I just upgraded to Photoshop CS6 from CS5.5 and I'm finding most of it is fairly similar so no problems there, the only issue I have is with the pen tool which is the thing I use the most. I do a lot of custom shapes (whatever the client needs so from an oil rig to a tank) and I use the pen tool to create them so they are vectors. I know I could use other programs but I'm very happy using the Pen tool..until now :(

1st issue I've discovered is that when I'm drawing a shape but need to back up a little by pressing Ctrl+Z, when I put down my next point it starts in on a new layer, leaving my original shape unfinished. Anyone know how to stop this?

2nd issue isn't so bad, I'm just frustrated that they've made some options more difficult to get to and was wondering if there's a way to expand them so they're all visible? It's the options to add or remove from the shape, they used to all be laid out across the top, but now they're in a drop down menu titled 'Path Operations'.

Thanks in advance.


5 Answers 5


If you undo while in the middle of drawing a path, you can click the last point in the path to let Photoshop know that you want to continue drawing the same path. This also keeps it on the same layer.

Also, if you set the Pen tool to Shape, it will keep drawing on the same layer (but the path won't be connected unless you click on the point you want to continue drawing from).

Pen Tool draw Shape

Unfortunately, Path Operations and Path Arrangement can't be expanded out — they are only available from their Options bar icons.

  • Thanks for that, it's still a bit annoying but at least I can stay on the same layer now :)
    – Willow
    May 30, 2012 at 13:06
  • I'm not aware of a better technique. Using Step Backwards instead of Undo does the same thing. Hopefully the info helped :) May 31, 2012 at 5:23
  • @Willow you should mark this answer accepted. BTW, thank you to both of you, as this helps my biggest frustration with PS CS6
    – Krista K
    Aug 14, 2014 at 20:33

I know this is a very late answer.

To switch between the path modes quickly use keys.

With the Pen Tool selected.....
Hit the - key to switch to Subtract Front Shape
The + key to switch to Combine Shapes

I have yet to find shortcuts for the other path interaction options.


It's a shame you weren't on the prerelease, because you'd have caught this errant Undo behavior (which also applies to Backspace, my preferred "step back one point" undo). I missed it completely, and I agree it's a little disconcerting. It probably isn't an intended change, so I also think it's classifiable as a bug. You should report it on Photoshop.com and give your reasons why it's a pita.

The good news is your combine/subtract options, whose names have been modified to reflect their new status as Real Vector Commands, are alive and well in the Layer menu. They can be assigned keyboard shortcuts, which can in turn be assigned to Wacom buttons. In the Application Menu under the Layer menu, scroll to the "Combine Shapes" set. Assign shortcuts to them and you'll be on your way.


Try looking at the buttons at the top, after you click on the text tool, that align the text "right","center" and "Left" and make sure it is not on the "Center" setting. That will fix the problem with the text not showing up when you try to type on the pen tool path.

  • 1
    This has nothing to do with the question.
    – Scott
    Dec 17, 2012 at 11:07

In cs6 you can use the Delete Anchor Point Tool to delete any anchor point just by right clicking on the Pen tool.

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