Standing orders: Setting the Preferences

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Photoshop's Preferences file stores a whole lot of information about how you use the program. Whether you prefer to measure in inches or pixels, how you like the grid and guides displayed, what size thumbnails you prefer in your palettes, which font you used last — all sorts of data is maintained in the Prefs. Much of the info in the Preferences is picked up automatically as you work (such as the size and color mode of the last new document you created, whether the Character palette was visible when you last shut down the program, and which tool options were selected in the Options bar), but you actively select a number of options in Photoshop's Preferences dialog box, as shown in Figure 3-12.

Your custom styles, brushes,

Actions, and the like are recorded only in Photoshop's Preferences until you actually save them to your hard drive. That makes them vulnerable to accidental loss. Use the Actions palette menu command Save Action to save sets of Actions (not individual Actions) and use the Preset Manager (under the Edit menu) to save sets of your other bits and pieces.

Open the Prefs on a Mac with the keyboard shortcut or use the PhotoshopOPreferences menu to select one of the nine specific subsets of Preferences to change. The shortcut for Windows users is Ctrl+K, and the Preferences submenu is under the Edit menu. The default settings are perfectly acceptable (after all, they are the defaults for a reason), but here are some changes to the Prefs to consider, listed by the section of the Preferences dialog box in which you find them.


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Figure 3-12: Use Photoshop's Preferences to establish many program behaviors.

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