I often change over temporarily to the Zoom Tool while another tool is active in the Toolbox using the Ctrl + Spacebar shortcut.
More often than not, I'll then drag a marquee around the area I want to zoom in on. Unlike in Photoshop where the zoom happens instantly, in Photoshop Elements 2021 on my Windows 10 machine, I have to release the keyboard shortcut before Photoshop Elements zooms in. That means I'm constantly having to hold down, then release the keyboard shortcut. In Photoshop, you can hold down the keyboard shortcut for as long as you need to.
Even more strange, using the same keyboard shortcut, when you perform a normal zoom by clicking on the screen Photoshop Elements does not perform the first zoom instantly; you can keep clicking and it does zoom in, then when you release the keyboard shortcut, it finally does the first zoom.
The Zoom Tool works just as expected when selected in the Toolbox, and so does holding down the Ctrl key to get the temporary Zoom Tool when the Hand Tool is selected. It's just when I access the Zoom Tool via the Ctrl + Spacebar method where things seem to go awry.
Phil, this is not a KB shortcut that I use. I prefer my mouse scroll wheel. But I just tried to follow your recipe and don't see any problems. There is maybe a very slight hesitation before the screen redraws. But there is no need for me to release a key before the redraw. And I couldn't see any difference between Elements 2020 and 2021.
However, having said that, this seems to be similar to problems others have experienced with the crop tool preview after the 2021.1 release a few weeks ago. Do you think you can pinpoint the problem to that event? I'm going to ping @MichelBParis to see whether he can affirm the problem. He was able to do so with the crop tool issue.
Using a brand-new laptop, so only installed Elements 2021 on 12th Feb and the first thing I did was run the 2021.1 update, so that's not much help 🙂
However, the reason behind buying the new laptop was after foolishly trying to push my poor old MS Surface Pro with just 4GB RAM to the limit with Elements 2021. I'd not updated that to 2021.1, and yes, the problem I've described doesn't appear to exist in the non-updated, original version of 2021.
I am away for a week and my computer here is a low specs one with only 6 GB. I have PSE2020 and PSE2021 installed (not yet updated, I did abort the update yesterday). I am in the process of updating Win 10 and I'll try the PSE2021 update soon.
That said, I had the same idea as Greg about the crop tool and the zoom operation.