May 27, 2010

Using Mixed Case panel titles in Photoshop CS5

The ALL CAPS panel tabs in CS4 and later are one of the more polarizing aesthetic details of the applications. If you’d like to change Photoshop panel tabs to Mixed Case, grab this plug-in (Mac) or these registry entries (Win).

On Mac drop the plug-in into the “Adobe Photoshop CS5/Plug-ins” folder; on Windows double-click the “DisableUppercaseTitles_ON.reg” file.
[Update: You can do the same in InDesign CS4/CS5. Colin Fleming writes, “Create a folder, name it ‘noallcaps’ (one word, no spaces, no caps), put this folder in the InDesign application folder–done!”]

Posted by John Nack at 10:42 AM on May 27, 2010


  • Rene Hernandez — 10:46 AM on May 27, 2010

    Any way to change the hideous spinning bars back to either the wristwatch or at least the spinning beach ball. It is really beginning to annoy me every time I save a file to see the pixelated edges of the spinning bars.
    [The SPOD indicates that the app has locked up; the stopwatch/spinner indicate processing a task of indeterminate length. Unfortunately Apple doesn’t supply/specify a modern equivalent for the latter, so we made our own. –J.]

  • Stormchild — 10:49 AM on May 27, 2010

    Count me in among those who don’t like the new spinner. Just stick with the beachball that everyone knows and expects. Why go against the grain for no real benefit?
    [Because a beachball != a stopwatch. They mean different things. One indicates trouble, one indicates progress. So, now knowing that, what would you have us do? Keep the thing from 1984? –J.]

  • Rene Hernandez — 11:19 AM on May 27, 2010

    CS4 had the stop watch. Maybe you should revert to that. The pixelated edges of the bars just feels unfinished.

  • Rene Hernandez — 11:25 AM on May 27, 2010

    Thinking about it more, a dialog box with a progress bar is probably the better option. It provides feedback as to how long the “saving” process is going to take. Just like in AI and other apps when they save…
    [PS *does* pop progress bars for what are likely to be long operations. Note that progress bars typically give an indication of, well, progress–where one is in relation to the finish line. The stopwatch is meant to convey indeterminate progress that can’t be plotted along a line. –J.]
    John, I appreciate your blog and your willingness to respond. I know everyone must seem like a Monday Morning Quarterback to you, but these “little” things are the details that your users notice…
    [We care, too, and we care that you care. :-) –J.]

  • John Bilyj — 12:55 PM on May 27, 2010

    This is brilliant – I have to admit to being a bit obsessive over case, but this is just great!
    Sorry – thank you :-)

  • George Penston — 1:07 PM on May 27, 2010

    I still think the monochromatic blue beachball with the arrow that you sometimes see in Safari when a Java or Javascript operation is taking long would work the best here for the indeterminate progress.
    I love the Mixed Case option though. Is there anyway we can get this for all CS5 apps?
    [You can do it in InDesign, but I don’t know the secret handshake offhand. –J.]

  • gh — 2:00 PM on May 27, 2010

    I like the new Spiner, maybe, maybe it could be a little smaller? Cool on the case thing, its nice on Mac that it is in a plug in folder, easy to change out and test it out.

  • gh — 2:15 PM on May 27, 2010

    and the best thing about that new spinner, is it goes away so much quicker !!!

  • Herman — 3:46 PM on May 27, 2010

    John. You rule. I didn’t even know I wanted this :)
    On the beach-ball, it’s not always a lock up, so from a user perspective, I understand the confusion. It’s a sticky problem..
    Maybe consider using a SBOD with a little addition telling the user this one will disappear for certain?

  • Klaus Nordby — 4:14 PM on May 27, 2010

    PRAISE THE LORD! Umm, praise thee, Adobe folks! A little birdie once told me this decapitalization would become possible in CS5, but I feared he was only pulling my legs. I fear no more: it’s the final proof that Adobe *really* cares about sweating the small stuff.
    [Heh heh. You know I was thinking of you with this, Klaus. –J.]

  • Ken — 4:17 PM on May 27, 2010

    I was trying to hold off on CS5 PSextended, but after reading and watching so many tutorials, well,,,,,,,
    I should it tomorrow, Which means, I will go into my Photoshop Cave and come out on Tues, the day after memorial day
    Ken in KY
    [Heh–thanks, and have fun, Ken. –J.]

  • Stephen Walker — 1:14 AM on May 29, 2010

    Strange likes and dislikes ! I for one quite like the new spinner – much better than the old stopwatch.
    Back on the main topic – I have a friend who is dyslexic and he has been hassling me forever to ask Adobe to please restore the mixed case look to panel titles. Apparently he is able to more easily read them than the all caps version. I can’t comment but he is insistent that for dyslexia mixed case is preferred – worth taking into account ? My personal preference – mixed case – looks neater.

  • John.B — 7:49 AM on June 01, 2010

    No. NOT a dialog box. Some sort of status update is fine, and we can argue the UX for that kind of all day and all night, but NO dialog boxes. Keep that stuff out of my face.

  • John.B — 7:59 AM on June 01, 2010

    Hey, John, now that you’ve fixed the whole “mixed case” thing in Photoshop, can you fix in Finder? ;^)

  • Pierre Igot — 4:27 AM on June 04, 2010

    Apple’s own HIG:
    The spinning wait cursor (see Figure 12-1) is displayed automatically by the window server when an application cannot handle all of the events it receives. If an application does not respond for about 2 to 4 seconds, the spinning wait cursor appears. You should try to avoid situations in your application in which the spinning wait cursor will be displayed. The Spin Control application provided with Xcode can help you eliminate code that is causing this cursor.
    Does not say anything about the SPOD being for when the application is locked up. That’s John’s interpretation.
    The iWork applications provide a good example. When opening a file takes some time, you get a temporary dialog sheet with a progress bar. The dialog sheet is only modal for that particular document window. Other windows are unaffected.
    Seems to be the ideal solution to me.
    The spinner is a cop-out. It’s like saying, “Look, we know Apple wants us to avoid situations in which the SPOD will be displayed, but we don’t know how to do that, so we’ll just put a spinner instead.”

  • Pissed Mac Developer — 9:24 AM on June 04, 2010

    You really should read that again. What do you think “application does not respond for about 2 to 4 seconds” means? Apple says that the SPOD is for applications that are not responding to events — aka: locked up.
    Adobe is avoiding the SPOD, because they aren’t locked up — they’re just indicating indefinite progress (aka: still working, just don’t know how long it’ll take). It’s a good thing that Apple thought about the need for such an indicator back in MacOS 1.0 (and then promptly forgot about the problem when MacOS X rolled around).

  • Miguel H. — 2:52 PM on June 04, 2010

    The The SBOD doesn’t indicates that the application has crashed, just that it’s locked up (ie: does not accept user input), and that’s exactly what is happening when the “loading” cursor is being displayed now.
    I think the loading cursor is confusing, not only because it does not offer any new valuable information compared to the SBOD, but because every other existent references to that symbol are related to loading media or application startup processes. You should rethink this.

  • Pissed Mac Developer — 10:52 PM on June 04, 2010

    The spinny cursor in Photoshop serves the same purpose as the watch cursor in Carbon or MacOS 9 – it indicates indefinite progress. The SPOD indicates a complete lack of progress, and that the application is probably frozen.
    Spinny Cursor = Hold your horses, it’s almost done.
    Where are people coming up with the idea that the SPOD is a progress indicator, when Apple’s documentation says just the opposite?
    What’s next: “kernel panics mean Apple loves you” or “SegFaults are a kiss from Steve”?

  • Miguel H. — 11:00 PM on June 06, 2010

    Why this application have to come up with inconsistent ways of letting the user know what is going on? Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines officially refer to the SBOD as the “spinning wait cursor”, so if you have to wait for the computer to finish a process just show that, if I don’t have to wait, then don’t change the cursor. Maybe the cursor is not the right place to present the information you are trying to convey.
    [You are mistaken about the SBOD. Please see this post for more info. –J.]

  • Merv — 2:20 AM on June 07, 2010

    Love this John thanks.
    So that improves Ps and ID. Any idea how to improve the panels in Ai and Dw? Or better again is the a Suite wide tweak?
    Thanks for all you do.
    [Thanks, Merv. No luck for the other apps, I’m afraid. –J.]

  • Walker — 1:33 AM on August 11, 2010

    John, the new wait cursor is far from necessary. The wristwatch, while archaic, was not only easily recognizable, but also easy to see. The problem I seem to continually encounter is that I’m unable to spot the new cursor on my screen and I can’t tell what’s going on immediately. It becomes lost in even the most minimal clutter.

    Add to that the fact that this particular animation has never been used in a cursor context AFAIK, and you have yet another Adobe-induced UI nightmare.

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