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Using the panels

When you need to fully maximize your screen space, you can hide all the currently open panels, then make them reappear only when needed. If you hide the panels when your document is in Standard screen mode, the document window will resize dynamically to the maximum screen width; when you redisplay the panels, the document window resizes again.

To hide (or show) the panels:

  • Do any of the following:

    Press Tab to hide (or show) all open panels, including the Tools panel.

    Press Shift-Tab to hide (or show) all open panels except the Tools panel.

To make hidden panel docks reappear:

Most edits made in Photoshop require the use of one or more panels. Photoshop has a clever system for storing and accessing panels so they’re easily expandable and collapsible and don’t intrude on the document window when they’re not being used.

In the predefined workspaces (which are accessed from the Workspace menu on the Application bar), the panels are arranged in docks on the right side of your screen—except for the Tools panel, which is on the left side. Each dock can hold one or more panels or panel groups;A we’ll show you how to reconfigure them.

To configure the panel groups and docks:

  • Show or hide an individual panel: Show a panel by choosing its name from the Window menu. The panel will display either in its default group and dock or in its last location. To bring a panel to the front of its group, click its tab (panel name). A few panels can also be shown or hidden via keyboard shortcuts, which are listed on the Window menu.
  • Show or hide an individual panel (icon): Click the icon or panel name. If Auto-Collapse Iconic Panels is checked in Edit/Photoshop > Preferences > Interface and you open a panel from an icon, it collapses back to the icon when you click elsewhere. With this preference unchecked, the panel stays expanded. To collapse a panel back to an icon, click the Collapse to Icons button collapse-tool.jpg on the panel bar or click the panel icon.
  • Maximize or minimize a panel (non-icon) or group (to toggle the full panel to just a panel tab, or vice versa): Double-click the panel tab; or click the title bar (the gray bar next to the panel tabs).
  • Use a panel menu: Click the panel-menu-tool.jpg icon to open a menu for whichever panel is in front in its group.
  • Close a panel or group: star.jpg To close (but not collapse) a panel, right-click/Control-click the panel tab and choose Close from the same context menu. To close a whole panel group, choose Close Tab Group from the context menu. To close a group that’s an icon, expand it first.
  • Collapse a whole dock to icons or to icons with names: Click the Collapse to Icons button collapse-tool.jpg or the dark gray bar at the top of the dock.B To further collapse the dock to just icons (no names), drag the vertical edge of the dock inward horizontally; C to expand the dock, click the dark gray bar again.
  • Widen or narrow a dock and panels: Position the pointer over the vertical edge of the dock (dock-cursor.jpg cursor), then drag sideways.
  • Lengthen or shorten a panel or group (in the Mac OS, when the Application frame is hidden): Position the pointer over the bottom edge of the panel or group, and when you see this pointer, pointer-cursor.jpg drag upward or downward. Panels docked in the same group will scale accordingly.
  • Move a panel to a different slot, same group: Drag the panel tab (name) to the left or right.
  • Move a panel to a different group: Drag the panel tab over the title bar of the desired group, and release when the blue drop zone border appears.A
  • Move a panel group upward or downward in a dock: Drag the title bar, and release the mouse when the horizontal blue drop zone bar appears in the desired location.B
  • Create a new dock: Drag a panel tab or title bar sideways over the vertical edge of the dock,C and release the mouse when you see the blue vertical drop zone bar.
  • Make a panel or group free-floating: Drag the panel tab, icon, or title bar out of the dock. You can stack free-floating panels and groups together from top to bottom.
  • Reconfigure a dock (icons): Use methods similar to those for an expanded group. Drag the group “title” bar (double dotted line) double-dot-line.jpg to the edge of a dock to create a new dock; or drag the title bar between groups to restack it (look for a horizontal drop zone line); or drag the title bar into another group to add it to that group (look for a blue drop zone border).
    • To redock floating panels into the Application frame, drag the dark gray bar at the top of the panel group to the right edge of the Application frame, and release when the pointer is at the edge and you see a vertical blue drop zone line. star.jpg
    • To create a custom workspace that remembers panel locations and which panels are displayed, choose Save Workspace from the Workspace menu on the Options bar.
    • To reset the panels to their default locations and visibility states, choose Essentials from the Workspace menu on the Application bar. star.jpg
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