No question. The CUDA/GPU acceleration gives you *more* real-time flexibility for effects (during playback) and rendering, true. But again, I’ve been running the 2010 17″ MBP, no CUDA, no GPU acceleration, and it’s wicked fast. Please check out some of my videos and you’ll see what I mean:

      Hope this helps and good luck! –jason

  • Bill Z — 9:28 PM on May 04, 2011

    The keyboard shortcuts for tools (M, V, B,[, ], etc.) have suddenly stopped working in my Photoshop CS5 (windows). Combination shortcuts (Ctrl+O, Ctrl+D, Ctrl+Z, etc.) seem to work as they always had. Tool shortcuts do work in ACR, but not in Photoshop.

    Any guidance will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for your time.

  • David — 2:41 PM on July 20, 2011

    I don’t even know what cmd 1 does. It’s just taking up space that used to be useful.

    [I believe I noted that it zooms the current view to 100%, consistent with many other apps. –J.]

    The only reason we even upgraded to CS5 is that we were told usability issues like this were fixed. “Use Legacy Channel Shortcuts” is an outright lie, it does no such thing.

    [Sorry, can you explain? –J.]

    Between this, an increasingly cluttered, screen-obscuring interface and inevitable bloat I feel that we made the right choice avoiding cs4 and the wrong choice “upgrading” to cs5. Fortunately there are an increasing number of serviceable replacements for the ACS. From now on our $8,000 will be more wisely spent.

  • PeterK. — 2:42 PM on July 21, 2011

    After upgrading to CS5, I was very disappointed to find that I can no longer use cmd-1,2,3,4 while using curves to switch to adjusting the curve for individual channels. (1, 2, 3 for R, G, B or C, M, Y for example) I have to click on the drop down list and select the channel I want to change. A big time and click-waster. Also it makes it impossible for me to do keep my cursor hovered over the same spot to click a point in, cmd-number to another channel and click to set another point at the same value. Let’s say I need to set 3 points at the same value. I used to be able to do 3 keystrokes followed by 3 clicks.

    Old way
    1.cmd-1 to activate Cyan curve to set my point
    3.repeat 1-2 for next channel, (the mouse does not move! and is ready and waiting for the click in step 2!)

    As it is NOW I have to
    1. NAVIGATE to and CLICK Cyan in the DROP-DOWN LIST
    2. click to set a point
    3. MOVE my mouse FROM MY DESIRED CURVE POSITION to click on the drop-down list again!
    4. click to set a point (likely not in the exact same position AS IT WOULD BE IN STEP 2 ABOVE!)
    6. TYPE in the number of the position I want
    7. repeat steps 1-6,

    … which are not only a greater number of steps, but take a heck of a lot more time, waving the mouse around, typing things, etc. than the old way of…

    -one keystroke and a single mouse-click with NO moving of the mouse after the first click.

    If they fixed just this in a dot release it would immediately improve my speed as I (and I’m sure many others) often use CURVES in photoshop. Is the curves function important enough to be fixed?

    [I tried to send you a reply, but it appears you provided a fake email address. In any case, quick points:

    –You don’t have to use the drop down: you can use Cmd-2 for the composite, Cmd-3 for R or C, etc.
    — You can use a dialog to create/edit Curves adjustment layers.
    — These tips for using the Adjustment panel may help you.

    Hope that helps. –J.]

  • PeterK. — 1:18 PM on July 22, 2011

    Ah, I was just about to ask what version of Photoshop you were using because cmd-# switches the selected channel in the channels window, and does not affect the active channel in the curves dialog, when I realized that the function has been switched to the alt/option key! ALT-# now does in the curves dialog what cmd-# used to do.
    When I turned on “use legacy shortcuts” and it still didn’t bring back the function, I thought it was gone forever. Sorry for sounding snippy at that, but that was what I believed.

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