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Because Photoshop is so many things to so many different customers, it has a tremendous number of options. When you're just starting out, this can seem overwhelming. For example, look at the number of panels that are showing by default. And this isn't even all of them. To see an entire list, we can look underneath the Window menu. The panels with the check marks are the ones that are visible, or the ones that are on top of any nested or stacked panels. So we can see that the Adjustments panel has a check mark next to it. And over on the right, the Adjustments panel is stacked on top of the Styles panel.
If I wanted to bring this Styles panel to the foreground, I could simply select it under the Window Menu. If I wanted to reveal a panel that wasn't showing I could also select that. For example, if I select the Info panel, the Info panel will become nested with these other iconic panels here. In order to collapse a panel, you'll click on the two triangles. Panels can be in a variety of different states. Here we see them in their iconic state. If I position my cursor on the left hand side and drag to the left we can actually drag them out to another state where I have the icon plus a label. We also have the expanded state which you can see over here on the right. Or we could view these in the expanded state by clicking on the two arrows. When I collapse these panels, they'll go back to their iconic plus their label state.
Of course, I don't have to use the Window menu in order to bring another panel to the foreground if it's already visible. Here if I want to bring the swatches to the foreground. I simply click on the tab. If I want to do reorder panels when they're nested together, just click and drag to reorder them. When you're in the iconic plus label state, you'll notice that each of the panels has its own grabber handle, so I can reorder them that way. If I want to nest a panel with a different set of panels, I'll click on the tab and drag it down on top of the other set of panels. You can see here that I have a solid blue line around all of the other panels, so when I release the cursor, it will nest with that group. If I wanted to elevate a panel and put it in its own group, then I click on the tab and drag between two groups of panels.
When I do this, you'll see that solid blue line. It tells me the adjustment panel is going to have its own space. You can even spread out your panels further. If I grab the swatches panel and I drag it to the left of this row of iconic panels. Then you'll notice the solid blue line vertically. If I release my cursor now, you can see that I've nested another column of panels. If I want to close a panel, I can right mouse click on the name of the panel, on the Mac that'd be a Control+click, and then close the panel.
If multiple panels are nested together and I want to close all of the panels, I can right mouse click and then close the entire tab group. You'll notice that the History panel is still there, because the History panel wasn't grouped or nested with the other two panels. I can also click on the History tab in order to undock this panel, and float it. Then, I can resize it and reposition it by dragging on the solid gray area across the top. When a panel is floating, all you need to do is click on the X in order to close it.
If I want to hide the panels all at once I can tap the Tab key. But right now they're only hidden. If I were to position my cursor on the right hand side of the screen you'll notice that they'll automatically pop back out and be visible. Likewise, if I position my cursor on the left side of the screen, the tools become visible. If I want to make them permanently visible again, I'll just tap the Tab key. If I want to hide the panels but show my tools, then I can use the Shift key plus the Tab key. Now, only the panels are hidden.
And to bring them back continue holding the Shift key and tap the Tab key. If I simply want to minimize a panel, like for example, if I don't need to see all of the options for the Color panel, but I do still want it in this panel grouping, all I need to do is double-click on it. That will collapse the panel. If I single-click, it will expand the panel. Almost all of the panels also have additional options that you can access using the flyout menu. For example, if I click on this downward pointing arrow in the layers panel, I can select from many options, and I can even go into the panel options. So these panel options are specific to the layers panel, and I can do things like change the thumbnail size.
For now I'll leave them at their default, and click OK. The easiest way to reset all of your panels, is by resetting the workspace. Even though Photoshop tells me that I'm still in the Essentials workspace, I've actually made a lot of changes to it. So if I want to return to the default, I simply choose reset essentials. As you continue to work in Photoshop, you'll realize which panels are more important to you and which panels you want to display. And now you know how you can customize those to meet your needs.
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