December 30, 2008

Photoshop & hidden menu items

David Pogue asked a good question the other day:

 

Is there any way to make CS4 stop hiding menu
commands it doesn’t think I want?  Or is every menu selection an additional
click now…?

 

I knew what had happened.  By default Photoshop doesn’t hide menu items.  If you use the workspace switcher (screenshot) in the upper-right corner of the app, however, you may end up changing more than panel (palette) locations.  You may apply a menu configuration that hides certain menu items.

 

In CS4 the "Basics" workspace hides some of the more advanced/esoteric menu items.  The idea, of course, is to slim down the application so that it’s less overwhelming to new users.  Once you’ve applied this workspace, menus will be shorter & will feature an entry for "Show All Menu Items" at the end.  Photoshop does pop a dialog box asking whether you want to apply a workspace that changes menus and/or shortcuts, but I think it’s one of those dialogs that makes people say, "Uhhhh… I don’t really want to think about this… so, ‘Yes’?"

 

Long story short, to get things back to normal, just choose the "Essentials" workspace (which is the default).  Photoshop will reset panel, menu, and keyboard shortcut settings.

 

Frankly this area of PS remains a work in progress.  We’ve been slowly building up ways to customize your work environment (workspaces, editable keyboard shorcuts & menu configurations, and now Configurator), but I don’t feel we’ve really "tied the room together" yet.  I’d like to see Photoshop (and other Suite apps) ship with workspaces that truly present "everything you need, nothing you don’t" on a moment-by-moment, task-by-task basis.  Lightroom takes this approach with its modules, but I think we can go much farther.  (And let me add, lest anyone freak out, that I imagine all of this being optional.  No one wants to compromise the very general, highly flexible work environments the CS apps present today.)

Posted by John Nack at 9:53 AM on December 30, 2008

Comments

  • jimhere — 10:51 AM on December 30, 2008

    Thanks for the “optional” (freak out) disclaimer.
    [I had you in mind when I added that text! –J.]
    I never understood how someone in San Jose knows what I mean by “Typography” or “Color and Tone”. I’m glad that After Effects (which is fairly new to me) doesn’t help me out by hiding stuff.

  • Jerry — 11:00 AM on December 30, 2008

    Speaking of missing menu items, what happened to “Change Layer Content”?
    It appears to be gone in CS4 (replaced by the unnecessary “Layer Content Options”), which makes creating a gradient shape layer a real pain. Are you deprecating gradient shape layers in favor of “Gradient Overlay” effect, or is there a better way to do this?
    Really, there should be an option for gradient shape on the contextual option bar for the shape drawing tools anyway.

  • keith — 11:06 AM on December 30, 2008

    yep I wondered same, and then stumbled on to the essentials workspace option.

  • Chris Koerner — 11:44 AM on December 30, 2008

    John,
    Glad to see you mention this. I noticed this odd behavior back when CS3 was released. I’ve since provided a custom menu file that’s been helpful for people to quickly enable all the menu items. You can find it here if interested:
    http://clkoerner.com/2008/12/02/remove-show-all-menu-items-from-photoshop-cs4/

  • George — 11:49 AM on December 30, 2008

    Thanks for sharing this John. For one, I didn’t know you could hide menu items in Photoshop now. So that’s good to know. Does this mean if I don’t use 3D at all, I can hide that entire menu set?
    [Unfortunately you can’t hide entire menus, though I suppose you could turn off all the contents of one. –J.]
    Secondly, being a UE designer, I find it an interesting design problem of how to make a UI that is contextual to the work you’re doing at the moment. It’s kinda like the contextual Properties panel on a grande scale.
    [Yes, and we really need a proper Properties panel. The richness that’s possible within a PSD completely outstrips the Layers panel’s ability to display/modify parameters. We’re working towards the goal of offering such a panel, and what you can see in Adjustments and Masks in CS4 represents progress in that direction. –J.]

  • George — 6:30 PM on December 30, 2008

    I’m so glad someone else mentioned the “Change Content Layer” menu option absence in CS4. I used this all the time to switch a solid shape layer into a gradient and vice versa. I was really bummed to see it go missing in CS4. Now I do this crazy Layers panel acrobatics where I create a gradient shape layer above the fill layer and then drag the vector mask to the new shape layer. Pretty clunky.
    It’s funny because I just felt it was an option I used all the time since I’m a heavy user of Shape Layers in PS, but I felt probably most average users probably don’t even use Shape Layers. Good to hear I’m not the only one who used to use it.
    [Ugh. This is why we almost never remove things, and why the app consequently becomes large and complex. During the prerelease we beat the bushes asking whether anyone used this command. Among the hundreds of people who were at least theoretically paying attention to these conversations, only one or two (if that) said they used the command. Therefore we felt safe in dropping it.
    As I’ve said before, however, if only 1% of Photoshop users rely on something, that translates into tens of thousands of people. Well, no one ever said it was gonna be easy… –J.

  • imajes — 9:38 AM on December 31, 2008

    MS tried this hiding menu items in Windows and Office some years back
    We are NOT trying what Microsoft tried. Those apps hid (hide?) menu items automatically, as a default behavior, based on observed usage patterns. Photoshop does not. Photoshop requires that you choose a configuration that changes the menu configuration (hiding and/or highlighting items), and it tells you what it’s doing. It’s opt *IN*, not opt *OUT*. –J.]
    and all it does is confuse the beginner – if something isn’t visible it doesn’t exist and to more experienced people it simply drove them nuts as they suddenly thought they had a stoke as they stuff they thought they knew existed, had suddenly vanished.
    It’s much better to have a good interface than one which alters and hides things you may need.
    [Do you think it’s possible to have one “good interface” for everyone from animators to architects to retouchers to medical professionals? If so, how would that interface be different/better than the default Photoshop presents? –J.]
    Office 2007 [PC version] showed one method of how to move away from the somewhat clumsy menus paradigm and did so very well. Corel Draw has for years enabled you to put just the icons for commands you need, where you wanted and also had a context sensitive toolbar for many many years before PS got around to copying it! They also invented the panels dock and behavious that more recent versions of PS adopted.
    And did all this 10+ years ago. Many of my feature requests on the Adobe forums for many years were to implement Corel Draw’s many excellent features and mostly you have now. Which is good! ;-)

  • Ann Shelbourne — 9:47 AM on December 31, 2008

    It seems that a lot of us are very unhappy with the Adjustments Panel.
    The introductory “Add an Adjustment” part of the Adjustments Panel is totally superfluous with its unneccessary list of Presets and plethora of adjustment layer selection symbols—all of which are more effectively managed through the single icon on the bottom of the layers palette.
    The Adjustment Panel does need to be modifiable so that we see ONLY the actual Curve, levels, Hue/Sat sliders etc., when appropriate, and have the OPTION to keep the introductory “Add an Adjustment” part of it CLOSED permanently.
    The current design of the panel wastes desktop space … and is entirely unnecessary for anyone but a Photoshop neophyte.
    [If you only try to use the panel in exactly the same way you used the dialog boxes, you’re missing the point. You can now adjust things like opacity, blending mode, layer mask parameters, etc. without darting in and out of dialogs that cover up your document.
    Old habits take time to change, but that can’t stand in the way of progress. If you’re a Mac user, do you remember when OS X stopped popping up a new window every time you opened a folder & instead started displaying the target folder’s contents in the same window? Remember how it changed Cmd-N to mean New Window? That all sucked for a while, didn’t it? I gritted my teeth then, but having gotten the point of the changes, I’d never go back. –J.]

  • jimhere — 10:51 AM on December 31, 2008

    JN: You can now adjust things like opacity, blending mode, layer mask parameters, etc. without darting in and out of dialogs that cover up your document.
    One good thing about dialogs was you could work and close right there. Sure we could tear out the adjustment panel from the right side to move close to the work spot. But then that’d mess up the panel set, and have to re-insert it again and again (slow “darting”).
    [I don’t see why you’d have to mess anything up, or why you’d have to keep reinserting anything. You can easily assign a keyboard command to Adjustments so that you can hide/show it quickly, and it’ll remain wherever you put it. Alternately/additionally, you can make the panel float, then enable the preference to “Auto-Collapse Iconic Panels. –J.]
    See on
    http://homepage.mac.com/jimpogo/curvesPanel.jpg
    if I want to adjust a face on the left (compared to other faces in the photo), I have to keep a third eye all the way to the right. My hand can go for awhile with minor pulls on the curves while my other hand switches between R G or B, but soon I accidentally click off the panel or click another one.
    That’s why I like the optional Curves Adjustment Layer you Configured for us.

  • Ann Shelbourne — 12:11 PM on December 31, 2008

    John:
    I, and it seems that a lot of the other long-time Users who frequent the Forums,would just like theintroductory “Add an Adjustment” part of it to be an OPTION.
    Adjusting things like opacity, blending mode, layer mask parameters, etc. can all be done in the Layers palette which I keep permanently open as a floating panel.
    Actually, I keep ALL of my panels afloat and use buttons on a Configurator panel to instantly hide and reveal them at will. I also need the ability to have several palettes open simultaneously and do not want to create three or more screen Panels to make that possible.
    Some of us are limited to using a single monitor for various reasons; and large in-your-face panels like the Adjustment Panel are just an unnecessary waste of screen real estate.
    So the ability to make its presence OPTIONAL would be very much appreciated.
    Let us see just the Curves dialog (for example) when we click on a Curves Adjustment layer — and make that dialog disappear automatically when we click on an image layer again.
    But just let us have the choice to keep the the Adjustment Panel Icons and List of Presets hidden permanently if we wish to.

  • idotkontji — 10:26 PM on January 01, 2009

    now, photoshop is easier and more powerfull…
    nice article.. i do must follow this blog…

  • Eric — 10:34 PM on January 01, 2009

    I for one love the new adjustment panel and find it way more useful than the pull=-down menu at the bottom of the layers panel (which I used to use all of the time before CS4).
    The first time I tried it I thought it was a bit strange, but then once I got the hang of it, I can’t be without it.

  • imajez — 7:27 PM on January 03, 2009

    >John – We are NOT trying what Microsoft tried. Those apps hid (hide?) menu items automatically, as a default behavior, based on observed usage patterns. Photoshop does not. Photoshop requires that you choose a configuration that changes the menu configuration (hiding and/or highlighting items), and it tells you what it’s doing. It’s opt *IN*, not opt *OUT*. –J.]”
    I understand it works differently from MS’s incredibly annoying method, but occasionally people get surprised by the hidden menu interface without deliberately/knowingly choosing it. It happened to me one day, suddenly my menus were all confusingly truncated – and I did not deliberately change to this interface knowing this was going to happen. I thought it was a new beta revision at first.
    The first time you go to reduced menu mode you need to have a dialogue [which can be optionally turned off] to let you know the new menu paradigm. It was not knowing why things had suddenly changed that was confusing.
    >John – [Do you think it’s possible to have one “good interface” for everyone from animators to architects to retouchers to medical professionals? If so, how would that interface be different/better than the default Photoshop presents? –J.]”
    Not all photographers work the same let along comparing photographers workflows with animators, retouchers etc, so it’s a very tricky issue. So a user customisable workspace is a must, though Adobe has always seemed a little more resistant to this than other companies. To go back to Office 2007 Ribbon idea, that was a clever solution to the problem where the tools available/visible are dependent on the job, a bit like LR in one sense, even thought the layout is very different.
    A good interface is one that can be set to do, in the case of such varied workflow programmes like PS, very different tasks with equal ease. So maybe a far more flexible interface altogether would be better. Rather than simply swap panels around, why not go the CSS Zen Garden Route and have a underlying structure that is the same but the interface appearence can be completely transformed far more radically, so if doing animation or video work it looks/works more like FinalCut/Premiere/AfterEffectsVegas etc. For a retouching workflow you could get maybe an automatic second window at 100% view which would automatically change to whichever file you are working on [if you have several files open].
    I read about a programme called Directory Opus a while back and it’s customisability on a feature request thread for more customisability in PS. I’d never heard of the programme before, so had a look and was amazed by the power of a programme [it’s a File Browser] that was so easily able to change it’s layout to suit the tasks in hand. As well as an amazing amount of customisation of these features such as what buttons are visible etc, plus a huge amount of tweaking of all sorts of attributes. It is the PS of file browsers in it’s power and a lot of it is due to the ability to easily change the interface. It’s the only programme where when I think wouldn’t it be cool if it could do this and you then discover that most of the time it not only does just that, but in an even better way than you thought. Sadly there is no Mac version which makes for a miserable time using the anaemic attempt at a browser that is Finder, though Pathfinder is a lot better, but still nothing compard to DOpus. Bridge does a similar thing to DOpus with it’s panels and ability to save your own arrangements for task in hand. But as the buttons are fixed, when using a big desktop, they often end up nowhere near the panel they affect/control, undermining the [semi] flexible layout. Also with the last version of Bridge being a tad slow shall we say, I often ended up using DOpus instead.
    Screenshots of DOpus layouts
    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/180/404708196_9cade2b03a_b.jpg
    The other amazing thing is that it’s the work of just two people and I have to mention one of it’s most useful features, which is something I’ve requested for Adobe products for a long time. It is the simplifying of transferring settings to another machine/new install. You simply exports prefs and reimport with DOpus and it’s all done and dusted. Trying to move all ones presets, preferences, actions etc with Adobe software is simply painful and even worse when you use both mac + Windows platforms as the numerous settings are hidden in slightly different places, not that they are that obvious/consistently located anyway.

  • pfaffenbichler — 5:34 AM on January 04, 2009

    In more than a decade of working professionally with Photoshop each new full version has indeed brought significant improvements as far as I’m concerned and CS4 has not disappointed me either.
    But I personally do not see the Adjustments-panel as a significant improvement.
    The TAT is a minor improvement, avoiding the dropdown-list can be achieved by shortcuts or by a custom configurator-panel (configurator being a really great new feature), simultaneous editability of blend-mode and opacity while making Adjustments seems seldomly necessary … 
    But so long as the modal dialog remains available I don’t consider this a cause for complaint; just please don’t abandon the modal dialog completely!

  • T. Schmidt — 4:16 AM on January 25, 2009

    I’m not surprised that whenever someone shows how to use the adjustmet panel in a video or demonstration, they do it very slowly and probably have never been fast in Ps before. Such as “the Photoshop Guys” who aim at newcomers with their whole show and with their books.
    It can not be denyed that the Adjustment Panel goes into LightRoom’s direction of always having all unneeded options visible, for those who don’t know where to find them.
    I have not seen a single demonstration of the Adjustment Panel (in a tutirial video, or an adobe demo) working faster than the old dialogs.
    The worst thing is that Adobe hasn’t learned anything from their CS3 mistakes, where half finished features (“work in progress”) are presented as a replacement, not an option. I really hoped this times they’d get it right and only offer instead of shoving it down our throats. Even Deke commented “now you have it all in one panel…sigh… make of that what you want”, knowing damn well it only slows one down.
    The fact that the old dialogs are still available with annoying work arounds proofs that it’s easy for Adobe to fix this with a small update. Wonder what has to happen to make them do it.

  • Dave Stewart — 3:14 AM on February 17, 2009

    Any chance of including “tear-off” menus like Maya does?
    [Illustrator supports something similar for tools, but there are no plans to standardize on such a thing across Adobe apps. As an alternative, check out Configurator. It’s a bit more complex, but it’s far more powerful/flexible than simply leveraging an existing menu. –J.]
    This adds a little icon to each menu group that allows you to permanently float any menu or submenu, so for example you could float the View > Snap To menu group so that all you need to do in future is tear off the panel then use the it as a set of buttons. Saves going through the entire menus each time, or remembering hot keys.
    Thanks for listening.
    Dave

  • Cris DeRaud — 12:29 PM on February 17, 2009

    The straighten tool is hidden under filter>distort>lens correction and then tucked away in the upper left corner as an nondescript icon.
    Sure would be nice to have that tool brought forward to the main toolbar like you have in Elements.
    I know there are many straightening work-arounds but I consider it to be a basic and common function.

  • Ben Richardson — 8:05 PM on February 28, 2009

    “The fact that the old dialogs are still available with annoying work arounds proofs that it’s easy for Adobe to fix this with a small update.”
    This is the most salient point in this whole mess. Since a cottage industry has sprung up to create scripts/configurator-whatsits/actions to give professionals back the modal dialogs (in a variety of clunky ways), wouldn’t it just be more satisfying for you to make it a proper preference in a point update?
    [No. We need to make the panel work right for you. (There’s a bigger picture at work here that I need to make time to explain in more detail.) See my replies to your other comments. –J.]
    John, a direct question (or a few): Is it easy? Could it be done? Would it upset anyone (leave it off by default, the newbies will never know)?
    [Long ago in this job, I found that it’s generally much better to give engineers problems & to then ask them for solutions, rather than to specify solutions & ask them to execute on them. That’s not to say that specific ideas are unwelcome, but it’s much more valuable to hear a statement of the problem(s). –J.]

  • dale — 4:31 PM on October 08, 2009

    Wow that’s annoying considering I saved my workspace before I temporarily switched to “basic”
    Switching back to my saved workspace and still having neutered menus. Makes no sense.

  • bccmee — 5:51 PM on November 07, 2009

    Thank you for explaining how to simply get my full menus for Adobe Photoshop CS4!

  • bhaskarsj — 4:56 AM on December 29, 2009

    Hello
    Iam using ps cs4 extended and iam using both regular version and portable, when Iuse it for the first time it shows 3d menu in the menu bar and later when I open PS THE 3D MENU IS MISSING CAN YOU HELP ME TO SORT OUT THIS, Itired reinstalling again it happens the same plz email me the procedure

  • dfresh — 12:21 PM on January 07, 2010

    Hello
    I have the same problem. only I have never seen the 3D menu, and I am running CS4 extended. THE 3D MENU IS MISSING CAN YOU HELP ME TO SORT this out. plz email me the procedure.
    Thanks so much for your help, I am losing my mind on this.

  • Zeinab Hussien — 9:32 AM on February 28, 2010

    Hello
    Iam using ps cs4 extended and iam using both regular version and portable, when Iuse it for the first time it shows 3d menu in the menu bar and later when I open PS THE 3D MENU IS MISSING CAN YOU HELP ME TO SORT OUT THIS, Itired reinstalling again it happens the same plz email me the procedure

  • brian — 10:31 AM on May 20, 2010

    Hello
    Iam using ps cs4 extended and iam using both regular version and portable, when Iuse it for the first time it shows 3d menu in the menu bar and later when I open PS THE 3D MENU IS MISSING CAN YOU HELP ME TO SORT OUT THIS, Itired reinstalling again it happens the same plz email me the procedure

  • Jaysurf — 7:58 AM on October 25, 2011

    Thank you!

  • Katie — 1:10 PM on May 11, 2012

    I thought it had something to do with the screen height on my laptop. So annoying. Thanks for the easy fix.

  • Dailyparadise — 10:18 PM on July 15, 2012

    This issue annoys me for quite a while, thanks for telling me how to fix it!

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