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Be More Efficient with Workspaces in Photoshop

A lot of applications these days allow you to make use of workspaces -- that is, the ability to customize the application's interface, and then save the changes as a workspace. And Photoshop will let you do just this. The great thing about the Adobe applications is that their interfaces are becoming more and more similar. Even those one-time Macromedia apps, Flash and Dreamweaver, are looking more and more like Illustrator and Photoshop with each new release. So, customizing an interface configuration in one app is just as easy as it is to do in another app. Let's take a look.

Step 1

Probably the easiest way to get started with workspaces is to go ahead and begin customizing the interface in terms of the panel arrangements. If you're not sure how, all you need to do is grab a panel's tab (where we see the text label for the panel). Click and drag on it way out into the middle of the screen. Next, grab another panel and group it with the first panel you tore away. To do this, just drag the panel over the panel you'd like to group it with, and when a blue rectangular halo appears, let go of your mouse. The two panels are now joined together in a panel group.

Step 2

In fact, you can do a lot of mixing and moving around. I usually group similar panels together (for example, Color and Swatches), and close out panels that I don't often use (like Clone Source and Histogram). You can even move around the Options bar and the Toolbox. Don't forget too that you can expand and collapse panels by using the white arrow icons towards the top. Maybe you want the panels collapsed down to icons, or expanded out. It's up to you, so go nuts and have fun arranging your interface so that it feels right for you.

Step 3

What's immensely cool too is that you can also customize Photoshop's menus and keyboard shortcuts, and save your changes as a part of your new workspace too. To do this, head to the Edit menu and choose Keyboard Shortcuts or Menus. Unfortunately, we don't have the space to get into customizing these aspects of Photoshop in this Quick Tip, but just know that you can incorporate these changes into your Photoshop workspaces, too.

Once you've customized the interface to your liking, you're ready to save the arrangement as a workspace. Head to Window > Workspace; then choose New Workspace. In the New Workspace dialog box that appears, give your workspace a name. If you did indeed customize keyboard shortcuts and menus as well, you can save those too; those are optional.

Once you've saved things up, your workspace is now available either from the Window > Workspaces submenu, or from the Workspaces menu on the Application bar. What's super-awesome is that now you can flip between any workspaces you've saved, and the default workspaces that ship with Photoshop!

Check out the full range of Adobe CS5 Tutorials here to learn more!

Geoff Blake

Geoff Blake | Articles by this author

Geoff Blake is a book author, video presenter, designer, and visual artist. As an in demand live-on-stage software educator since 1997, Geoff has taught desktop publishing, web design and graphics courses all over North America and is regarded as an expert in Adobe's Creative Suite applications, as well as in HTML, CSS, WordPress, and related technologies. With his humorous, non-jargonny approach, Geoff produces highly regarded articles, video training and DVDs, and regularly contributes to top industry magazines and websites.

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