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This chapter is from the book

File Handling Preferences

You get to the next page of the Preferences dialog box by clicking the Next button. This page is all about file handling, as you see in Figure 3.5. The settings on this page handle how you create thumbnails of images, how you save TIFF and PSD files, and whether you want to collaborate with others in a workgroup using Version Que. Let's begin.

Figure 3.5Figure 3.5 The File Handling Preferences dialog box.

File Saving Options

Image previews are miniature pictures of the actual image contained in a file. These miniature versions of the file are also sometimes called thumbnails. Image Previews is one area in Photoshop where operating system differences between Windows and Macintosh are evident. The biggest difference is that the Mac OS supports more image previews and that it does not, by default, use file extensions to indicate the kind of file or program that can be used to open the file.

The default setting for the Image Previews drop-down list, Always Save, is the setting we recommend you use. Your other choices are Never Save and Ask When Saving. These settings do exactly what they say. Saving an Image Preview is particularly useful for files saved in Photoshop's PSD file format. Photoshop PSD files, when saved with a preview image, show up as little thumbnails of the file on your desktop and in folders (when the viewing mode is Large Icons). If you choose the Always Save option, Photoshop's Open dialog box and File Browser will display thumbnails of all image files, which makes it very easy to spot the file you want to open.

File Extension, the next option in the File Saving Options area, allows you to choose the letter case of file extensions. Use Lower Case is the default. Unless you have an in-house rule that says all filenames have to be in uppercase, leave Use Lower Case selected. Who on earth wants a file extension shouting at them from a long list of files?

File Compatibility

The File Compatibility area of the Preferences dialog box contains four options. Top on the list is Ignore EXIF Profile Tag; when this option is selected, Photoshop disregards the information that digital cameras write to each picture file (camera settings, for example). Leaving this item unchecked preserves a lot of information that you might find useful later. Therefore, we recommend that you leave the Ignore EXIF Profile Tag option unchecked.

Ask Before Saving Layered TIFF Files, on the other hand, should be checked. Adobe is sort of hamstrung between still-image artists who want the TIFF format to remain the same as it's always been so that Photoshop users on both platforms can access an image in this format. Also, those who do not own Photoshop usually can view a TIFF. But the digital video industry has been pleading for a TIFF version that can contain layers since...well, since digital video editing has been around. For the user, you need to pay attention and not accidentally save a layered image to the TIFF format.


Clean up those files! The problem caused by layers in a TIFF file you send to your client isn't the only headache you can cause with image files that can contain special features. Get rid of those paths in your image before you send it to press or for placement in a DTP (Desktop Publishing) document. Once we accidentally included a path that acted like a clipping path when we sent the TIFF to the printer!

Learn from our mistakes, eh?

The third item in this section, Enable Large Document Format (.psb), enables you to save files in this new format that, at the time of this writing, only Photoshop CS supports. The PSB format can handle documents up to 300,000 pixels in both dimensions—almost a life-size image of Godzilla—plus up to 56 channels. If your machine has the RAM and you have the need for big monster images, you'll want to put a check in this field.

Ah, now for the last option in this section, Maximize PSD File Compatibility. Each new version of Photoshop comes with tons of new features. The downside to all the new features is that older versions of Photoshop, as well as other programs that can import Photoshop files, don't know about the features. At best, these programs will ignore stuff in the file that they don't understand (type layers, effect layers, layer sets, and so on). And, at worst, these programs may not be able to open the newer version Photoshop files at all. Backward-compatibility issues have always focused on Photoshop's native file format, PSD files. But now, because Adobe has enhanced the capability of the TIFF and PDF file formats, you need to watch out for backward-compatibility problems with files saved in these formats as well.

When this option is set to Always, extra information is saved along with the TIFF, PDF, and PSD images, creating flattened versions of the file. Doing so allows the programs that don't know about the latest version of Photoshop to open those files. Be aware, however, that saving this extra version of the file within the saved file increases the file's size noticeably.

It's really your call. Our recommendation is that if you are in an enterprise where there are many licenses for Photoshop, all different versions, you bite the bullet and use backward compatibility. But for small groups of users who all have version CS, why needlessly plump up the saved file size? Use the extra disk space for MP3 files!

Version Cue

Version Cue is the new workgroup feature and installs only with Adobe Creative Suite (refer to Figure 3.5). If you do not have Creative Suite installed and are working on a standalone computer, leave the Enable Version Cue Workgroup File Management option unchecked.

If you are in a workgroup and collaborate with others on an assignment across the room, on an intranet, or over the Internet, and Version Cue is installed, be sure to select this option.

Recent File List Contains

The Recent File List Contains option allows you to enter the number of recently used files you would like to have quick access to. These file titles will be listed in the File, Open Recent option. Most Windows applications have included this feature in the past, but now not only do both platforms have this option under the File menu, but you can also set the number of files you want to retrieve. Many of my programs limit me to the last four used files, but Photoshop CS will let you crank it up to the last 30 used files!

You'll never lose your file on your hard disk again, even if you use the default of only 10 of your most recent files. This feature requires no additional memory usage.

The Macintosh File Handling Preferences Box

You have slightly different choices on the File Handling page of the Preferences dialog box on the Macintosh, so here's the scoop on the different options.

Image Previews

As with Windows, you have a choice of Always Save, Never Save, and Ask When Saving the image previews (see Figure 3.6), but there's also a sub-choice here. Do you want to save to Icon, Macintosh Thumbnail, Windows Thumbnail, and/or Full Size?

  • Icon size displays the picture at 32x32 pixels on the desktop and in folder windows. This is a very sensible option to check and adds practically nothing to the saved file size.

  • Macintosh or Windows Thumbnail size is the image you see in preview boxes. The image is larger than an icon thumbnail and smaller than a Winnebago. Check this option if you want the saved file size to be a little larger than the icon option but want to have an easier time previewing files before you load them. Your choice of Windows and/or (you can choose both) Macintosh thumbnail has to do with the final destination for the file. Are you a Macintosh user who sends work to a Windows service bureau? Then make your preview choice here.

  • Full Size may seem redundant, but it's not. What we mean here is that some applications such as Quark can place and link at full page preview at 72 pixels/inch resolution. The actual picture might be the same size in inches, but its resolution could be something such as 266 pixels/inch. Yes, this option does, indeed, increase the size of your saved file significantly, but you will work more quickly in Quark when the on-page image links out to the 72 pixel/inch preview for display.

Figure 3.6Figure 3.6 The Macintosh dialog box for File Saving Preferences contains options that are different from those in Windows.

Append File Extension

The choices in the Append File Extension option are Never, Ask When Saving, and Always. If you design for the Web, browsers insist on file extensions. Many, many Web servers use Unix as the operating system, and GIF, JPEG, and HTML files must always have the file extensions (*.gif, *.jpg, and *.html, respectively) appended to a document name for the server to successfully pass the correct image type to the visitor's browser. And even if there weren't a Web, multiplatform companies are out there, and sharing your work with Windows users is that much more difficult if neither of you know the file format.

The rest of the preferences are the same as in Windows, so we're essentially done with this Preferences box.

It's time to move on to the Display & Cursors page of the Preferences dialog box.

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