Before you start: Basic Setup

Operating systems and software are set up in a very generic way when they are first installed. Here are some minor tweaks that I make when I first start using  OSX and Photoshop. You do not have to make these changes, but I think you’ll find they make editing images a little easier.

The Main Changes – 

These are the adjustments I find most helpful.

Turn on right-click

By default, the mouse in OSX only uses the primary button, no matter which side of the mouse you click. This can be frustrating when you are editing pictures, because it forces you to hold down the control key on your keyboard to access the secondary button. If you want right-clicking to do something on your mouse:

  • Select the apple in the upper left corner of your screen.
  • Select System Preferences.
  • Select Mouse.
  • You’ll see a diagram of your mouse. Change the label for the right side of the mouse to Secondary.
  • Close System Preferences.

Open Photoshop Images in floating windows, not tabs

Photoshop likes to open files in tabs. It makes it easier to find each image, but it can make it difficult to see two images at once or to copy part of one image to a second image. I like to have my images open in floating windows. Here’s how:

  • Start Photoshop.
  • Select Photoshop CC on the menu.
  • Hover over (do not click!) Preferences. A sub-menu will open.
  • Select
  • Uncheck Open Documents as Tabs.
  • Select the OK button (in the top right corner).


Make folders for your work

Sometimes you’ll put files on your desktop. Don’t leave them there. Make folders for your projects, and put your work there. And give your files real names so you can find them later! It’s a lot easier to find your magazine cover when it’s called “magazine cover.psd” instead of “untitled (25).psd”.


Other Adjustments

These are adjustments I personally prefer. They are not as significant, but I find them useful.


Clean up your Dock

The Dock is a place where currently running programs are shown. It also has some apps pinned to it for easy access. You can pin or unpin programs. I suggest unpinning programs you won’t be using (in this class, that would be things like Messenger and Mail), and pinning the programs you might be using (like Photoshop, Word, PowerPoint, Premiere Pro, Scratch, and After Effects).

To unpin a program: drag the icon to the trash can.

To pin a program:

  • If the program is running, right-click (or control-click) the icon and select Options, then Keep in Dock.
  • If the program is not running, you can drag the icon from Finder or Launchpad onto the dock.

You can also hide the dock if you’d like, which can give you a little more space to work.

One way to hide the dock:

  • Right click on an open space on the dock.
  • Select Dock Preferences.
  • Select Automatically hide and show the dock.

There are other ways to customize the dock, like moving it and changing its size. I don’t change those, but you might find that a different size or location works better for you.

Remember: these are suggested changes, not requirements. Every user gets their own configuration settings, so you can make your software work however you like. If you like to set up your machine in a different way, do it!