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Custom Sizes for Photographers

Photoshop’s dialog for creating new documents has a pop-up menu with a list of preset sizes. You’re probably thinking, “Hey, there’s a 4x6", 5x7", and 8x10"—I’m set.” The problem is there’s no way to switch the resolution of these presets (so the Portrait, 4x6 will always be a 300 ppi document). That’s why creating your own custom new document sizes is so important. Here’s how:

Step One:

Go under the File menu and choose New (or press Command-N [PC: Ctrl-N]). When the New dialog appears, click on the Preset pop-up menu to reveal the list of preset types, and choose Photo. Then click on the Size pop-up menu to see the preset sizes, which include 2x3", 4x6", 5x7", and 8x10" in both portrait and landscape orientation. The only problem with these is that their resolution is set to 300 ppi by default. So, if you want a different size preset at less than 300 ppi, you’ll need to create and save your own.

Step Two:

For example, let’s say that you want a 5x7" set to landscape (that’s 7" wide by 5" tall). First, choose Photo from the Preset pop-up menu, then choose Landscape, 5x7 from the Size pop-up menu. Choose your desired Color Mode (below Resolution) and Color Profile (under Advanced), and then enter a Resolution (I entered 212 ppi, which is enough for me to have my image printed on a high-end printing press). Once your settings are in place, click on the Save Preset button.

Step Three:

This brings up the New Document Preset dialog. In the Preset Name field, enter your new resolution at the end of the size. You can turn on/off the checkboxes for which parameters you want saved, but I use the default setting to include everything (better safe than sorry, I guess).

Step Four:

Click OK and your new custom preset will appear in the New dialog’s Preset pop-up menu. You only have to go through this once. Photoshop will remember your custom settings, and they will appear in this Preset pop-up menu from now on.

Step Five:

If you decide you want to delete a preset, it’s simple—just open the New dialog, choose the preset you want to delete from the Preset pop-up menu, and then click the Delete Preset button. A warning dialog will appear asking you to confirm the delete. Click Yes, and it’s gone!

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