Quicktip: Customizing Main and Panel Menus in Photoshop CS5

Keyboard Shortcut and Menu Palette

With a large variety of new tools and capabilities in Photoshop CS5, it’s hard to tell at first glance what is new and what isn’t. Even if you’re aware of many of the new features, you’ve no doubt heard of Puppet Warp, there are others that remain hidden. But don’t think hidden is unimportant.

One of the most helpful, and most overlooked, features of Photoshop CS5 is the ability to customize menus. A quick glance at Edit>Menu will give you an idea of just how much customization it offers.

 

Application Menus
Display Settings for Application, or Main, Menu Items

 

For now we’re just going to highlight the new menu items in Photoshop. In the Menus palette (Edit>Menu then click on the Menus tab), the first dropdown is Set. By default it is set for Photoshop Defaults. The only available alternate option is New in CS 5. When you select New in CS 5 and hit Ok, all items that are new in the main menu, as well as their parent items, are highlighted in blue. This provides a very useful view, showing you exactly where all the added menu items are housed. This works with all sub menu items as well.

 

Comparison in dropdown menu
Comparison between default and New in CS 5 selections. This dropdown view of the Edit item shows where the new features are located.

 

The default setting in the Menu For category is Application Menus. This is just your main dropdown menu displayed at the top of your window. Customization is also possible for the Panel Menus which are located to the right of your main workspace. as well.

Panel Menu Customization

 

When changed, this displays every new item in blue. If you aren’t partial to blue, the color can be changed if you look a little farther down the Menus palette. In fact, you can customize the color used for each of the menu and panel items and their sub menus. This would be a great way to emphasize those new features that you just can’t seem to remember their location.

If you choose to customize your colors and visibility of items in the menus, Photoshop gives you the opportunity to save your changes. next to the Set dropdown menu are three icons, Save All Changes, Create A New Set and Delete Current Set. Just as their names state, they offer you control over saving or deleting your settings.

This customization is also possible in InDesign, also found in Edit>Menu.

Hopefully this will make it a bit easier for you to explore the new features in CS5.

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