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How to Set General Preference Options in Photoshop CS6

In the Options section of the General Preferences dialog box in Photoshop CS6, you find nearly a dozen check boxes that you can select or deselect, as described in the following list:

  • Auto-Update Open Documents: When you’re working on an image and move to another application to work on the same image, you’ll probably want the changes made in the other application to reflect in the document still open in Photoshop. Select this check box so that Photoshop monitors the document and updates its version whenever the document is changed in the other application.

  • Beep When Done: Although most operations are a lot faster than they used to be, if you’re working with very large images or simply like to be notified when a step is finished, the beep option can be useful.

  • Dynamic Color Sliders: The sliders in the Color panel change colors to match the settings you make. If your computer is on the slow side, you can turn off this feature to improve performance.

  • Export Clipboard: When this feature is active, Photoshop transfers its private clipboard to the general Windows or Macintosh Clipboard so that you can paste information into other applications. If you activate this option, switching from Photoshop to other applications takes a little longer, and Photoshop’s clipboard contents replace whatever was in your system Clipboard when you switched.

    The clipboard is generally a poor vehicle for moving image data between applications because the transferred information may not be of the best quality. Instead, save your file and open it in the other application. Many applications also support the dragging and dropping of files between programs.

  • Use Shift Key for Tool Switch: When this feature is active, you can change from one tool in the Tools panel to another in the same flyout menu by pressing the Shift key and the keyboard shortcut for that tool.

  • Resize Image During Paste/Place: By default, when you place or paste files that are larger than the document they’re being pasted or placed into, the files are resized to fit. Deselect this option to have the file import with its exact dimensions.

    [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/RichVintage Image #1890215]
    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/RichVintage Image #1890215
  • Animated Zoom: This option enables you to zoom in smoothly, rather than in increments, when holding down the mouse button or pressing Ctrl+plus/equal sign (+/=) (Command+plus/equal sign [+/=] on the Mac).

  • Zoom Resizes Windows: Select this check box if you want your document windows to grow and shrink to fit your document while you zoom in and out.

    You might want to deselect the check box if you frequently work with several documents side by side and don’t want them to change relative size while you zoom in and out.

  • Zoom with Scroll Wheel: This enables your mouse scroll wheel to become a zooming tool, regardless of which tool you’re using.

  • Zoom Clicked Point to Center: If selected, when you click the Zoom tool at a specific location, that location then becomes the center of your image window.

  • Enable Flick Panning: If selected, when you quickly drag and release with the Hand tool, the image continues to move, slowly decelerating to a stop.

  • Vary Round Brush Hardness based on HUD (heads-up display) vertical movement: This new option determines whether moving your mouse vertically will change the hardness of your round brush or the opacity when using the brush HUD.

  • Place or Drag Raster Images as Smart Objects: Select this option to create Smart Object layers when using the File→Place command or when dragging and dropping raster images from other applications, from the browser or from your desktop.

  • Snap Vector Tools and Transforms to Pixel Grid: Sometimes when drawing vector shapes, the path straddles a pixel rather than aligning to the edge of the pixel causing your shape not to appear crisp and sharp. Select this excellent new option to have your vector tools and objects snap to the pixel grid as you draw.

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