The Preferences Panes in Photoshop Elements 15

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

In Photoshop Elements 15, the settings in the Preferences dialog box are organized into different panes that reflect key categories of preferences. The following list briefly describes the types of settings you can adjust in each preferences pane:

  • General preferences, as the name implies, apply to general settings you adjust for your editing environment.
  • Saving Files preferences relate to options available for saving files. You can add extensions to filenames, save a file with layers or flatten layers, save files with image previews that appear when you’re viewing files as icons on your desktop (Windows), and save with some compatibility options. On the Mac, the Finder generates thumbnails automatically, so you don’t need to specify thumbnails in a Save dialog box.
  • Performance preferences is the pane where you find history states and memory settings, such as scratch disk settings. You can monitor how your scratch preferences are working in the image window.
  • Display & Cursors preferences offer options for how certain tool cursors are displayed and how you view the Crop tool when you’re cropping images.
  • Transparency preferences require an understanding of how Elements represents transparency. Imagine painting a portrait on a piece of clear acetate. The area you paint is opaque, and the area surrounding the portrait is transparent. To display transparency in Elements, you need some method to represent transparent areas. Open the Transparency preferences and make choices for how transparency appears in Elements.
  • Units & Rulers preferences let you specify settings for ruler units, column guides, and document preset resolutions.
  • Guides & Grid preferences offer options for gridline color, divisions, and subdivisions. A grid shows you nonprinting horizontal and vertical lines. You use a grid to align objects, type, and other elements. You can snap items to the gridlines to make aligning objects much easier. You can drag guides (sometimes called guidelines) from the ruler and position them between gridlines.
  • Plug-Ins preferences include options for selecting an additional Plug-Ins folder. Plug-ins are third-party utilities that work with Elements. For example, you can find plug-ins that offer editing features not found in Elements, many different adjustments for brightness/contrast and color correction, and some nifty special effects. There are many free plug-ins you can find on the Internet by searching for Photoshop Elements Plug-Ins.
  • Adobe Partner Services enable you to control whether Elements automatically checks for new services, clears the online stored data, and resets your account information for all services.
  • Type preferences provide options for setting text attributes. You have options for using different quotation marks, showing Asian characters, showing font names in English, and previewing font sizes.
  • Country/Region: Select your country or region from the drop-down menu.

Part of the fun of image editing is choosing brush tips, swatch colors, gradient colors, and patterns to create the look you want. To get you started, Elements provides you with a number of preset libraries that you can load and use when you want. For example, you can load a Brushes library to acquire different brush tips that you can use with the Brush tool and the Eraser tool. But you’re likely to want to customize the preset libraries at least a little bit, too.

You can change libraries individually in respective panels where the items are used. For example, you can change color swatch libraries on the Color Swatches panel or choose brush-tip libraries in the Tool Options. Another way you can change libraries is to use the Preset Manager dialog box.

photoshop-elements-15-preset-manager
The Preset Manager dialog box provides a central area where you can change libraries.

The important thing to note here is that you can change the presets according to your editing needs.

To open the Preset Manager dialog box, choose Edit → Preset Manager. The available options in the dialog box are

  • Learn More About: The Preset Manager: Click the blue Preset Manager hyperlinked text to open the Help document and find out more about managing presets.
  • Preset Type: Open the drop-down list to choose from Brushes, Swatches, Gradients, and Patterns.
  • More: The More drop-down list lists the viewing options. You can view the library items as text lists or as thumbnail views.
  • Done: Any changes you make in the Preset Manager are recorded and saved when you click Done.
  • Append: Click the Append button to append a library to the existing library open in the Preset Manager.
  • Add: Click this button to open another library. Elements allows you to choose from several libraries for each preset type.
  • Save Set: You can save any changes you make in the Preset Manager as a new library. If you make a change, use this option so that you don’t disturb the original presets.
  • Rename: Each item in a library has a unique name. If you want to rename an item, click the thumbnail in the Preview pane, click Rename, and then type a new name in the dialog box that appears.
  • Delete: Click an item in the Preview window and click Delete to remove the item from the library.