How to Create Workspace Presets in Photoshop CS6 - dummies

How to Create Workspace Presets in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

Photoshop CS6 is a complicated program; the more you learn, the more complicated (and routine) your activities become. For one project, you may find yourself using the Styles panel repeatedly to add special effects to layers. For your next project, you may never use the Styles panel but require frequent access to the Paths panel to create curves that you use to make selections. And so it goes.

Use custom workspaces to save time and effort, or to instantly clean up a messy desktop.

Custom workspaces come in handy if you share a computer with students, family members, or coworkers. Those who prepare images for various mediums and purposes have different needs that may call for special workspaces, too.

You can start with one of the many preset workspaces. Select a workspace by choosing Window→Workspace or by clicking the workspace button at the far end of the Options bar.

Photoshop CS6 offers preset workspaces for various workflows, such as painting, motion, and photography. These presets can modify menu and/or keyboard shortcuts. They can also modify which panels are visible. You can select a preset, then establish your panel preferences, and save the modified workspace as your own custom workspace. Read on to find out how.

You can tailor your workspace in these ways:

  • Combine panels to group together the ones you use most often. Drag a panel’s tab into another panel group to add it to that group. If the Layers, Channels, and History panels are the ones you use most often, you might want to group them together. You can collapse panels that you rarely use down to space-saving icons, minimize them to just their title bars, or close them altogether.

    Before saving your workspace preset, show or minimize, collapse, or close the panels (however you prefer them) and move them to the locations you want on your screen.

  • Position dialog boxes. Although they don’t save with the workspace, per se, Photoshop’s Menu bar dialog boxes pop up in the same location they appeared the last time you used them. You may want to drag them to a specific place on your screen so that they appear there every time.

  • Customize the Options bar. You can grab the gripper bar at the left edge of the Options bar and drag it to another location. For example, you can dock the bar on the right, along with your other panels, or have it float in a specific place on your Photoshop desktop. Photoshop stores these settings with your workspace preset.

  • Set Photoshop’s font size. You can change the size of the font for text that’s displayed on the Options bar and panels. Choose Edit→Preferences→Interface (Photoshop→Preferences→Interface on the Mac). Select Small, Medium, or Large from the UI Font Size pop-up menu in the Interface pane. The change takes place the next time you start Photoshop.