Photoshop - An introduction to CS2's General Interface

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General Interface - Windows & Tabs

Photoshop is huge, and I mean really huge. It can do just about anything you can imagine and then 50 times more on top so it's handy to focus on the tools that you'll use most. Mouse over tools to get info on each one and note that almost every tool can be deployed and multiple ways to get many varied effects.

These are the common tools and windows you'll need to get familiar with.

  1. The Menu Bar - where you can choose which windows appear and how you save make other high level choices.
  2. The options bar - changes according to the tool you are using.
  3. Toolbox - where your tools are kept.
  4. An opened image - the framework in which an opened image appears with rulers in place.
  5. Layers Window - controls how images stack on top of each other to create one final composite image.
  6. Info Window - gives you feedback on your tools and especially useful when cropping or measuring
  7. Character Window - used to alter and control text
  8. The work space - where all your images and tools are kept.

A. Vertical Guideline - you can drag them around with the Move Tool (V) to help you stay consistent.

B. The Horizontal Ruler - drag the mouse down form this rule to create a new guide line.

C. Selection and Movement Tools - Tools to help you define areas and move elements around the image.

D. Drawing Tools - Where you select drawing brushes & erasers which can be resized with the square brackets "[ ]".

E. Text Tool - Allows entry of text to a layer in your image.

F. Zoom & Colour Picker - Zoom the image in and out and select colours to add to the Colour palette

G. Colour Palette - Shows two currently in use colours to quickly swap between.

H. Active Layer - Shows the active layer and all the other layers that make up the image. If the top layer has transparent areas layers below can be seen.

I. Size - shows the size of the currently selected area, in this case the whole image.


As you can tell even from this limited screenshot that there are hundreds of tools and options for every part of the Photoshop so we'll only focus on the tools you'll use most often and the ones that get you the results you need. Each of these tools can also be used in combination and when combined with the layering & colour systems you get an idea of why this tool is the only choice for the professional designer.

When you employ a professional designer to create you a website they are using years of study and practical knowledge with up-to-date visual style to make you stand out.

The above guide is for Photoshop CS2 edition. While Photoshop 7 and above (CS1 is effectively Photoshop 8 and CS2 Photoshop 9) move the interface onwards the tools and actions I cover have remained fairly standardised and the vast majority of the steps will remain the same for all versions. While the later CS editions will provide better compatibility with newer operating systems Photoshop 7 is still perfectly adequate for most users looking to format and edit their images.


By Alanna at 14 Sep 2014, 09:34 AM