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Simplifying Photoshop CS6’s Menus

There are few downsides to working with an incredibly powerful image editor like Photoshop CS6, but there is one that is somewhat inevitable as a consequence of progress. Menus.With every release there are more menu items added to the mix and it can be a daunting thing to remember where all of your favorite commands are, or to find new ones, if you’re not into color-coding. (Adobe offers a color-coded “What’s New” menu view with each release for you to find new options).

However there is a simple solution -- customizing Photoshop’s menus. This is not a new solution, but it’s underutilized by many people and worth demonstrating. Customizing Photoshop’s menus isn’t just about changing up the shortcuts for your favorite features. It’s also about hiding stuff you don’t need to see (either all of the time or most of the time). 

Which menus you should customize depends on how you use Photoshop and whether or not you share a workstation with others, and other factors. For me, since I do not operate as part of a workgroup on a local network, and because I use Lightroom instead of Bridge, the File menu provides some prime opportunities for simplifying things.

Step 1

To customize the options that are visible in any of Photoshop’s menus, choose Edit > Menus. This will open the Keyboard Shortcuts and Menus window. You may need to increase the window’s height to see all the menu categories. With the “Photoshop Defaults” set active, make sure Menu for: Application Menus is selected (both should be active by default). 

Menu for Application Menus is selected

Step 2

If you want to modify File menu options as I do, click the File menu “disclosure triangle”. You will see the first several menu items that are visible by default in the Photoshop File menu. You can scroll down to see the rest.

Modifying the File menu options

Step 3

To remove the visibility of an item, click the eyeball icon next to that item. You can disable as many of them as you need to. I typically turn off all the Bridge related options as a start because I use Lightroom for photographs, and the built-in media browsers in Premiere Pro and After Effects for those workflows. I also disable certain workgroup functions.

Disable all menu items you don't need

Step 4

When you’ve hidden as many menu commands as you need to, click the Create a New Set button (just to the left of the trash can, near the top of the window).  This will open a dialog box that will allow you to name and save the set in the default location (leave this intact). Click Save when you’re ready.

Save dialog box

Step 5

Click OK when you’re done customizing menus. The difference between the standard Photoshop CS6 menu and my customized menu is shown below. Notice at the bottom of the customized (shorter) menu, there is a “Show All Menu Items” Command. This appears any time you remove items from a menu, making it easy to reveal any items you may be looking for, that are hidden.

Standard menu vs customized menu

Dan Moughamian

Dan Moughamian | Articles by this author

Dan Moughamian is an experienced photographer and Photoshop educator with 20 years of experience. He also has extensive experience with Lightroom, Aperture, Photoshop Elements, and other imaging products. As a veteran member of their testing programs, Dan has collaborated with Adobe Systems to help enhance many of the core functions in Photoshop, Lightroom, and Elements. As an educator, Dan's focus is to help photographers at all levels get the most from their digital workflows. Tips on raw editing, layer masking, alpha channels, image adjustments, HDR photography, focus and lighting effects, and perspective correction, are just a few examples of the topics he covers. Follow Dan on Twitter: http://twitter.com/colortrails Google Plus: https://gplus.to/Colortrails Facebook: http://facebook.com/ColortrailsTips


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