Photoshop is now Touch Bar-ready

Photoshop recently rolled out support for Touch Bar, the multitouch display at the top of the new MacBook Pro keyboard. When you use Photoshop, controls and features relevant to your work are accessible through the Touch Bar using familiar gestures, such as tap, drag, and slide.

Touch Bar support in Photoshop is currently a technology preview feature. If necessary, you can disable it by deselecting Preferences > Technology Previews > Enable Touch Bar in Photoshop.

Choose the controls you want

By default, Apple has reserved some areas of the Touch Bar for macOS controls. The Control Strip from the classic Macintosh OS has made a comeback of sorts as part of these system controls. The Touch Bar area in the middle is available to apps, including Photoshop, for their controls.

The default Touch Bar interface (A: App controls; B: macOS controls, including the Control Strip on the right)

You can, however, choose to hide the Control Strip from the Touch Bar, such that the “real estate” for app controls is maximized. To do so, change your macOS Keyboard preference Touch Bar Shows from App Controls With Control Strip (Default) to App Controls.

Touch Bar modes in Photoshop

You can use the Touch Bar in Photoshop in one of the three available modes:

Layer Properties: Lets you work with Layer properties and related functions,
Brushes: Lets you work with brush and paint properties, and
Favorites: A customizable mode that lets you add your favorite controls to the Touch Bar.

You can add or delete controls to any of these three modes. Additionally, several context-specific operations become available depending on what you’re working on in Photoshop. For example, when the Select & Mask taskspace is active in Photoshop, the Touch Bar displays controls related to making selections.

What to read:

Getting the function keys back

The Touch Bar replaces the physical function key row at the top of the MacBook Pro keyboard. However, you can choose to have those keys displayed in the Touch Bar when you need them—for example, when you want to use a keyboard shortcut in Photoshop. The temporary way of doing so is holding down the Function (fn) key in the lower-left corner of your keyboard. While this key is held down, macOS displays the function keys in the Touch Bar.

You can also choose to display the function keys permanently while working in Photoshop. Follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the macOS Keyboard preferences (System Preferences > Keyboard).
  2. In the Keyboard dialog, switch to the Shortcuts tab.
  3. Click Function Keys in the left pane.
  4. Click the + icon in the right pane.
  5. In the Applications dialog, select Adobe Photoshop CC 2017.
  6. Click Add.

Now, when you open Photoshop, macOS displays the function keys (F1 through F12) in the Touch Bar.

An alternate way to access the function keys, while keeping the Touch Bar functionality intact, is through the on-screen keyboard in macOS. For details, see this Apple documentation page.

The Touch Bar is an exciting interface for which interesting experiences have already begun to emerge. Do give it a whirl with Photoshop and let us know your thoughts. We look forward to your comments.