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Mini Bridge is a brand-new feature located inside of Photoshop CS5 that you can use to access some of the same file browsing and file management functions as you can in the standalone application Adobe Bridge CS5, which by the way, also ships with Photoshop and Creative Suite 5. The advantage of using Mini Bridge to browse and manager your files as opposed to the standalone Bridge is that Mini Bridge is inside of Photoshop. So you don't have to constantly bounce back and forth between Photoshop and a separate program to manage your image files.
In this movie, I will show you the Mini Bridge interface along with some ways that you can customize it to your liking. I will start by launching Mini Bridge inside Photoshop. I can do that in anyone of a number of ways. If I have a collapsed panel open with the Mini Bridge icon I can just click that or if I don't have that collapse panel, I can go up to the Application bar and click on the Launch Mini Bridge icon there or I could go to Photoshop's File menu and choose Browse in Mini Bridge or go to the Window menu, and choose Extensions > Mini Bridge.
No matter how I do it, this is what Mini Bridge looks like when I first open it. When I want to browse files in Mini Bridge so that I can choose one or more images to work on in Photoshop, I first have to make sure that the standalone program Adobe Bridge CS5 is running in the background. That's because, as you can see from this tooltip, file browsing in Mini Bridge is powered by Adobe Bridge and that's a good thing because it means that from the memory managed perspective, Mini Bridge is taking advantage of memory allocated to Adobe Bridge rather than to Photoshop.
To start Adobe Bridge running in the background, I am going to click this Browse Files button and that not only starts Bridge running in the background, it also changes the appearance of the Mini Bridge panel. Mini Bridge now displays a Navigation pod here and a Content pod here. To find files located in a particular area of my computer, I will go the Navigation pod and click on one of the items on the left side, Favorites, Recent Folders, Recent Files or even Collections that I've created in Adobe Bridge. I will choose Favorites and then I will move over to the right side of the Navigation pod and select from one of these sub-menu items.
I am going to select Desktop because the files that I want are located there and that changes the Content panel to show me what's on my Desktop. Currently there is only this folder full of exercise files. I want to borrow down into the Exercise Files folder, so I will double-click its thumbnail here in the Content panel. And then I want to look inside the Chapter 7 folder. I will scroll down to the Chapter 7 folder, double-click that folder and then to go into the 07_01 sub-folder, I will double-click that folder. Finally here in the Content panel, I can see thumbnail previews of the images inside the 07_01 sub-folder.
Before I leave the subject of navigation there are a couple of more navigation aids you should know about. If I want to back up a level, I can go up to the top of Mini Bridge and click the Go back arrow right here. That takes me back up to the 07_01 folder and if I click that arrow again, I will go back another level and another. Similarly I can go forward to folders I just visited by clicking the Go forward button If I click next icon, I can go to a parent folder, to recent items or to favorites.
I can also view a breadcrumb trail to my current location by opening the Path Bar. That's accessible from this icon the panel View menu where I will toggle on Path Bar. Now if I were to click on any of the folders in this breadcrumb trail, I would go right back to that location. There are lots of ways to customize Mini Bridge so that it fits the way that you work. One of the first things I generally do to customize it is to make a Content pod bigger so I can see more thumbnails in it.
I can do that by moving my mouse over the borders and clicking-and-dragging. I also can click-and-drag over these lines between the Content and Navigation pods to allocate more room to the Content pod and then I can see more image thumbnails there. I can customize the appearance of the thumbnails in the Content pod in a couple of ways. First, I can go down to the Scale slider here and I can drag that to the right to scale the thumbnails up for a closer view of any of them or I can scale them back so that I can see more of them at once.
From the View menu here at the bottom right of the Content pod, I can customize the configuration of thumbnails in Content pod similar to the ways that standalone Bridge has offered for several versions, either as thumbnails or as a filmstrip which I can move through by dragging this scroll-bar or to go back to that menu As Details or As a List. I most often use As Thumbnails. Sometimes when I am viewing As Thumbnails, I find that one or more thumbnails is half in and half out of the Content panel.
So if I take the Scale slider and drag slightly to the right, you can see what I mean in these thumbnails down here. One way to solve that problem is to go back to the View menu and to choose Grid Lock and that creates this grid around each thumbnail. Now, no matter how I scale or how big or small I drag out the Mini Bridge panel, I will be able to see each viewable thumbnail in its entirety. Another option from the View menu is to turn off titles or other information and just look at thumbnails. I am going to untoggle Show Thumbnail Only because I like to see the names of the thumbnails so I know which photo each thumbnail corresponds to.
I am going to go back to that View menu one more time to show you another item, Show Items In Pages. Rather than having to use the scroll bar to move through all of the thumbnails in a selected folder, I can set up some pages by selecting Show Items In Pages and then clicking the arrows that appear here at the bottom of the Content panel. I think that's a more elegant and efficient way to scroll through thumbnails. This menu, the Preview menu, offers some other options for viewing content.
These choices won't be new to you if you are familiar with previous versions of the standalone Adobe Bridge. I can view images in a slideshow in Review Mode, which is used to compare similar images one to the other or as a Full Screen Preview that takes over my entire screen. Since those features aren't new, I am not going to cover them in detail here, but I do want to point out the Preview function, which I can access with the keyboard shortcut Shift+Space. If I want to see a larger view of any one of these thumbnails, all I have to do is to select it and then I'll press that keyboard shortcut Shift+Spacebar and I get this larger, more intimate preview of that particular image.
When I am done looking at it, I will click the Close button. I prefer that way of previewing to opening the separate Preview pod which is something that I can do if I wish from here in panel View menu by choosing Preview pod. But I think this takes up some valuable real estate in Mini Bridge and I really don't need to have the preview open all the time so I am going to close that. So that's an introduction to the Mini Bridge interface with some thoughts on how you can customize it to your liking. In the next movie I'll show you some of these specific functions that you can perform from Mini Bridge in concert with Photoshop and Bridge.
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