Digital Scrapbook Memories

Understanding the Photoshop Workspace

© Digital Scrapbook Memories, 2006 - 2015
This tip works on any version of Photoshop including Elements. Similar programs will do similar things.


Becoming familiar with your workspace is important so that you can learn Photoshop quicker.

Drop-Down Menus
Most programs have drop down menus. You should be familiar with these.

Options Bar
Each time you click on a different tool in your toolbox your options in the Options Bar will change. If you ever have a time you can’t get something to work that you swear you have done the exact same way hundreds of times before it may be because there is an option that has changed in the options bar.

The toolbox should always be on the left side of your screen. If it’s not there go to Windows (in the Drop-Down Menu) and click on toolbox. Look for tools that have a tiny little triangle in the bottom right side of the box. When you find one right click on it and you will find more tools. Don’t be intimidated by the toolbox. You really only need to know a few tools for scrapbooking.

Photoshop has all sorts of palettes for different purposes. To find all the palettes go to Window (in the Drop-Down Menu) and click on any you want to see. I would recommend setting your workspace up the way I have in the picture above with your color swatches at the top, the history palette in the middle and the layers palette on the bottom. Using these three palettes all the time will make scrapbooking much easier.

Status Bar
Most programs have a status bar. It tells you the status of the operation you are performing.

Shortcuts Bar (not shown above)
Some editions of Adobe Photoshop will include a Shortcuts Bar. It will be located between the Drop Down Menus and the Options Bar. Hover over each shortcut to see what it does.