Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Design > Adobe Creative Suite

Step-by-Step QuickPro Guide to Using Palettes in Photoshop CS3

  • Print
  • + Share This
Before tackling advanced Photoshop topics, authors Elaine Weinmann and Peter Lourekas take you through a few Photoshop fundamentals that you'll need to master before moving on to anything more complicated.
This chapter is from the book

In this Chapter

Using the palettes


Hiding and showing palettes


Changing screen modes


Tools on the Tools palette


Changing the image size


Choosing a file format


Choosing a bits/channel mode


Cropping an image


Rotating an image


Choosing colors


Using the Swatches palette


Using the Layers palette


Using fill and adjustment layers


Choosing a mode for the History palette


Making snapshots of History states


Working with nonlinear histories


Using presets


Streamlining your workflow


This chapter begins with a summary of fundamental Photoshop features. Topics include using the palettes A and screen modes; changing the image size, file format, and bits/channel mode; cropping and rotating images; choosing and saving colors; using the Layers and History palettes; and creating and managing presets.

Using the palettes

Most edits made in Photoshop require the use of one or more palettes. Photoshop CS3 has a clever system for storing and accessing palettes so they’re easily expandable and collapsible and don’t intrude on the document window when you’re not using them. As expected, with enhanced flexibility, you also get greater complexity.

By default, some of the most commonly used palettes are grouped into vertical docks (dark gray areas) on the far right side of your screen A—except for the Tools palette, which occupies its own dock on the left side. Each dock can hold as many or as few palettes or palette groups as you wish. We’ll show you how to reconfigure the docks to suit your working style.

Show or hide a palette: To show a palette, choose the palette name from the Window menu. The palette will display either in its default group and dock or in its last location. To bring a palette to the front of its group, click the tab (palette name). Some palettes can also be shown or hidden via a keyboard shortcut (look for them on the Window menu).

Show or hide a palette (that’s in icon form): Click the palette icon or name. If Auto-Collapse Icon Palettes is checked in Preferences > Interface and you open a palette from an icon, it will collapse back to the icon when you click away from it. With the preference off, the palette will stay expanded. To collapse it, click the collapse/expand button double.jpgon the palette bar, or the palette tab or icon.

Expand or collapse a palette (non-icon) or group vertically: Double-click the palette tab; or click the light gray bar (above the palette tabs); or click the palette or group minimize/maximize button.max_min.jpg

Use a palette menu: Click the palette_menu.jpgicon to open a menu for the frontmost palette in the group.

Close a palette or group: To close (but not collapse) a palette, click the close button x.jpgon its tab, as in x_on.jpg. To close a palette group, click the x.jpgon the gray bar. To close a group that’s an icon, expand the dock first by clicking the collapse/expand button, double.jpgthen click the x.jpg.

Collapse or expand a whole dock into icons with names: Click the collapse/expand button double.jpgor 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 or to expand it, do the reverse.

Widen or narrow a dock and palettes (non-icon): Position the mouse over the vertical edge of the dock (left-right.jpgcursor), then drag sideways.

Lengthen or shorten a palette, group, or dock: Position the mouse over the dark gray line at the bottom of the palette or dock (up_down.jpg cursor), then drag upward or downward. Palettes and palette groups in the dock will scale accordingly.

Move a palette to a different slot, same group: Drag the palette tab (name) horizontally.

Move a palette to a different group: Drag the palette tab over the bar of the desired group, and release the mouse when the blue drop zone border appears. A

Move a palette group upward or downward in a dock: Drag the gray bar, and release the mouse when the blue drop zone line appears in the desired location. B

Create a new dock: Drag a palette tab or gray bar sideways over the vertical edge of the dock, C and release the mouse when the blue vertical drop zone bar appears.

Make a palette or group freestanding: Drag the palette tab, icon, or group bar out of the dock. To move a freestanding group, drag the group bar.

Reconfigure a dock (icon): Drag the group bar over the edge of a dock to create a new dock; drag it between groups to restack it; or drag it over another gray bar to add it to that group. The blue drop zone will indicate the new location for the palette or group.

  • When you open a palette from the Window menu, it appears either as a freestanding palette or in a dock, depending on its last location.
  • To reset the palettes to their default locations and show/hide states, choose Default Workspace from the Workspace menu on the Options bar. To reset just the palette locations, choose Window > Workspace > Reset Palette Locations.
  • To create a custom workspace that remembers palette locations and which palettes are showing or hidden, choose Save Workspace from the Workspace menu on the Options bar.
  • For any tool that uses a brush, you can click the Toggle Palette button toggle_palette.jpgon the Options bar to show/hide the Brushes palette. For the Type tool, this button displays the Character palette.
  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive:

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020