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This tutorial has been created by: Peter Bauer at Planetphotoshop.com

Saved Workspaces

Photoshop 7 is filled with advancements, large and small, to improve productivity. For some, Saved Workspaces will fall into the "small" category, but for most of us, this capability has the potential to be a huge time saver.

One of my colleagues definitely counts as a "power user" of Photoshop. He (let's call him "Bob") produces incredible work at lightning speed. His brain moves faster than his Wacom stylus, so any speed advantage he can find, he takes.

One of Bob's favorite tricks is to make sure that his Photoshop work environment is optimized for the task at hand. He even has different Preferences files for different jobs. Since the Prefs record the location of each palette and the current settings for each tool, swapping files alters the work environment. When changing from, say, photo retouching to prepress work, Bob quits Photoshop, changes the Prefs file in Photoshop's Settings folder, and restarts. When Photoshop re-opens, his palettes are right where he needs them, the tools have his preferred settings, and he's ready to move full-speed into the next project. Bob swears that this has been faster and easier than manually changing the palettes and tools each time. (I think the re-start is the only time he finds to grab a cup of coffee....)

Imagine Bob's joy when I told him about Photoshop 7's capability to save workspaces and tool presets! No more re-starts to show and hide certain combinations of palettes. No more re-starts to produce a specific set of tools options. (No more re-starts to go grab coffee. Okay, so Bob's not 100% sure that this is truly a "good thing.")

Photoshop's preferences have long been able to remember the last-used arrangement of palettes. That's still a feature of Photoshop 7 - when the program is next started, the palettes return to their most recently used locations on screen. However, those previous palette positions may not be appropriate for the next task. Photoshop and ImageReady now let you to save multiple palette arrangements and switch among them through the Window menu.

To save a workspace, simply arrange the palettes as desired and use the menu command Window> Workspace> Save Workspace. A dialog box will give you the opportunity to name the new saved workspace. The name can be up to 31 characters (and spaces) long.

You can remove unwanted workspaces from the list using the menu command Window> Workspace> Delete Workspace. A dialog box opens that contains a pop-up list of all the saved workspaces. Select a workspace from the list and click OK. The pop-up menu also offers the option of deleting all saved workspaces. Photoshop will ask you to confirm your decision to delete all saved workspaces.

So, how valuable can this feature be? Compare the work environments in these two screenshots:

One has a palette setup designed for working with text, the other for color correction and adjustment. In both cases, it takes only a few moments to drag the palettes into position. However, with saved workspaces, it takes only a single click to switch from one to the other.

Also consider, if you will, palette arrangements for working with paths, for creating Web graphics, for photo retouching. You don't necessarily need to have the same palettes available for the different jobs. Rather than dragging palettes around the screen, and showing and hiding them with the Window menu, you can save your basic setups and change among them in a snap. You can, of course, continue to use the Tab key to show and hide palettes, and show/hide individual palettes while working, too.

If you do the same task, all day, every day, you may need only one palette arrangement. If, like most of us, you do different things with Photoshop, then saved workspaces can become a habit-forming convenience.

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