Adobe Photoshop Part 1: The Photoshop Interface Free Tutorial

Using Palettes

Photoshop includes both floating and docked palettes. The Photoshop palettes display information about the active image and help you manage elements like color distribution and layers. Palettes are much like mini-windows, with toolbars containing buttons for performing tasks, menus for selecting options, and tabs that group together related options.

To show or hide a palette, select its name from the Window menu.

Floating palettes appear by default along the right vertical edge of the Photoshop main window, while docked palettes appear in the palette well in the right-hand portion of the Options bar:


Your screen resolution must be set to greater than 800 x 600 in order to display the palette well.

Floating palettes have a right-arrow button in the upper right-hand corner that displays an options menu. The options menu provides commands for adjusting preferences, docking the palette, and performing tasks specific to the palette:

You can resize a floating palette by clicking and dragging one of its edges, or move it by clicking and dragging its title bar. When you move a palette against another one, it snaps into alignment.

You can also collapse a floating palette by clicking the collapse button in the title bar, which appears just to the left of the close button. If you’ve changed the size of the palette by dragging its edges, the first time you click the collapse button, the palette’s default size is restored. Click the button again to collapse it:

Collapsing palettes reduces the amount of screen space they take up, while keeping them readily available. You can also dock a palette in the palette well by selecting Dock to Palette Well from the options menu, or by dragging it directly to the well.

To use a palette docked in the palette well, click its tab. This reveals all the palette’s options:

You can also dock floating palettes to each other by dragging one palette to the bottom of another. When the bottom of the other palette appears highlighted, release the mouse button. The docked palettes can then be moved, collapsed, or resized at the same time.

You can save the layout of your palettes by saving what’s called a “workspace”—an arrangement of palettes that suits the work you’re doing at the time. To save a workspace, open the Window menu, select Workspace, and then Save Workspace from the submenu.

In the Save Workspace dialog, give the workspace a name that will help you later identify it with the current settings, then click OK.

The workspace now appears at the bottom of the Workspace submenu:

To load the workspace, select it from the menu.

To delete a workspace, select Delete Workspace from the Workspace menu. This opens the Delete Workspace dialog, which lets you select the workspace you want to delete:

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