Three Tips for Setting Up Photoshop – Tweaking Your Preferences


Hi Friends,

The beauty of Photoshop is that it’s infinitely configurable to the way you like to work – customizable floating panels, custom keyboard shortcuts, and more.  You can even save your own customized workspaces – different arrangements for specific editing tasks.

I’m often asked how I have my version of Photoshop configured.  Frankly, I don’t do much customization except for a few panels that I use frequently and have assembled into one uberpanel to optimize my screen real estate (specifically, Layers, Channels, Paths, Styles, and Actions).  I do have some specific preferences settings, though, that I’ll share with you that simplify my process.  Again, this is the way I like to work – it may not work for everyone, but there you go…

To begin, open Photoshop’s Preferences (Cmd+K [Mac]/ Ctrl+K [Win]).


In the Preferences Navigation pane on the left, click “Interface”.  I personally dislike working in Photoshop’s default “tabbed” view.  I find it more convenient for my workflow to have each document open in its own separate window so that I can see them all at the same time. So, I uncheck “Open Documents as Tabs” and “Enable Floating Document Window Docking” so that when I open multiple images, they each open in their own separate document window to make it easy to drag and drop content from one document to another.


File Handling

Moving on down the left side navigation pane to “File Handling”, I always save my master TIF files with layers intact, so rather than be prompted with a “do you want to save layers” every time, I uncheck “Ask Before Saving Layered TIFF Files.”  I also set “Maximize PSD and PSB File Compatibility” to “Always” – again to avoid being prompted every time I save a file since my preference is to always maximize compatibility.



Finally, under the “Cursors” section, I change “Other Cursors” to “Precise”.  This changes the default tool cursor appearance to make it easier to identify the business end of the cursor for selection purposes.cursors

I suppose they’re called “Preferences” for a reason – it’s how I prefer to work.  Your mileage may vary, but give it a try and see if you like it.

Thanks for dropping by!


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