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PSP Tips & Tricks
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dot 201 Crop Tool Units Showing Only Inches and Centimeters

Did you ever go to crop an image, and you want to set the Width and Height of the Crop rectangle in pixels, but there's no Pixels in the Units droplist? That's because "Specify print size" is checked in the Crop tool Tool Options palette. UNcheck "Specify print size" and Pixels will show up in the Units droplist.

dot 202 Making Picture Frames in PSP

There is no explanation in recent PSP documentation for making your own picture frames. But it can be done, quite simply. Here's a short description of what you need to do:

  1. Create a large, transparent image. This image should be at least as large as any frame you will ever need to make. If you take a look at the frames provided with PSP, you will see landscape frames with widths as large as 2900 px and heights in the 1500 - 2000 px range. So make your frame as large as you need it to be.

  2. There are many ways to make the frame itself. You can use the Selection tool in the shape you want your frame, fill with the desired material, contract the selection the number of pixels you want in the width of the frame and delete. Or you can use the Preset Shape tool, choosing the shape you want from the Shape list. Set the Width to a large number, and select the Material you want for the frame in the Foreground Materials box, with the Background Material set to Transparent (Null). If you use the Preset Shape tool, either UNcheck "Create as vector", or convert the resulting shape layer to raster.

  3. Use the PSP Inner Bevel effect, or Eye Candy Bevel Boss, or any other bevelling software to apply a bevel to your frame. Play with the settings to give your frame the look you want. Add any other touches you want to your frame before continuing. Merge all visible layers (Layers...Merge...Merge Visible) when you are done.

  4. If your frame does not fill the entire image, crop the image by choosing the Crop tool, and clicking "Snap crop rectangle to: Layer Opaque" on the Crop tool Tool Options palette:

    snap crop rectangle to Layer Opaque

  5. If your frame is non-rectangular, create an alpha channel selection that defines the transparent areas outside the frame:

    • Use the Magic Wand (with Mode = Add, Match Mode = Color, Anti-alias CHECKed, Contiguous CHECKed) to select all the areas around the outside of the frame:

      selected area around frame

    • Invert the selection (CTRL + SHIFT + I) so the selection is around the outside of the frame:

      selected outer edge of frame

    • Choose Selections...Load/Save Selection...Save Selection to Alpha Channel. Click the Save button in the Save Selection To Alpha dialog, and then deselect (Selections...Select None, or CTRL + D).

  6. Now it's time to save the frame - there are two ways to do this:

    • Choose File...Save As, saving the image to the Picture Frames folder. For the "Save as type", use "PSPIMAGE Paint Shop Pro Image...". Type in the name you want for the frame, and follow that name by .PspFrame. For example, if you want to call your frame Heart, type "Heart.PspFrame" in the File name box (without the quotes). If you do not use the .PspFrame extension, you will not be able to see the frame in the Image...Picture Frame dialog.

    • A much easier method uses the built-in Frame exporter of PSP. Choose File...Export...Picture Frame. In the Export Picture Frame dialog, give your frame a name (with NO extension - PSP will add that for you) and click the Save button.

That's all there is to it. Now, when you choose Image...Picture Frame, your new frame will show up in the Picture Frame droplist. For non-rectangular frames, you can choose to fill the transparent areas outside the frame with a color, or leave those areas transparent.

Note: If you find filling the transparency with a color leaves unclean edges around your non-rectangular frames, OR you want to fill the area around the frame with a material other than a color, make sure the "Keep transparency" option is CHECKed when you add the picture frame to your image. Use the Magic Wand (with Mode = Add, Match Mode = Color, Anti-alias CHECKed, Contiguous CHECKed) to select the transparent areas around the frame. Expand the selection by about 3 pixels, and fill with the material of your choice.

dot 203 Support for Early Versions of PSP

Need support/patches for an old version of PSP? Check out this link:
Patches and Updates

dot 204 Using DeskPins to View Tutorials in PSP

In PSP X, we lost the ability to install tutorials as "Quick Guides" in the Learning Center. This facility made it extremely handy to view tutorials in the PSP workspace while at the same time performing the actions called for in that tutorial. Quick Guides prevented us from having to flip back and forth between the tutorial screen and the PSP workspace. When support for this facility was dropped in PSP X, many PSP users were much saddened.

Some time ago, I found something that "simulates" the old PSP Quick Guides - it's called DeskPins. This small piece of software sits in your system notification area (a.k.a. taskbar tray), and can be used to make any application topmost - that is, keep it above all other windows. Just grab a pin by clicking on the DeskPins icon in the taskbar tray - your cursor will turn into a floating "pushpin". Click anywhere in the tutorial window - its title bar will look like this, and that window will now remain on top:

DeskPins active

Resize the window so it won't totally obstruct your PSP workspace, then return to PSP and VOILA!, you can read your tutorial and remain in PSP at the same time! I love this program! It's really small, and it's always there in your taskbar, so when you find something you want to keep "on top", grab a pin and click anywhere within the window and it's done!

When you want to "unpin" or remove the pushpin, move your cursor over the pin - it will look like this:

DeskPins active

Click on the pushpin and it's gone! It's that simple.

If you're interested in reading more about this program, you can find it HERE.

dot 205 Numeric Controls in PSP

Numeric controls in the Tool Options toolbar can be changed progressively in the least significant place by holding down the CTRL key while clicking. For example, the "Stroke width" control in the Text tool Tool Options toolbar by default, says 1.0 (see A below). If you click the up arrow beside this numeric control, the value goes from 1.0 to 2.0 (see B below). However, if you hold down the CTRL key while clicking the up arrow, the value goes from 1.0 to 1.1 (see C below).

numeric controls 01

Another example can be seen in the "Leading" control on the Text tool Tool Options toolbar, which, by default, is set to 0.000 (see D below). If you click the up arrow beside this numeric control, the value goes from 0.000 to 1.000 (see E below). However, if you hold down the CTRL key while clicking the up arrow, the value goes from 0.000 to 0.001 (see F below).

numeric controls 02

This information might help you make more precise incremental changes to controls.

dot 206 Rotating Images

There are several ways to rotate images in PSP:

  1. Rotate an image 90 degrees to change its orientation by using the the Image...Rotate Right or Image...Rotate Left commands.

  2. Rotate the current layer, or the entire image, a specific number of degrees either right or left using the Image...Free Rotate dialog.

  3. Rotate an image freely using the rotation handle in any bounding box (blue arrow below points to rotation handle) - note cursor changes to double rotation arrow cursor when pointed at rotation handle:

    double rotation arrow
    Note: If you hold down the SHIFT key while rotating a bounding box using the rotation handle, the rotation will occur in steps of 15 degrees.

  4. PSP X3+ added a new rotation capability for bounding boxes - when you click just outside a corner of a bounding boxes, the cursor turns into a small "corner rotation arrow" (see red arrow below):

    rotation arrow

    Dragging on this rotation arrow allows you to rotate the image. This will work for all tools which produce bounding boxes, including the Crop tool, the Text tool, the Preset Shapes tool, the Pick tool, the Object Selector tool, and even with raster images using either the Pick tool or the Raster Deform tool.

    Note: As with rotation using the rotation handle, if you hold down the SHIFT key while rotating a bounding box using any "corner rotation handle, the rotation will occur in steps of 15 degrees.

dot 207 Using "Special Characters" in Scripts

Starting in PSP X2, scripts can no longer handle "special characters" such as copyright symbols, fractions, and accented characters. Scripts with such characters will produce strange characters, or fail totally, locking up PSP. Some of the strange characters I've seen include the following - note that the special character is usually preceded by some sort of accented uppercase A, and is often changed completely, as with the first and third examples below:
  • centimètres becomes centimètres
  • 35¢ becomes 35¢
  • ç becomes ç

However, if those "special characters" are converted to octal values, the scripts will run without errors and will print the ascii characters correctly.

Note: This includes not only characters used in file/variable names or to be displayed in message windows, but also characters contained in any comments or instructions included in the script.

For example, if you have text in your script which contains the word "écrivez", replace the accented letter with the octal equivalent, preceded by a backslash. Thus, "écrivez" becomes "\351crivez" because the octal equivalent of the accented e (é) is 351. Or, if you want to use the copyright symbol in a script, like for instance "©SuzShook", code that as "\251SuzShook" in a script to avoid problems.

To assist script writers, a table of characters with their associated decimal and octal values has been set up as both a Word document and as a PDF document. These tables can be found here:

Glyph-Decimal-Octal Equivalents - Word Document
Glyph-Decimal-Octal Equivalents - PDF Document

dot 208 PSP User Guide

For most versions of PSP, the User Guide is included with the installation of PSP. For example, in PSP X, the User Guide can be found in the Corel . . . Corel Paint Shop Pro X folder as PSP_User_Guide.pdf. In PSP XI and XII, the User Guide can be found on the installation CD, in the correct language folder within the PDF folder - for English speaking users, the User Guide is called Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo.pdf. As released, PSP X3 did not contain a User Guide - the only documentation for PSP was online. But eventually, Corel produced a downloadable User Guide which is available

I now have PSP X3 Ultimate installed, and though I find two copies of the PSP User Guide installed with that version, both are copies of the PSP X2 User guide.

dot 209 PSP X - Re-Installation Problems

If when re-installing Paint Shop Pro on a new computer, laptop, or hard drive, you find there is no place to insert your valid serial number/purchase key, try the following (posted in the PSP X newsgroup in March, 2011):

  • A misleading Trial version splash screen will appear during the course of the program installation:
    rotation arrow


  • Note the words "Already Purchased" (with the "A" underlined) in the lower left of the screen (see red arrow above).

  • Press ALT + A. Then type in your serial number/purchase key on the ensuing screen.

Note: If instead you obtain a screen stating "Sorry, the serial number you are using has already been submitted the maximum number of times for Activation", you will need to contact Corel and have them re-set the count at their end.

dot 210 How to Activate the Text Entry Box

Though starting in PSP X3, text is written directly on the image, it is still possible to activate the familiar Text Entry box:

text entry box

To do this, activate the Text tool, then hold down the SHIFT key and LEFT-CLICK in the image where you want to insert the text.

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