Photoshop - CS5

Lesson 4: Preferences

4/94 Lessons 


We had already set preferences in Lesson 2 of this course, you remember?

But there are a number of other prefereces that I want to explain to you.

To open the “Preferences” window, click “Edit” in the menu bar, choose “Preferences” from the drop-down menu, and click on “General”.

The shortcut for this is Ctrl + K.

The first tab is the “General” tab. I turned off some of these options.

The first is “Export Clipboard”. What you should know is that every application that is running, has its own clipboard, such as Photoshop and Word if it is open. From both applications, we can copy and paste data into another. When you copy text from a Word document into Photoshop you have no problem, but when you take a picture of several MB and copy into Word, then you have a problem. Word can not handle this. So, unless you want to copy small photos, it is best that you disable this feature. This will only waste your time, because Word will not accept this.

The second option that I want to disarm is the “Shift key for Tool switch”. When you use the keyboard shortcuts for selecting tools, you normally press a letter key on your keyboard, for example the “W” for the “Magic Wand”. To select an underlying tool, you press again on the “W”. When this option is ticked, when the shift key pressed down, the underlying tool gets selected. With underlying tools I mean the tools that appear when you click the downward pointing triangle at the bottom of the tool.

The rest of the default settings for the preferences are fine.



The second tab is the “Interface” tab, this is new in Photoshop.  Among the things you can change here are the background color and a drop shadow between the photo and the workspace. This can be interesting if, for example, there is a little more contrast between the workspace and the pictures. If you choose “Custom” when you click the downward pointing arrow next to the box “Standard Screen Mode”, then Photoshop gives a standard blue-colored background. To change this, right click somewhere in the background in the workspace and choose “Custom Color” screen. Choose a color in the window that you want to set as the “Custom Color”.

We have a number of settings for our panels. All relate to the display of the panels. What I find interesting is that the option “Open Documents as Tabs”.


File Handling

In the “Maximize PSD and PSB File Compatibility”, Choose “Ask”.

When set to “Never”, Photoshop will always save a PSD file, with layers of stored images, as a copy without layers. This consumes a lot of memory, so let it first ask whether it should do so.

The next box I want to adjust in this window is, “Adobe Drive” box. Unless you know what “Adobe Drive” is, uncheck the box for the text “Enable Adobe Drive”. This will significantly reduce processing time of Photoshop.



In “Performance”, you determine the memory for Photoshop.

The part of the RAM that Photoshop can use from your hard disk.

The higher you set it up and the faster the hard drive is, or better said, the faster Photoshop will work. When Photoshop runs out of memory, it will want memory of another hard drive. For Photoshop to determine which drive to choose first, you can set in the “scratch disks”. As you will notice in this example, it will go first and nibble on my “C”. If you want to set another, select it in the list and click the upward pointing arrow.

These settings are of course applicable only when your computer has multiple hard disks.

In the section “GPU Settings”, you can see what display adapter is installed on your computer.

If the box in this section is not selected, then there is something wrong with your video driver.

You can still try to select, but it is more likely that you will need to install it new



In the “Cursors”, if you want to work correctly, select the “Show Crosshair in Brush Tip” or the “Show only Crosshair while Painting”.


Units and Rulers

And the last thing I would change is the “Units” under the “Units and Rulers”. Our images are composed of pixels, so I find it most natural that the rulers are also set in pixels instead of inches or whatever.

These are my preferences, of course you can set what are most practical to you.


You've completed Lesson 4