Introducing the Photoshop CS5 Interface

This tutorial covers four main areas the toolbar, options bar, tools, and palettes.


The toolbar is found at the very top of the screen. The toolbar has a variety of options which are generally used to manipulate images. Also included are options to save, print, and create new documents.

Option Bar

The option bar is located along the top of the screen, underneath the toolbar. When a tool is selected, a option bar will appear below the toolbar along the top of the screen. The options available will vary depending upon which tool is selected and allows that tool's capacities to be fine-tuned. For instance, if the paint bucket tool is selected, the options bar will display an option to adjust the percentage of the opacity of the color being added to the image.


The tools are located on the left hand side of the screen. The tools are the basic options available to manipulate an image in Photoshop. There are tools to select, move, crop, color, zoom and more. When a tool is selected, the cursor will change to display the icon of that tool when it is on the image.


First of all, which palettes are visible initially is a function of the workspace setting which is selected. In the upper right hand corner of the screen, click on the Essentials drop down menu and select Essentials. From this workspace, the most frequently used palettes will be displayed on the screen.

Palettes are displayed on the right hand side of the screen. Palettes assist with image manipulation and also keep those manipulations organized. Different palettes are further explored in Editing TextHistory PaletteLayers 101Layers 201and Color Correction. For instance, the history palette keeps track of all the changes made to an image and allows multiple changes to be undone at once and the layers palette provides visual representation of each layer in an image and the order they lay in.

TIP: If the location of a particular option or tool has been forgotten, click on the Help dropdown menu and type the name of the option or tool into the Search bar. A blue arrow will then appear, pointing to the location of that option or tool: 

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