Auto-Collapse Iconic Panels in Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop

There is a little known feature that can help automatically show and hide panels when working in Photoshop CS6: Auto-Collapse Iconic Panels. I find this useful when I have two columns of panels: where the panels on the far right are fully expanded and the second row of panels are collapsed. If you look at the screenshot, you can see that I have my Properties panels in the collapsed, iconic state.

If I have the Auto-Collapse Iconic Panels option turned on, and add an adjustment layer, the Properties panel automatically expands so  that I can make changes. When I’m finished, the panel automatically closes.

To toggle the Auto-Collapse Iconic Panels option on or off, Control -click (Mac) / Right Mouse -click (Win) in the empty space to the right of an expanded panel’s name.


Adobe Photoshop

Posted on 11-20-2012


  • By Simon - 6:06 AM on November 20, 2012  

    Neat little trick. I’m sure I only get about 50% out of Photoshop. Thanks.

  • By Dmitry Dulepov - 9:41 AM on November 20, 2012  

    This is really useful! Thanks!

  • By Bill Johnson - 9:46 PM on November 20, 2012  

    Works in Photoshop CS5 as well.

  • By Ian Geddes - 1:20 PM on May 14, 2013  

    Doesn’t seem to work if I use my customised workspace – works fine if I use any of the standard workspaces eg photography, essentials.
    The difference seems to be that the property panel seems to be floating rather than being attached to the second collapsed column of panels.
    Any ideas how to fix this would be much appreciated?

    • By Julieanne Kost - 7:54 PM on May 14, 2013  

      Hi Ian, you need to have the panel docked to another panel for Photoshop to Auto Collapse the panel.

      • By Ian Geddes - 5:04 AM on May 15, 2013  

        Hi Julieanne
        Thanks for your reply. I understand about needing to have the panel docked. It’s just that in my customised workspace when I add an adjustment layer as you descibe above the Property Panel doesn’t dock to the second collapsed column of panels but floats on it’s own and so the Auto Collapse features doesn’t work (as you say). If I then switch to say Essentials workspace and carry out the same operation then the Property Panel is docked and the Auto Collapse feature works fine – so it’s seem only not to work in a customised workspace?