How to Choose a Screen Mode in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

Photoshop CS6’s working area can become horribly cluttered. And here’s a secret: The more adept you become, the more cluttered the desktop becomes. Just when you begin to appreciate a neatly docked Options bar and the convenience of displaying panels, you realize that you’ve gobbled up all your free working space.

Photoshop now has three different screen modes (or maybe five, depending on what you consider to be a screen mode). Each mode shows or hides some of the elements on the screen at the press of a key or click of the mouse button.

Select a mode by clicking the Screen Mode icon at the right end of the Application bar, or by choosing View→Screen Mode. The final two modes are accessible via keyboard commands.

Do This . . . . . . To Change to This Screen Mode What’s Happening
Press Shift+Tab. Hide all panels. All the panels in your working space — except for the
Tools panel — vanish. When you need to access them again,
press Shift+Tab again.
Press the Tab key. Hide all panels and the Options bar. All the panels (including the Tools panel) and the Options bar
vanish, leaving you with a clean workspace showing only the Menu
bar, Application bar, and any open documents (on the Mac, the
Application bar may not display).
Select the Screen Mode button in the Tools panel. Full Screen mode with Menu bar. Only the active document window is visible, along with the
panels, Menu bar, Application bar, and Options bar. The document
window is maximized, and the other documents are hidden.
Select the Screen Mode button in the Tools panel. Full Screen mode. View the image alone with all other components hidden.
Select the Screen Mode button in the Tools panel. Standard Screen mode. The default Photoshop screen appears, displaying all menus and

If you hide the Tools panel in any Screen Mode, simply hover your mouse over the left side of the screen to make your Tools panel reappear. You can also press the Tab key to bring your Tools panel back into view.