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Using presets

For any tool, you can save a collection of the current Options bar settings as a tool preset. Thereafter, when you use that tool, you can choose your preset from either the Tool preset picker on the Options bar or the Tool Presets palette. Having a variety of tool presets at your disposal saves you setup time when you use specific tools, even if the differences among the presets are minor.

If you check Current Tool Only on the Tool Presets palette or on the Tool preset picker, only those tool presets that pertain to the current tool will display on the palette and picker, and you’ll have fewer presets to wade through. With Current Tool Only unchecked, the tool presets for all tools will display. Regardless of this setting, when you click a tool preset, the tool that the preset is used with becomes selected automatically.

To create a tool preset:

  1. Customize a tool, such as the Brush, Crop, or Type tool. A Choose a preset from the appropriate picker (such as a brush tip for the Brush tool or a gradient for the Gradient tool), choose settings from Options bar (such as dimensions and a resolution for the Crop tool), and choose a Foreground color, if applicable, to save with the preset.
  2. Do either of the following:

    On the Options bar, click the Tool preset picker thumbnail or arrowhead to open a temporary Tool Presets palette. B

    Open the Tool Presets palette.tool_presets_pal.jpg

  3. Click the New Tool Preset button new_preset.jpgon the picker or palette. The New Tool Preset dialog opens. C
  4. If the default Name doesn’t describe the preset adequately, change it. Also, if the dialog displays an Include Color option (such as for the Brush or Pencil tool), you can check it to save the current Foreground color with that preset.
  5. Click OK. The new tool preset will appear on, and can be chosen from, both the picker and the palette. D
  6. To preserve your tool presets for future use in any document, save them to a tool presets library by choosing Save Tool Presets from the picker or palette menu. You can also load any previously saved preset library via either menu.

As an evolving pro user, you’re probably already familiar with many of the preset pickers in Photoshop, such as the Brush and Gradient preset pickers that can be accessed via the Options bar. The Swatches and Brushes palettes are preset pickers, too. Each item on a picker is called a preset, and each collection of presets that you can load onto a picker or palette is called a library.

To create a preset:

Each kind of preset is created in a different way, such as a pattern, color swatch, gradient, custom brush, custom shape, contour (for layer effects), or graphic style. The following are a few examples:

  • Customize a brush via the Brushes palette or Brush preset picker, then click the New Preset button new_preset.jpgon the palette or picker.
  • Add a swatch to the Swatches palette by clicking the New Swatch of Foreground Color button.new_swatch.jpg
  • Create a gradient by clicking New in the Gradient Editor dialog.
  • Create a style by clicking the New Style button new_style.jpgon the Styles palette or by clicking New Style in the Layer Style dialog.
  • Create a pattern via Edit > Define Pattern or by clicking the Save Preset Pattern button save_preset_patt.jpgin the Filter > Pattern Maker dialog.

If you’ve created some presets that you want to preserve for future use, save them in a library.

To save all the presets currently on a picker as a new library:

  1. From the palette or picker menu, choose Save [preset type].
  2. Enter a name, keep the default extension and location, then click Save.
  3. To make the new library appear on the palette or preset picker menu and on the menu in the Preset Manager, you must relaunch Photoshop.

Once your presets have been saved in a library, you can easily load them onto the appropriate palette or picker when needed.

To load a library of presets:

  1. From the lower portion of the palette or the picker menu, choose the desired library name.
  2. When the alert dialog appears, click Append to add the additional presets to the palette or picker, or click OK to replace the current presets on the palette or picker with those in the library.

    Note: If you made changes to the current palette, another alert dialog will appear. Click Save if you want to save your changes.

  • Photoshop includes default presets, as well as an assortment of preset libraries that you can load as needed from the lower portion of the appropriate palette or picker menu.

The Preset Manager is a central dialog in which you can organize, append, replace, and reset your preset libraries and control which libraries load onto individual palettes and pickers at startup. Changes made to an individual preset picker are reflected in the Preset Manager, and vice versa.

To use the Preset Manager:

  1. Do either of the following:

    Choose Edit > Preset Manager.

    From the menu on any palette or picker that contains presets, such as the Brush Preset picker or Brushes palette, choose Preset Manager.

  2. In the Preset Manager (A, next page), choose from the Preset Type menu.
  3. Do any of the following:

    To add presets to the current library, from the menu actions_pal.jpg, choose a library name (B, next page), then in the alert dialog, click Append (C, next page), or click OK to have them replace the current library.

    To append (to the current presets) a library that is not currently listed on the menu, click Load, locate the library, then click Load again.

    To restore the default library for the chosen type, from the menu actions_pal.jpg, choose Reset [preset type], then click Append to append the default presets to the current library, or click OK to replace the current library with the default presets.

  4. Respond to any alert prompt that appears regarding saving changes to the current presets.
  5. Click Done.
  • To change how the presets are displayed, choose a thumbnail or list view from the Preset Manager menu.
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