by Julieanne Kost

 Comments (4)


April 24, 2012

As you have probably already noticed, Photoshop CS6 had a major interface overhaul. The entire application was re-skinned and, as a fun fact, that means that over 1800 icons and 250 cursors got a makeover!

There are 4 “Color Themes” or levels of brightness that you can choose from. By default, the second-to-most dark theme is selected. You can change the theme by clicking on the color swatches in Preferences > Interface > Appearance, or use the shortcut Shift + F2 to move to a lighter Theme or Shift + F1 to cycle to a darker theme. Note, on the Mac, you might have to ad the function (fn) key).

Previous versions of Photoshop used the lightest theme. It took me a few days to get use to the change but I now prefer the darker, default interface as I feel that the Photoshop interface now takes a back seat to the image that I’m editing.


  • By Davide Barranca - 6:38 AM on April 24, 2012  

    true, a darker UI let us focus on the image – yet I foresee a big wave of dark prints all over the world, due to the simultaneous contrast phenomenon 😉


  • By Juha Immonen - 1:29 AM on September 21, 2012  

    Hi Julianne,

    most annoying problem I´ve got: any idea why my Photoshop themes get lighter also when I use the shortcut CTRL+F2! Normally that moves the focus to the menu bar and saves me a precious fraction of a second by not having to move fingers onto the trackpad but oh no! not when I use it in photoshop! Something entirely different happens as a result of which a profanity or two gets uttered in frustration…

    Help very much appreciated,

    • By Pete Green - 12:45 PM on September 21, 2012  

      Yes, the Control + F2 keyboard shortcut is not editable since it is hard coded into Photoshop to lighten the interface.
      We’re aware of this overlap.

      As a workaround, you can access the menu using a different keyboard shortcut, but will take a step of setup in Photoshop.

      CMD+Shift+/ -> Brings up the help menu and you can access a menu search function to either begin to type/search the menu item you’re looking to use, or you can just use the arrow keys from there to navigate the menus.

      Since Photoshop has already assigned this CMD+Shift+/ keyboard shortcut as launching the Photoshop Help, you will need to clear this keyboard shortcut.
      Choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts > Help – and change the keyboard shortcuts listed under “Photoshop Online Help”

      You just need to clear out the entry for CMD+Shift+/, you can leave the CMD+/ shortcut there.

      Click OK, then try the shortcut out in Photoshop. Even try searching the help box there for the menu item you’re after.
      You may really like this method!

      • By Juha Immonen - 2:38 AM on September 24, 2012  

        Thanks Pete, I can live – and what´s more important – work with this…