How to Adjust Fill Opacity using Adobe Photoshop Elements

Photoshop Elements likes to hide some of its best features! And one such feature is Fill Opacity.

Say what, say who and whoa? Yes, I’ll say write it again. Adobe Photoshop Elements, with his bad self, gets off on hiding some of the most important features from digital scrapbookers, like you and me. And we go around thinking we can’t when in fact, WE CAN!

And in today’s Q&A Wednesday video, I’mma show you how to play with Fill Opacity two different ways!

What You’ll Learn in This Video

  • The best-kept secrets of Fill Opacity adjustments.
  • How to adjust Fill Opacity using the Effects panel.
  • How to adjust Fill Opacity using keyboard shortcuts.
  • And hopefully you’ll see the connection between Fill Opacity adjustments and last week’s Q&A for Shadowing Acrylics.

Onwards to the video!

And NOW you know! So, what’d ya think? Let me know in the comments below if this is a technique you’ll add to your arsenal. And if you rock it, share it!


  • Linda Holden said:

    April 2nd, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Thank you for this very interesting and helpful video. I have PSE 12 so plan to use this soon.

  • Belle said:

    April 3rd, 2014 at 12:15 am

    Wow, who knew? Thanks Tiffany, this is awesome.

  • Peggy S said:

    April 3rd, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Tiffany, I have PSE 11, and it isn’t working for me. The visibility works just as you showed us, but the shift 1 or 2, etc. didn’t do anything at all. I tried it with each of the visibility choices chosen, and it didn’t work with any of them. It is still good to know about using the visibility styles, but which versions of PSE can use the shift number options?

    • Tiffany said:

      April 3rd, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      Hi Peggy,

      Hmm that’s quite the odd. I actually filmed the video using Photoshop Elements 11 — I haven’t upgraded to the newest program. So it should definitely work.

      Two guesses pop into mind as to why it would not: I’m using a Mac. It’s possible that the PC version limits the shortcuts but I believe it should work nonetheless. I’ll Pop over to my Dad’s soon and test his PSE 11 on a PC. Just to be sure.

      Or, you’ll want to verify that you’ve targeted the layer you want to use the Fill Opacity. Perhaps start with a layer that has not had Effects applied just to be sure and try using the shortcuts then. Then hold down the shift and press the number to activate Fill Opacity.

      Also, if your keyboard is programed with alternative shortcuts, like your main system using Shift 1 for a non-PSE function, then the shortcut won’t work. For example, I programmed my CMD-O to play music so it doesn’t open files when I use that shortcut in PSE.

  • Peggy S said:

    April 4th, 2014 at 12:01 am

    I am using a PC. I tried using ctrl or alt in case it was shift that didn’t work right, but none of those worked. I am definitely targeting the right layer. I tried not applying a style or stroke and doing it, but it still only did the defaults. One thing that happened sometimes is that the shift/number would make the “canvas” jump up or down the screen, so you may be on to something with shift/number doing something different. Now I need to figure out how to change that, but let me know if it works on your Dad’s system. Maybe mine will work when I reboot too. That fixes lots of things, lol. Thank you for trying. I’ll be interested to see if anyone else is successful, or has the same problem on a PC.

  • Michelle said:

    April 5th, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Thanks for the tut. I have PSE 12 on a PC. Shift + number works fine IF you use the numbers above the letters. It does not work using the numeric keypad.

    • Peggy S said:

      April 6th, 2014 at 12:03 am

      That was it!!. That was my whole problem! Yay, thank you for pointing that out. Using the numbers at the top worked like a charm.

  • jenny said:

    April 12th, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Great video! Thanks!

  • Peabea said:

    April 27th, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Tried it on my Dahlia flower and it worked perfectly. Thanks so much. :)

  • Melinda said:

    May 8th, 2014 at 8:27 am

    awesome! I’ve been using PSE since v2 and never knew this. Thank you!!!

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