All Sort of Tidbits

I’ve had a number of items on my To Do list for a few weeks and today was a great catch up day for making some miscellaneous videos.

Item Number 1: I’m going to once again BEG all of you to change a particular setting in Windows which hides your files extensions. Trust me… your “computer life” will be improved if you can see those little letter combinations which follow the name of a file. Sometimes, in a folder, you might find 5 files or more ALL with the exact same name! But they are vastly different files and even though you can usually figure out the type of file by looking over at the Type column, it’s MUCH faster to just see that file extension in the file name! In a prior post from almost two years ago, I explained how to do this in XP. But it’s a little bit different finding the setting in Vista or Windows 7, so I’ve made videos for both:

Showing File Extensions in XP

Showing File Extensions in Vista or Windows 7

Item Number 2: For those of you who haven’t back up your ACS/KNK/DM/GE license files, here’s a quick video to show you how to do it. For those with a dongle, it’s a good idea to have them backed up on a flash drive and even on a different computer, although you should be able to pull them from your installation CD. However, on ACS Studio, I believe the license files are now stored on the dongle itself. For those with dongle-less versions of the software, backing them up to another location on your C Drive is important in case you install an updated version of the software, which will wipe out your license files!!! If you don’t have them backed up, then it could be a 1 – 3 day wait (more over the winter holidays) before they can be regenerated if you lose them! So, make sure you copy them into a back-up folder. Again, I have made videos showing this for the different Windows operating systems:

Backing Up License Files in XP

Backing Up License Files in Vista or Win 7

Item Number 3: Now for something more fun! I recently read about a way to freeze raster images so that they cannot be inadvertently selected or moved. This is useful when you are manually tracing an image or editing a vector image that it still on top of the original raster. I made a quick video showing how to do this:

Freezing a Raster Image

Item Number 4: This is something I’ve been aware of since writing the first KNK User Manual, but somehow then forgot about it. In many of my videos you’ll see me select all images of a particular color by double-clicking the color on the Job Palette. It works fine… most of the time! But sometimes, for whatever reason, I will double click and it will just not select anything. There’s another short cut key which does the same thing: hold down the Shift key and click on a color on the Job Palette… same result. All images of that color will be selected. This is the new way of selecting by color I plan to always use.

Item Number 5: Another recent discovery that I think I already knew but had forgotten. Most of you know the usefulness and, in my opinion, the necessity of using a mouse with a middle scroll wheel for zooming in and out in the software. However, you may not have realized that pushing that middle scroll wheel will put you into the Panning mode so that you can pan around on your screen as necessary. Pushing it again will turn panning off. VERY handy!

Color Matching Part 2

A second application for the Color Picker tool is converting a low resolution raster image to a vector image for printing. As I’m sure all of you are aware, a poor quality image only looks worse when enlarged for printing. But, if you really want to use that image, then you can vectorize it first, use the Color Picker to select original colors from the image, and then have a much better graphic for enlarging and printing. Note the visual difference between the original raster on the left and the new vector on the right, when zoomed in close:

Again, you can do this with any version of KNK Studio, KNK Studio GE, Design Master, or ACS Studio. If you missed yesterday’s post, you might want to view it first and then watch today’s video using the palm tree.

Color Matching Video Part 2

Color Matching

Today’s question came up when someone at the I Love KNK Yahoo group asked for the name of a color detection program. I remembered a free one called “Color Detector” which is a handy utility and I’ve used it on a number of occasions. You can grab it from here: Color Detector

But the question reminded me that I had never posted here about a similar built-in feature in KNK Studio (and ACS, GE, DM) where you can not only click on a color to obtain the RGB color values, but also click on a button to automatically add that color to the Shop Palette in the software. This can be very useful when adding lettering or other vector images to a file for printing. Or, as I will show in a video tomorrow, for adding original colors back to vectorized images.

For today, watch this particular video and learn how to use the feature. It could come in handy sometime!

Using the Color Picker

One thing I failed to mention in the video: don’t be worried about adding new colors to your Shop Palette. These are only in affect for that particular file. When you launch a new blank file or open an existing file, you’ll be back to your default palette. Tomorrow I’ll also show you how to save a modified palette in case that situation ever arises.

Color Selection in KNK Studio


How can I color thee? Let me count the ways…
There are SO very many tips and tricks with color selection that it’s hard to name them all, but here are a few to get you started. First off, you can grab a sample file to play with from this link:
Sample File for Color Selection.


(1) Always have the Job Palette turned on: View>Job Palette so you can see what colors have been used in any project. Look for white or invisible colors and get rid of them. With Fill turned off, they will appear with black outlines and you will mistakenly think they are black. The only time it’s useful to leave them that way is for print and cuts where you may not want cut lines to be printed. But other than than, I find these serve no useful purpose to paper crafters.

In this file, I have BOTH showing and there are a few ways to eliminate them. You can go back to my post on May 2 and watch the video that shows you how to change them to ANY other color… just not white or invisible or clear, OR you can use the method in the next step.


(2) Double click ANY color on the Job Palette and all objects of THAT particular color will be selected. You can then send those colors to be cut, resized, copied/pasted, etc. This is useful when, say, you’re in a swap and you have a detailed paper piecing with a variety of colors and you need to cut multiples and want to copy/paste the items, one color at a time, into a new document so you can multiply them to cut however many copies you’ll need from that one sheet of cardstock. In the case of our file here, we will double click the white color and then click on Black at the bottom to change all of the white images to black. Repeat with the invisible color. Now your image still looks the same, but the invisible and white are now converted to black.

(3) Okay… now say you need TWO colors at once. The first color could be a particular item and the second color could be details on that item that will be pounced or drawn with pen. Or, in this file, let’s say you want to cut the outside mat of all four words from the same color of cardstock, even though one color is blue and the other is orange. Simply double click the blue color and then, holding down the SHIFT key on your keyboard, double click on the orange color. All items of BOTH colors will be selected. You can continue to hold down the Shift key and double click more colors as desired.


(4) Now… let’s have a look at another way to do it… Hold down the Alt key on your keyboard and click the color you want. Now you’ll see all of the other colors become cross-hatched and their corresponding lines in the image become dashed lines. This means those colors are hidden and you cannot select them. In this case I’ve performed an Alt- click on Red to hide all colors but red:


(5) If you wish to “unhide” another color, just hold down the Ctrl key and click on that color. In this case, I held down Ctrl and clicked on the green button (look for a tiny bit of color still showing in the hatched region). Now red and green are available, but all the others are still hidden and cannot be selected.

(6) Now click on Alt and click on either red or green twice and all the colors will be restored. If you wish to hide only one color, then hold down the Ctrl key and click on that one color and it will become dashed on the screen and cannot be selected. You can continue to hold down the Ctrl key and click other colors to hide them. Clicking a second time with Ctrl key held down will restore them… thus it works as a toggle.
Now, play, play, play with this until it becomes second nature to select by color in ALL the ways available to you!