Photoshop CC Panel Menus and Options - dummies

Photoshop CC Panel Menus and Options

By Peter Bauer

Like most of Photoshop’s panels, clicking the Menu button in the upper-right corner of the Character or Paragraph panel opens the Panel menu, which holds a cornucopia of options you probably never need to see. (Consider this: If it were a really important option, it would be easier to get to, wouldn’t it?)

As you can see in the figure, not all menu options are available for all fonts. Some of the options are merely command forms of the panel menus (such as the faux styles). A number of the options apply only to OpenType fonts, which include a much larger selection of glyphs (characters) than do other fonts.

Here are a couple of panel menu options with which you should be familiar:


  • Fractional Widths: When selected, Photoshop uses this option to adjust the spacing between letters on an individual basis. Will you spot the difference? Not with large type, but if you’re creating small text (especially for the web or smart devices), deselect this option. How small is small? Generally 10 points or smaller.

  • System Layout: Unless you need to match the appearance of text in TextEdit for Mac or Windows Notepad, leave this option deselected. When might you need it? When designing interface items for a program or game.

  • No Break: When working with paragraph type, you can select one or more words and choose No Break to prevent them from being hyphenated. You might want to do this with words that are difficult to recognize when split between two lines.

  • Roman Hanging Punctuation: Found on the Paragraph panel menu, this option permits the smaller punctuation marks located at the left and right margins of justified text to hang out past the margins. When commas and the like are outside the margin, the margin itself has a cleaner look. Don’t use this option if your layout can’t handle text that extends past the edges of your column.

  • Adobe Composer: This choice is actually quite simple: Single-Line Composer looks at one line of type to determine hyphenation. Every-Line Composer looks at the entire block of text, generally producing a more pleasing appearance.

  • Reset (panel name): If you’re seeing some strange behavior from your type tools, you might want to invoke the Reset Character and Reset Paragraph commands. They restore the settings in their respective panels to the defaults, eliminating any errant setting that might be causing the problem.

Remember that you can right-click the tool icon at the left end of the Options bar and select Reset Tool (or Reset All Tools) to immediately return to the tool’s default settings. If the Type tool doesn’t seem to be working correctly, reset and then reselect your options.