Use the Styles Panel in Photoshop CC

The Styles panel in Photoshop CC is hidden by default. Choose Window→Styles to make it visible. This panel, which you see with its menu open in this figure, is where you find and store layer styles and is the easiest way to apply a layer style to your active layer.

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To apply a layer style via the Styles panel, make the target layer active by clicking it in the Layers panel; then click the style that you want to apply. It’s truly that simple!

To remove a layer style from the active layer, click the leftmost button at the bottom of the Styles panel. You can click the middle button to save a custom layer style, and you can drag a layer style to the Trash icon on the right to delete it from the panel.

Take a look at the Styles panel menu shown in the figure, starting from the top and making your way down to the bottom. The first command simply adds the style applied to the active layer to the panel (like clicking the Create New Style button).

In the second section of the menu, you can choose from five different ways to view the content of the Styles panel. The Text Only, Small List, and Large List options might come in handy after you create a bunch of custom styles with names you recognize, but until you become familiar with the styles in the panel, their names are pretty much meaningless.

The Large Thumbnail option gives you a better view of the effects in the style, but you see fewer styles at a time in the panel than you can with the default Small Thumbnail view.

The Styles panel Preset Manager command opens the same Preset Manager that you access through the Edit→Presets menu. Use the Preset Manager to save custom styles in sets on your hard drive to protect them from accidental loss.

The next four commands in the Styles panel menu are “housekeeping commands” because you use them to control the content of the panel:

  • Reset Styles: The Reset Styles command returns the content of the panel to its default. You have the option of adding the default set to the current panel content with the Append button or replacing the current content with the selected set by clicking OK.

  • Load Styles: Use the Load Styles command to add additional styles from your hard drive (or another location). You can download sets from various websites and even purchase prepared sets of layer styles on CD. The set is added to the current content of the panel automatically.

  • Save Styles: The Save Styles command lets you save the current content of the panel as a set of styles. All the layer styles in the panel at the time are saved in the set.

  • Replace Styles: Use the Replace Styles command to remove the current content and then add the selected set.

Below in the Styles panel menu, you can find a list of all the layer style sets saved in Photoshop's Presets→Styles folder. When you select a set from that list, you have the option once again of appending or replacing the current content of the panel.

The last two commands on the Styles panel menu are used to control the visibility of the panel (Close) and the visibility of the panel and those panels nested with it (Close Tab Group), which depends on how you’ve arranged Photoshop’s panels in your workspace.

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