Using the tool options bar

Most tools have options that are displayed in the tool options bar. The tool options bar is context-sensitive and changes as different tools are selected. Some settings in the tool options bar are common to several tools (such as painting modes and opacity), and some are specific to one tool (such as the Auto Erase setting for the pencil tool).

You can move the tool options bar anywhere in the work area. In Photoshop, you can also dock it at the top or bottom of the screen.

The Photoshop tool options bar includes a palette well for storing palettes without closing them entirely. The palette well is available only when the work area is greater than 800 pixels x 600 pixels (a setting of at least 1024 x 768 is recommended).

The following steps demonstrate the interactions between the tools and the tool options bar.

1 To see options for a tool, select the tool (such as the rectangular marquee tool ( J, which is selected by default) in the toolbox and then notice the display in the tool options bar.

Note: If the tool options bar does not appear, open the Window menu and make sure that the Options command has a check mark, or select it now to display the tool options bar.

2 Select a different tool in the toolbox, and notice how the tool option bar changes.

3 To move the tool options bar, drag the left edge of the tool options bar to a new location. In Photoshop, the left edge appears as a gripper bar when the tool options bar is docked under the menu bar or at the bottom of the work area.

Note: In Photoshop (Windows, Mac OS 10) and ImageReady (all platforms), you can double-click the gripper bar at the left end of the tool options bar to collapse it, so that only the tool icon appears.

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4 To dock the Photoshop tool options bar again under the menu bar or at the bottom of your screen, drag the tool options bar by its left edge until it snaps into position.

After you select options for a tool, those options remain selected until you change them again, even if you select other tools and work with them. You can easily reset your tool options back to the default settings.

5 To reapply default settings for a tool, click the tool in the tool options bar to open a pop-up palette, and then open the palette menu and choose Reset Tool. (Then click anywhere outside the pop-up palette to close it.)

Notice that you can also choose Reset All Tools from that same palette menu to restore the default settings for all tools.

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