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When you launch Adobe Photoshop CS6 for the first time you'll see something like this, minus the cow staring at you of course. This is the default layout for Photoshop, and for some users I'm sure it works just fine, but in my mind it's not an ideal setup. For example, I rarely use the color panel or the swatches panel. I don't typically use the History panel and I don't use Styles all that often, either. And so, there's a lot of panels here that I don't really need, I don't need to have access to, and they're just taking up space.
So I like to create a little bit more organized set up, something that makes more sense for my workflow. Let me show you how we can clean up this panel configuration in Photoshop. Any of the panels that are currently visible that you don't want you can drag out into an open space. Just grab the tab and drag it out into an open area within the interface here, and then click the Close button. I'll repeat that process for each of the other panels that I don't need to have available to me. Notice that a couple of the panels here are currently collapsed, but I can still just drag them out into an open space and close the collapse panel.
This one however is Properties. I do want the Properties panel to be available, but I don't want it to be collapsed on a second row. So I'll go ahead and drag that out into the open area here. I also don't tend to use Paths. And so I will close that panel as well. So now I have Layers and Channels. And then I also have Adjustments and Properties. And these are the panels that I use the most. Generally speaking, the Layers panel is my home base, so to speak.
I use Channels relatively frequently. I don't necessarily need the Adjustments panel, but I do find that the buttons are a quick and easy way to add Adjustment Layers, and so I'll keep that panel around. But I also want to make sure that I can see the Properties panel, and so I'm going to place that into the Dock here. I could place it in with the Layers and Channels panels, or I could place it in with the Adjustments panel. The blue box that you see there indicates that if I release the mouse the panel will be placed inside that same grouping, but in this case I want to have this panel all by itself. And so I'm going to point the mouse in between the Adjustments panel and the Layers panel.
Note by the way, that is entire time I have kept my mouse button down. I'm still dragging this Properties panel around, I'll go ahead and release when I have that horizontal blue bar, so that I can have the Properties panel displayed in between. You might also notice that we have some hidden panels down at the bottom left. I have a Timeline panel and a Bridge panel, I'll go ahead and drag both of those out and close them, because I don't generally make use of those panels all that often. So, that gives me a little bit more space. By the way, it's worth noting that the tool bar over on the left, can be expanded to two columns or collapsed to one column.
But as long as you have enough vertical space, enough vertical resolution, I would suggest leaving that set to one column, so that it takes up less space. The only time I might switch to the two column version is if I'm working on a laptop for example. As needed I can adjust the size of some of these panels. So, for example, I can increase or decrease the size of the Properties panel by Dragging in between properties and layers in this case. Generally speaking, I have a fair number of layers, and so I'll leave a little bit of extra space there for the Layers panel. But this layout should work pretty well for me.
This gives me easy access to the panels that I use most frequently. And they're arranged in a way that I feel makes a little bit more sense for my work flow. And any time I need to get to any of the other panels, I can simply choose the appropriate option from the Window menu. Another item I can choose from the Window menu is to save this particular workspace, this arrangement of panels. So from the Window menu, I will choose Workspace, and then New Workspace. I'll give this a name, I'll just type my own name, so that I know that this is my preferred workspace. So I'll type my name, and then click the Save button. Notice that I'm not saving, by the way, any keyboard shortcut changes, or menu changes with this workspace.
I generally prefer not to change the keyboard shortcuts, or menu structure just for consistency's sake. I'll go ahead and click the Save button now. And I have my workspace available. At any time I can get back to my workspace by choosing Window > Workspace, and then Tim Grey, or whatever I had named that workspace. So that for example, if I had moved some panels around and want to reset my workspace, or if I found that a different workspace was better for a particular task I was performing, I could switch back to this one for example. And know, by the way, if I have saved multiple workspace I can choose that workspace from the pop-up from the far right of the options bar. As you can see, it doesn't take much effort to rearrange the panels in Photoshop, and I think it makes a lot of sense to invest just a little bit of time fine-tuning the overall workspace so that you can work that much more efficiently on your images.
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