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Customizing the Way You Work

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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

What You’ll Do

  • Optimize Photoshop
  • Set General Preferences
  • Modify File Handling Preferences
  • Work with Interface Preferences
  • Work with Cursors Preferences
  • Control Transparency & Gamut Preferences
  • Work with Units & Rulers
  • Work with Guides, Grid, Slices & Count
  • Select Plug-Ins
  • Select Scratch Disks
  • Allocate Memory & Image Cache
  • Work with Type
  • Manage Libraries with the Preset Manager
  • Customize the Workspace
  • Define Shortcut Keys
  • Create a Customized User Interface
  • Use Drawing Tablets


No description of Adobe Photoshop would be complete without that well known, but little utilized area called Preferences. Photoshop preferences serve several purposes. They help customize the program to your particular designing style, and they help you utilize available computer resources to increase the overall performance of the program.

By modifying File Handling preferences, such as appending a file extension on the file, or being asked when saving a layered TIFF file, you can streamline file saving process. In addition, you can change the way your cursors look. For example, do you want your paintbrush to look like a paintbrush when you paint, do you prefer a precession crosshair or the actual brush size shape, or the shape with a crosshair?

As you use Photoshop, you’ll come to realize the importance of working with units and rulers. Precision is the name of the game when you are working with images. What about the color of your guides, grids, and slices? No big deal, you say. Well, if you’ve every tried viewing a blue guide against a blue-sky image, you know exactly why color is important. By working through preferences such as Image Cache, Scratch Disks, and RAM Memory, speed increases of up to 20 percent can be achieved.

In addition, customizing the program, helps make you more comfortable, and studies show that the more comfortable you are as a designer the better your designs. Plus, being comfortable allows you to work faster, and that means you’ll accomplish more in the same amount of time. What does setting up preferences do for you? They make Photoshop run faster (up to 20 percent), you work more efficiently, and your designs are better. That’s a pretty good combination. Photoshop doesn’t give you preferences to confuse you, but to give you choices, and those choices give you control.

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