December 2015 - Digital Group - Elements 14 Screen Layout

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December 2015 - Digital Group - Elements 14 Screen Layout

Post by spb » Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:21 pm


Having always been a CS Photoshop user on dual monitors, the monthly Digital Group demonstrations with Photoshop Elements on a single screen has always seemed cluttered and awkward. Consequently I spent a little time seeing if I could come up with an optimal palette and screen layout;


With limited space on a single screen it is probably best to set this to auto-hide. However I find that I am unnecessarily popping it up when the mouse strays near the bottom of the screen. With a landscape monitor is it less likely to be activated if moved to the right hand edge of the screen. Right-click the taskbar and choose Properties to set Auto-hide. Unlock the taskbar to enable it to be moved by dragging with the mouse.

NB if the taskbar refuses to auto-hide despite being set to do so, this is usually because one of the corner icons is trying to send you a message. If you are not psychic, reveal all of the icons, including any hidden ones and click on any that appear to be trying to tell you something. Once you have done this, auto-hide will work normally.


At the bottom of the screen, the Photo Bin is probably not necessary most of the time so click on the Photo Bin icon to hide it. However the Tool Options are often required so click on Tool Options to reveal these.

Just above Tool Options is a small window showing a choice of information about the open image. Ideally the number of pixels in the image would be most useful to me but this is not offered, Document Size in MB is next-most useful so if this is not currently displayed, click on the small arrow next to the window and choose that option.

Bizarrely, Adobe know that image size in pixels is very useful because when you click and hold on that window, this information is shown. So why not offer it in the window, then?

On the right-hand side there is room for palettes – either docked or floating. Only a few of these are useful. Choose the down-arrow next to the More icon in the bottom right-hand corner and then select Custom Workspace. This will create some tabbed palettes down the right hand side of the screen. You can right-click and close the ones that you don’t want and select others with the More icon which can be docked together along the top of the screen.

I would choose only Layers, Info & History. Navigator and Histogram might also be useful to some. These palettes can be selected one at a time, floated freely or docked vertically above one another as required by dragging on the tab. I am tidily docking my three most useful palettes along the top of the screen, for the moment.

The default width of the palette area is not the widest possible. It can be dragged wider if required.

All of the above settings are remembered by Elements for the next session.


We now have an image window surrounded by tools, menus, palettes and control bars. The only remaining variable is the display of images themselves.

Edit>Preferences>General gives two options for floating image documents. With both ticked, new images always appear floating in the workspace, potentially in the wrong place and I have found that I am continually having to move them around. They can be docked to the top of the workspace and re-floated as required. On a positive note, clicking the Maximise corner icon for any image shows it on a clean grey screen.

Unticking both options will always result in images being docked at the top of the screen and makes best use of screen real-estate. However they cannot then be floated at all and furthermore can’t be shown on a completely clean background. The Tab key is the only helpful feature here, which cleans up the screen apart from the top header and menu bar.

It’s a matter of personal taste, once you are aware of the options available.

NB if you want to show multiple open images onscreen at once you can do this with Window>Images>Tile. However be aware that the only way to return to displaying one single image onscreen (apart from closing the others) is to head down to the Layout icon in the bottom panel and selecting Default. This confused me for quite a while.

Cheers, Steve

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