How do I get my Photoshop line tool too behave?
August 13, 2007 7:32 AM   Subscribe

Photoshop CS2 Question probably so simple I can't believe I can't find the answer. Help.

I'm recently upgraded to Photoshop CS2 and am using it on my MacBook Pro. All of a sudden, I can't draw a diagonal line using the line tool. I get some weird rotating box that sort of draws an incredibly hard to control line, but not the simple diagonal line I remember fondly from my earlier versions. I've gone to the tool preset manager and have reset the tool. That lets me sometimes draw one diagonal line the old way, but only at 1pt thickness. Then it pops right back to the weirdness. I know the answer is simple but searching Photoshop help under "diagonal lines" doesn't yield anything with the words "diagonal lines" in it. I've asked other Photoshop users and they just shrug and say "weird, man ... weird." I throw myself on the mercy of the hive mind for the simple toggle that will get me back to my simple diagonal line with the line tool.
posted by lpsguy to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sounds like you might have smart guides enabled? Go to VIEW - SHOW to unselect them...
posted by jalexei at 7:39 AM on August 13, 2007

Nope. Smart Guides aren't enabled.
posted by lpsguy at 7:50 AM on August 13, 2007

A "weird rotating box" sounds like a description of a very thick line.

What is the weight of your line set to in the Options bar at the top of the screen? If it's big (like over 1"), maybe you just need to set the weight to something smaller, like 2pt or something.

If you want to constrain your line to 45° angles, hold down Shift.
posted by designbot at 8:05 AM on August 13, 2007

Do you have Veiw/Show/Layer Edges enabled? Do you have have it set to make a Path instead of a shape layer or pixels?
posted by doctor_negative at 8:23 AM on August 13, 2007

Do check the line weight. If you didn't enter any units when specifying weight I believe it defaults to inches.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:58 AM on August 13, 2007

posted by idiotfactory at 11:53 AM on August 13, 2007

Check your "Tool Presets" in either the drop-down on the far left of the settings bar or the pallet tab to the right. It's possible you have some weird default setting. I just played around with that and couldn't figure out how to get off the preset that I had selected and back to normal (once I was back to normal I created a "Default" tool preset that I could select in the future). Related to that, it's possible that the preset library is corrupt, though a cursory search doesn't reveal any obvious place for that (no "Line" file in the "Presets" folder). Also, make sure the style drop-down menu is set to default (the square with a red line through it).

Screenshot would be nice, too! (command+shift+3, if ya didn't know. It puts the files on your desktop.)
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:52 PM on August 13, 2007

Thanks gang. But still no luck. I have checked the line weight. The Layer Edges aren't identified, either. I think it is in the tool presents, but like wemayfreeze, all I can do is play around and hope something happens. See? I told you this was vexing. Anyone else?
posted by lpsguy at 2:45 PM on August 13, 2007

Clarification: you can't draw a diagonal line -- can you draw non-diagonal lines?
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:56 PM on August 13, 2007

I think I made a breakthrough in the tool presets of the line tool. I played around until I got it to draw a 4 pt. diagonal line like I wanted, then saved it as a preset. Seems to do it. Still, it seems like a work around and I'd still love to know what's going on. Why would there be a diagonal line tool whose default setting doesn't draw diagonal lines?

Yes, I am able to draw non-diagonal lines but I always use Shift + the pencil or brush to do it. The line tool seems to exist to draw diagonal lines yet doesn't.

And if I haven't said it, thanks so much to everyone who is taking time to solve this. I'm a cartoonist who takes his one-panel daily cartoons and reproduces them for papers who want them in horizontal strip format. This often calls me to extend diagonal lines along a specific axis to fill the horizontal space. Of course, when you do one a day, every problem like this becomes a problem on deadline.
posted by lpsguy at 4:14 PM on August 13, 2007

lpsguy : Using Jing, I was able to make a quick screencast for you just now, of how I would make a diagonal line in Photoshop, using the line tool. I show the following things in the screencast :

- Selecting the line tool
- Altering the width of the line, before drawing
- Drawing a diagonal line
- Changing it's color to red
- Deselecting the line, so it doesn't show the outline (which is just for preview, but it can trip you up sometimes)
- Changing the color for the NEXT line to black, and the width to 1px
- Drawing a bunch of lines, in vary lengths/angles.

The screen width is 1440px wide (so, maybe a little wide for your purposes), but you can scroll around to see it all and the video's not going offline any time soon.

Hopefully, it'll explain everything. Here ya go
posted by revmitcz at 5:07 PM on August 13, 2007

oh, and ignore the audio. It's me and my co-worker talking about the A/C. So, it won't help you learn anything about photoshop should you happen to hear it :)
posted by revmitcz at 5:08 PM on August 13, 2007

Man, revmitz, thanks for laying that whole thing down for me. My problems always come in your third step. Where you draw the line by clicking and dragging and watching a smooth diagonal extend from that point, I get something entirely different. I get a line that simultaneously extends from from the cursor in both directions. Then, if I move the cursor at all the line chages in random widths and pivots 360 degrees arouind the cursor like some bizarre pinwheel. If I can figure out Jing, I'll try to show you. But that was cool. Thanks.
posted by lpsguy at 6:05 AM on August 14, 2007

Hmm.. that sounds a lot like the Pen tool. If you watch the video, you'll see which tool I'm using. You could also press the "u" key on your keyboard, and it'll select the tool. However, "u" is for the group of tools which includes...

- Rectangle Tool
- Rounded Rectangle Tool
- Ellipse Tool
- Polygon Tool
- Line Tool
- Custom Shape Tool

So, hit "u", see the tool it selects, then click and hold down and a little menu of those items I just listed above will pop-out. Then, select the line tool and see if it works like I showed in the video.

If it's definitely the same tool and it's doing that.. I have no idea what's going on. But, it sounds to me like you're using the Pen tool (which is accessed by pressing "p" on the keyboard)
posted by revmitcz at 12:55 PM on August 14, 2007

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