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Photoshop 3: Brief Overview of the Photoshop Interface

These are some of the typical elements you will see when you open a file in Photoshop. More detailed descriptions for these elements are given below the image. The section called Tool Bar provides additional details on submenus and options for various tools.

Please note: This is not a detailed explanation of every element on the Tool Bar, but rather a look at some common tools that will be discussed in this tutorial on Photoshop Basics.


Menu bar
Photoshop's many tools and commands can be found in the different menus along the top menu bar. This is standard of most Window applications.

Title bar
This bar is at the top of each document opened up in Photoshop. It tells you the name of the file (in this case, ouwebpage.gif), the magnification of the image (66.7% in this example, meaning that the actual image is 2/3 as wide and tall).

Document Window
This is the window that contains the image you are working on. You can have many document windows open at once even though you can only make changes to one file at a time.


Tool bar
The Tool bar contains buttons for all the many tools that are available in Photoshop. Those tools that have a small arrow in the bottom right-hand corner (like the Rectangle Tool, shown here) have several different variations; if you click and hold down the mouse on that tool, the other options will appear.

rectangle tool
This example shows the tools under the Rectangle Tool. When you select different tools on the tool bar the options change on the option window above the document window:

rectangle tool 2
This example shows the option window for the Rectangle Tool.

You can also see in this Tool Bar Example, that the 'foreground' color is red. You can click on this to change the color.

Also - at the bottom of the Tool Bar is an icon with a 'jumping arrow' - this will take you to ImageReady which is an add-on tool in Photoshop that features special commands for web-based images such as animation, rollovers and slicing.

There are numerous different windows, each one allowing you to view and/or edit different aspects of your image or tools. You can close any one of them by clicking on the X in the upper right-hand corner. If you are looking for a particular command that is not in view, go to the Window menu and choose which one you would like to have visible.
layers In the example above the Layers Window is showing. You can also see options for Opacity which let's you change the visibility of that layer. In this example Layer 1 is 100% visible, but could be change to less %. Also note the 'eye' next to each layer. You can click on the 'eye' to hide the layer and it won't show, but can be available later if you want to make it visible again.

Note: The following information is associated with an older version of Photoshop, but you might find it useful.