Pen and Other Vector Tools (PSE 10-14)

Sometimes while working with the Custom Shape tool, you may want to modify the drawn shape or create a new shape of your own design*.
*Saving custom shapes is discussed here.

Full Photoshop has Pen and some other vector tool for this. To activate them in PSE you'll need a tiny trick:

  • Start "Shortcuts+" script.
  • In the dialog that opens, pull "Preset" menu and choose "Photoshop Keys" item.
  • Click "Apply" button (fig. 1).

Now press [N] key on your keyboard to activate the Pencil tool. Then press [N] key again and the Pen appears in its place in the Toolbox (fig. 2). The third [N]-press calls Freeform Pen tool. The fourth key press restores the Pencil.

Moreover, while working with the Pen and the Freeform Pen, we can temporarily activate Direct Selection tool by holding down [Ctrl] key. By holding [Alt] key we temporarily enable Convert Point tool.

So, we have all the necessary tools to create and edit vector shapes/paths. It's time to learn how to use them.

A video on this topic is available here.

Tip. If after restarting PSE, the [N] shortcut seems to stop working, mouse-click any icon in your Toolbox.

Tip 2. In case you find the above method of temporary activation of Direct Selection and Convert Point uncomfortable, try the following:
- Open "Shortcuts+" dialog.
- Go to "Tools" category.
- Select the Convert Point item and assign to [N] key.
- Select the Direct Selection item and assign [N] key.

Now with some extra [N] presses, you can activate and use the supplementary tools without holding [Alt] or [Ctrl] keys.

Tip 3. If you never use the Freeform Pen tool, select it in the "Shortcuts+" dialog and, in the key menu, choose "None" option.

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