Edit General Preferences in Photoshop Elements - Part 1

Preferences are options you can choose that affects how Photoshop Elements acts during certain operations. General Preferences are probably the most widely used.

Click on the video below to see exactly how they work.

Under the video is an explanation of each Preference beginning at the top.

How to get to Photoshop Elements
General Preferences

To get to the General Preferences dialog box press Command+K on a Mac or Control+K on a PC.

The General Preferences dialog window will appear:

The General Preferences Dialog Window in Photoshop Elements 15.

Let's start at the top of the dialog box and look at each Preference.


Starting at the top, the first Preference is Color Picker.

It's actually a drop down menu which offers a couple different choices when you click on it.

It's set to Adobe but you can also choose your computer's operating system Color Picker.

For those on a Mac it will be Apple and those on a PC it will be Windows.

Two choices are available for the Color Picker.


The next Preference is called Step Back/Fwd.

This setting allows you to choose what keyboard shortcuts to use for Undo and Redo.

You have three options to choose from when you click on the field. The default is Command+Z on a Mac or Control+Z on a PC for Undo. The default for Redo is Command+Y on a Mac or Control+Y on a PC.


The next section of the General Preferences dialog box is named Options.

It's a group of choices that you either have enabled by checking the box next to it or you disable by not having a check mark in the box. You click on a box to check or uncheck it.

The Options section are choices that you can either have on or off by using their check boxes.


The first Option is called Show Tool Tips.

Show Tool Tips displays information about an item in Photoshop Elements when you hover your cursor over that item.

The information pops up and is displayed for a short time before disappearing.

But don't be misled by this option's name. It will display "tips" for many different items in PSE in addition to the tools.

For example you can even hover your cursor over Show Tool Tips in the General Preferences dialog box to give you a hint of what that option does.

A Tool Tip for Show Tool Tips!


The next option is called Disable Smart Objects.

This was added to PSE 15 so if you have an earlier version of Elements you won't see this preference.

When you click to put a check mark in this box you will no longer have Layers added as Smart Objects which need to be Simplified before performing many edits to that Layer.


The next option is called Select Move tool after committing text.

Let's take a look at how to add text to your document:

  1. Make the Type tool active by clicking on it in the Toolbox.
  2. Click inside the Active Image Area where you want to add text and type your text. In the example below I typed "TEST".
  3. If you are happy with your text you click the green check mark to commit to the text.

When you have the Select Move tool after committing text option checked, as soon as you click the green check mark the Move tool becomes the active tool in the Toolbox.

If instead, you want the Type tool to remain active, uncheck that box in the General Preferences dialog box.


The next option is called Allow Floating Documents in Expert Mode.

When this option is checked you can have each open photo in its own window allowing you to see more than one photo at a time in the Active Image Area.

To get a photo from tabbed to its own floating window you click-and-drag its tab down to the Active Image Area and then release the mouse button.


The next option is called Enable Floating Document Window Docking.

This option is related to the previous option.

When you have this option checked in the General Preferences dialog box it allows you to put any or all of your floating documents back into tab format.

To do that you click-and-drag on the floating windows title bar at the top and move it towards the top of the Active Image Area. When you get to a certain spot a blue line will appear as seen in the image below.

Once you see the blue lines it's an indication that you can now release the mouse button to "dock" or "tab" your floating document.

When the blue lines appear you can release the mouse button and your photo will go from "floating" to "tabbed".

If you uncheck this option in the General Preferences you won't be able to drag your photo back into "tab" mode.

At this point we've gone through about half of the preferences in the General Preferences dialog box.

To make this a bit more digestible I'm going to end this tutorial here and I'll cover the rest of the General Preferences in Part Two. So...

Until next time, this is Rick saying . . . Take care!

Go from General Preferences1 to the Home page.


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