So Photoshop and the other Adobe applications in the Creative Suite for CS4 introduced a new more overarching interface concept called the Application Frame. Now on Windows this is something that is just on. It can't be turned off. It's just kind of the way Windows applications work. On a Mac, all the Adobe applications have the Application Frame turned off by default. That's what you are looking at right now. It is not turned on. The easy way to explain this is that if the Application Frame is turned off, you see through Photoshop. Like you can see Bridge in the background here because there is no part of the application obscuring or hiding the other applications in the background. It's off by default on the Mac because this is kind of a fundamental shift in the way applications on the Mac work. You have always been able to see through to the underlying desktop.
To turn it on, on a Mac, you go to the Window menu and towards the bottom of the menu called Application Frame. And the minute I turn this on you will right away see the difference. The application window, now the Application Frame, is a self-contained window, meaning all the aspects of the application, the document window, the panels, are all in one contained window, which means it's very easy to move the entire application around. You can even move it to a second monitor if you want it to. Or you can resize the entire application. So if I go to the bottom right-hand corner and resize it, the document window and the panels travel with that resize.
Now the resizing behavior, that is both the same on both Mac and PC. The only difference here is that on the Mac, you have to turn it on because it's not on by default and on a Windows machine, you can't turn it off. It's just part of how a Windows application works. If you click that green button on the Mac, of course that will expand the application to fill the screen. So I actually love the Application Frame. I've gotten quite used to it. I like the fact that it's very easy to resize the whole application and everything travels with you, plus I think, especially if you are starting out, it's very easy to accidentally click out of Photoshop when you are not in the Application Frame. That's one of the benefits of the Application Frame being on. So if I turn this off, if I click outside on Bridge, I'm not in Photoshop anymore. I've got to toggle back to Photoshop.
So I find when I have it turned on I do less accidental clicking outside of Photoshop and everything just is kind of self-contained. So as you can see the Application Frame is completely optional on the Mac. It's off by default. Turn it on if you want it and decide for yourself.
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