February 7, 2015

Using a Custom Workspace in Photoshop Elements

I just completed teaching a three-part class on using Adobe Photoshop Elements to organize and edit photos. I was frustrated by the fact that I could not keep the Adjustments and History panels open and nested with the Layers panel. They remained in a separate window and kept getting in the way of the picture I was working on.

Custom Workspace in Elements 13

While doing some internet research on a different topic, I discovered that Elements 12 and 13 (possibly version 11 also) both have a "Custom Workspace" that allows me to see the panels I use most often and keep them all grouped together in the Panel Bin on the right side, away from the image I'm editing. Here's how to access and adjust the Custom Workspace.

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Basic Workspace in Elements 13
  1. Start by making sure you are in the Expert editor. This feature is not available in the Quick or Guided editors.
  2. At the bottom right, click the little arrow to the right of the More icon. Don't click the icon itself, which opens a separate window.
  3. From the bottom of the list, choose Custom Workspace. You can return to the usual layout by choosing Basic Workspace later.
  4. The Custom Workspace includes the Layers, Effects, Graphics and Favorites panels as tabs. These correspond to the icons you see in the Basic Workspace.

    I want to keep the Layers panel visible because I use a layer-based workflow. But I seldom use Effects, Graphics or Favorites. So I want to close them and put the Adjustments and History panels in their place.

  5. To close the panel you don't want, right click the tab for that panel and choose Close from the menu. Repeat this for any other panels you don't want in your Panel Bin.
  6. To add new panels to the bin, click the arrow on the More icon at the bottom of the screen. Choose the panel you want to see in the Panel Bin. I chose Adjustments since this works along with the Layers panel.
  7. The new panel opens in a floating window. To include it in the Panel Bin, drag the tab into the space to the right of the Layers tab. When you see a blue outline, release the mouse to nest the panel.
  8.  Repeat steps 6 and 7 for any other windows you want to see.
Elements only displays one panel at a time but you can easily switch between them by clicking the appropriate tab. Now you have access to your most frequently used panels without having to drag them out of your way while you are editing a picture.

Custom Workspace in Elements 13

NOTE: If you return to the Basic Workspace, you will lose the customization you just created. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a way to save your own custom workspace.

You can see additional illustrations and more tips from Photoshop Elements 13: The Missing Manual at this link:
https://www.safaribooksonline.com/library/view/photoshop-elements-13/9781491948132/ch01.html
Scroll down to find the section on workspaces and panel bin.