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The Photoshop Elements workspace

Take a look around the Photoshop Elements workspace. In the middle is the image window, where you actually edit your photo. On the left is a toolbox; which tools are available depends on which edit mode you're in. Across the top are the menu bar, the Application bar, and the options bar. The menu bar is the place to go for most of the program's commands. The Application bar has handy shortcuts to the Organizer or Bridge and to common tasks, such as Undo and Redo. The options bar displays the options for the tool that is currently selected. For example, when the Zoom tool is selected, the options bar displays options for resizing the window.

Figure 4.2

Figure 4.2 The Photoshop Elements workspace.


Panels, such as the Layers panel or the Undo History panel, help you manage and edit images. They often have menus with additional commands and options. To open a panel, choose Window > [panel name].

The panel bin is the default location for any open panels. You can leave panels in the bin, or you can drag a panel's tab outside the panel to work with it independently. To group panels together, drag the tab of one next to the tab of another.

The Project Bin

At the bottom of the Photoshop Elements window is the Project Bin, which displays thumbnails of your open files.

  • To switch between images, just double-click the thumbnail of the one you want to work with. They all stay open until you close them, but only one image is active at a time. (Okay, that's not completely true. When you perform some tasks, such as using the Photomerge features, more than one image may be active.)
  • To close an image, whether it's active in the image window or not, right-click or Control-click its thumbnail in the Project Bin and choose Close.
  • To view information about an image file, right-click or Control-click its thumbnail, and choose File Info.
  • To duplicate an image, right-click or Control-click its thumbnail, choose Duplicate, and then name the copy of the file.
  • To rotate an image, right-click or Control-click its thumbnail, and choose Rotate 90° Left or Rotate 90° Right.
  • To see the filenames of all the open images, right-click or Control-click in the Project Bin, and then choose Show Filenames.
Figure 4.5

Figure 4.5 All your open images are shown in the Project Bin.

Tabbed documents

If you have more than one image open in Full Edit mode, you can arrange them as tabbed documents, so that each image has a tab labeled with its file name. To switch to a different image, click its tab.

  • To dock a floating document as a tabbed document, drag its title bar up until a blue line appears at the top of the image window, and then drop it.
  • To quickly make all images tabbed, choose Window > Images > Consolidate All To Tabs.
  • To release tabbed documents, choose Window > Images > Float All In Windows. Photoshop Elements floats each image window separately, so you can resize and reposition each.
Figure 4.6

Figure 4.6 Tabbed documents are tidy, but still accessible.

Rulers and the grid

If you're aiming for precision, you may find the rulers and grid handy. Choose View > Rulers to display rulers around the image. You can pull nonprinting ruler guides out from either the vertical or horizontal ruler to help you line things up just right. Choose View > Grid to display a grid on your image.

Previewing changes

In Guided Edit mode or Quick Fix mode, you can see your original photo next to the edited version as you work. In Quick Fix mode, choose an option from the View menu that appears below the image window. In Guided Edit mode, select a Guided Edit, and then click at the bottom of the panel to choose After Only, Before And After Vertical, or Before And After Horizontal.

To see before and after views in Full Edit mode, duplicate the image in the Project Bin and then choose an option from the Arrange menu to see them side by side as you make edits to one. Just remember which one you're editing and which one you're leaving as the original! You may want to name the duplicate something like "original" or even "don't change this one!"

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