Options Bar: displays options for the currently selected tool.
Tools Palette: contains tools for creating and editing
images. Related tools are grouped together. To view
additional tools under the same button, click and hold the
drop-down arrow on the button.
Panels: consist of palettes that help you monitor and modify your work, such as the
Layers palette. Certain panels are displayed by default, but you can add any panel by
selecting it from the Window menu.
Note: If you accidentally close a palette or can’t find the tool you need, go to Window >
Workspace > Reset Palette Locations
To create a new document:
1. Go to File > New.
2. In the dialog box, type a name for the image.
3. Set the width and height by choosing a preset from the Size menu or entering
values in the Width and Height text boxes.
4. Set the Resolution, Color Mode, and bit depth if needed. If you copied a selection
to the clipboard, the image dimensions and resolution are automatically based on
5. Select a canvas color option: White, Background Color (fills the background or
first layer with the current background color), or Transparent (makes the first
6. When you finish, you can save the settings as a preset by clicking Save Preset,
or you can click OK to open the new file.
To open an existing image or document:
1. Choose File > Open.
2. Locate and select the file you want to open. If the file does not appear, select the
option for showing all files from the ‘Files Of Type’ (Windows) or ‘Enable’
(Mac OS) pop-up menu.
3. Click Open. In some cases, a dialog box appears, letting you set format-specific
Among the many palette options in the panels section is the Tools palette. Some of the
commonly used tools include Move , Rectangular marquee , Lasso , Crop ,
Eraser , Red eye , Brush , Paint bucket , Horizontal Type , Line ,
Eyedropper , and Zoom .
Clicking on the small black arrow at the bottom right corner of a button displays
even more button options. If you cannot find a tool, it may be hidden under the
Remember to check the Options bar at the top of the window for additional
controls for the currently selected tool.
See page 7 under ‘Additional Resources’ in the handout for a complete tools list.
The Color palette displays the color
values for the current foreground and
background colors. Using the sliders in
the Color palette, you can change the
foreground and background colors. You
can also choose a foreground or
background color from the spectrum of
colors displayed in the color
ramp at the bottom of the Color palette
palette. A. Foreground color B. Background color C. Slider D. Color ramp
To select a color from an image, use the Eyedropper tool
Layers are like sheets of stacked
acetate. You can see through
transparent areas of a layer to the
layers below. In the Layers palette,
the layer at the top of the list is the
first layer. Layers are useful for
compositing multiple images, adding
text to an image, or adding vector
graphic shapes. You can move
layers around a document, change
the opacity of a layer to make
content partially transparent, or
apply a layer style to add a special Transparent areas on a layer let you see layers below.
effect such as a drop shadow or a
When you open an image in Photoshop, or paste an image in a Photoshop document, it
exists on its own layer. When you create a text box or vector graphic shape, a new layer
is also automatically created.
To create a new, empty layer:
1. Click the Create a new layer button on the Layers panels or:
a. Go to Layer > New > Layer on the menu.
2. Rename the layer by double-clicking the name.
To copy an existing layer, do one of the following:
a. In the Layer palette, drag the layer to the Create new layer button.
b. Select the layer and go to Layer > Duplicate
Note: When you open a JPEG image or other image,
the default layer is called the Background. The
background layer (shown in italics) has limited editing
capabilities. To convert it into a regular layer, go to
Layer > New > Layer From Background, or drag
the background layer to the Create a new layer
To change the order of a layer, simply drag it above or below other layers in the Layer
palette. Click on the eye on the layers palette to show or hide a layer from view.
Unless you change the opacity, the topmost layer is the layer that is visible.
Before you begin to edit your image, it is a good idea to create a copy of it that you can
return to if needed. As you make changes, you can create additional copies for each
major step you complete.
Layer Styles and other Options
Photoshop provides a variety of effects—such as
shadows, glows, and bevels—that
change the appearance of a
layer’s contents. When you
move or edit the contents of
the layer, the same effects are
applied to the modified
contents. For example, if you
apply a drop shadow to a text
layer and then add new text,
the shadow is added
automatically to the new text.
To create a Layer Style: A. Layer effects icon B. Click to expand and show layer
effects C. Layer effects
• Go to Layer > Layer Style
and choose one of the options, such as Drop Shadow.
In the Layers Palette, you can also change the blending mode of the layer—how the
layer will blend with the layer beneath it. By default, a layer’s blending mode is
‘Normal’, but it can be changed to darken the layer below, intensify the color, and more.
You can also change a layer’s opacity or fill percentage to make the content more or
Image Size and Resolution
To resize an image, go to Image > Image Size.
When working with images, pay attention to pixel dimensions, resolution, and file size.
The dimensions are the number of pixels along an image’s width and height.
Resolution is the detail in an image and is measured in pixels per inch (ppi). The more
pixels per inch, the greater the resolution, and the larger the file size. Generally, an
image with a higher resolution produces a better printed image quality.
The following is a good guide for sizing an image that is wider than it is tall:
Format Dimensions ppi File size
Web thumbnail 150x100 72 ppi 44-70k
Web image 360x216 72-96 ppi 230k-405k
3x5 print 1000x600 200 ppi 1.72MB
Desktop wallpaper 1024x768 72 ppi 2.3MB
If you want to continue to work on an image, it is best to save your work as a Photoshop
file (.psd), to preserve your layers and special effects. When you are finished and want
to export your image, go to the File menu and choose one of the following:
Save As: Saves an image in a different location or under another filename. The Save
As command lets you save an image in a different format and with different options.
Read on to learn more about image formats.
Save For Web & Devices: Save an optimized image (especially animated) for the web.
Photoshop supports a variety of different image formats. The four you are likely to use
are BMP, (CompuServ) GIF, JPEG, and PNG.
BMP (Bitmap): BMPs are the standard image format in Windows (such as wallpaper).
They tend to be large files, but have high quality. BMPs cannot have transparent areas.
GIF (Graphics Interchange Format): GIF format is best for text, line drawings,
screenshots, animations, and other graphics with few colors. GIFs can only have up to
256 colors. It is best used for web images and can have transparent areas.
JPG/JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group): JPEG is used for photographs, or any
pictures with lots of color detail. It is not good with sharp edges. JPEGs can have up to
16 million colors. JPEGs cannot be animated or have transparent areas.
PNG (Portable Networks Graphic): PNG does not lose quality with compression, unlike
standard JPEGs (even at its highest settings). PNGs are better for clipart and graphics
with few colors, or large blocks of color. They cannot be animated, but can have
A great resource for learning Photoshop is the Photoshop Help guides, located in Help
menu. Here are some other places to take a look at:
• Which Graphics File Format Is Best To Use When?
• Photoshop Tips & Tricks:
• NYFalls.com PhotoShop Tutorials: