Adobe Photoshop Menu Bar Options

Use the menu bar to access a wealth of tools and windows

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One of the basic elements of Adobe Photoshop is the menu bar, located at the very top of the program. The menu bar is used to open and save files, adjust the canvas size, access some of the editing tools, open and close various windows, and more.

The menu bar consists of 10 menus: File, Edit, Image, Layer, Type, Select, Filter, View, Window, and Help. Each of those main menus has additional submenus for related options.

Most of what's available in the menu bar can be accessed in other ways, too, like via keyboard shortcuts, right-click menus, or with separate menus located within other windows like Tools, Layers, Timeline, etc. Some options, however, have to be accessed by the menu bar.

Tip: There are lots of options in the menu bar, so one helpful tip to understand how it's all laid out is that if you see an ellipsis (three dots) at the end of any menu item, it means that there's another window that will open with more options. Otherwise, whatever you click will go into effect immediately.

File

The File menu is Photoshop is much like the File menu in other programs. It's the primary method for making new files, opening existing ones, saving files, and printing. All of those actions can be performed with one of the options under the File menu.

For example, if you've just opened Photoshop and you want to import a PNG or JPG file, you can use the File menu to select Open to browse for the picture you want to use. Advanced open operations are supported, too, like opening images in Adobe Bridge, opening Smart Objects, saving photos for web use to reduce the size, and exporting to a video format.

The Open Recent option under the File menu is a list of the 10 most recently opened files. So long as the original file hasn't been moved elsewhere, you can use that option to quickly re-open a file without having to go through the normal "open, select, browse" procedure.

It's also the File menu that lets you convert a video into frames so that you can edit each individual frame, or turn a video into a GIF.

Edit

Photoshop's Edit menu is reserved for, you guessed it, editing! You can edit everything from objects on the canvas to menu items and shortcuts.

For example, you can do simple things like undo or redo a recent action, as well as cut, copy, and paste. Those are common actions, so you'll find yourself using those menu options often, or at least learning their keyboard shortcuts (which are shown in the Edit menu).

The Edit menu is also one place where you deal with text, so you can search for text and replace specific text with something else (with the Find and Replace option). Editing the canvas color is available here as well, through the Fill option.

Also here are tools for transforming objects. If you have an image you want to warp, rotate, scale, distort, or flip, use the Edit > Transform submenu to find those options. The Free Transform tool is located here as well, letting you adjust the height and width of anything.

Creating new brushes, patterns, and shapes out of existing objects on the canvas is also done through this menu. The Edit menu is how you open Preset Manager to view brushes, gradients, swatches, custom shapes, and load your own custom ABR brushes; as well as how you open Color Settings to adjust RGB, CMYK, and other color profiles (and also to load custom CSF and PSP files).

This menu is used to locate existing keyboard shortcuts and define new ones, too, and to change general preferences for how Photoshop works and to show/hide which items are visible on the menu bar.

Image

Many options related to changing images in Photoshop are available in the Image menu. The first few options are how you change the mode of the whole canvas, between modes like RGB color, grayscale, CMYK color, multichannel, duotone, and more.

Next in the Image menu is a submenu called Adjustments which lets you access various tools for changing the image's brightness, contrast, levels, exposure, vibrance, hue/saturation, and color balance. Also here are the Photo Filter, Channel Mixer, and Color Lookup tools, among others.

The Image menu in Photoshop has a few automatic tools, too, to quickly change how the image looks without diving into any specific tool. Auto Tone, Auto Contrast, and Auto Color are the options.

Some important canvas manipulation tools are included in the Image menu, called Image Size and Canvas Size. For example, you'd use the Canvas Size option to change the width and height of the whole working area, to make it the exact size it needs to be or to shrink or grow the canvas by a particular percentage or so-many pixels, centimeters, inches, etc.

Crop and Trim are two other notable tools in this menu. The first is used to resize the canvas by manually selecting which areas should be deleted. The second is for automating the resize by removing transparent pixels or pixels of a specific color, from any edge of the canvas.

Layer

The Layer menu is where all of the layer manipulation tools are held in Photoshop. This is where you can create new layers, duplicate existing ones, delete and rename layers, and much more.

Also in this menu are options for creating layer masks, adjustment layers, and fill layers. A fill layer, for example, is a new layer pre-populated with a specific color, pattern, or gradient, which you get to choose when you click it.

You can also use the Layer menu to create and edit Smart Objects, as well as export their contents to a file or replace their contents with that of another Smart Object.

Other options in the Layer menu let you group and hide layers, lock layers, arrange layers behind or in front of other ones, link and merge layers, and flatten the image to automatically merge all the layers.

Type

Photoshop's Type menu is one place where you can manipulate the text on the canvas. To enable most of the options, you have to have the text layer selected.

The first option lets you show or hide the Character, Character Styles, Paragraph, and Paragraph Styles panels. A couple of these can also be accessed through the Window menu, but not all four.

In this menu is also where you access Anti-Alias options for making the text have a sharp, crisp, smooth, or strong look.

The Orientation menu is for quickly changing text between horizontal and vertical orientation.

With Photoshop's Type menu, you can also create work paths, convert a text layer to a shape, rasterize the text layer to make it an image, warp the text, change the font preview size, and change language options.

Select

Options pertaining to selections are stored in Photoshop's Select menu. You can select everything on the canvas, select all the layers, and deselect everything from this menu. A couple related and useful tools let you invert the selection and re-select a prior selection.

A Refine Edge tool is in the Select menu which is used to change the edge of a selection. You can adjust the smooth, feather, contrast, and shift edge settings to define specific selection details.

Grow is an option in this menu that will automatically increase the selection to nearby pixels to effectively increase the overall selection area. You can keep clicking it to get a broader selection.

Save Selection and Load Selection are used if you want to re-select something later; save it as a new selection and then load it when you need to re-apply the exact same selection.

Filter

Adobe Photoshop filters are contained in the Filter menu. It's here that you can open Filter Gallery to preview artistic, brush stroke, distort, sketch, texture, and other built-in filters.

Other filters for blur, noise, pixelate, render, and sharpen are located directly inside the Filter menu. To save or load a custom Photoshop filter, go to Filter > Other > Custom and use the Load button to locate the ACF file, or the Save button to make a new ACF file.

The Filter menu is also how you offset horizontal and vertical pixels, like to create an effect of an image doubled over itself.

View

The View menu includes tools related to how you see things in Photoshop. You can enable a ruler, create guides that you can follow for precise positioning, and change over to full screen mode.

Some common options in Photoshop's View menu are for zooming. Zoom in and out, auto-fit the canvas to the same size as the screen, automatically zoom in or out to show the actual pixel size, and zoom to the print size are a few of the options.

Other things you can show or hide from the View menu include selection edges, target paths, notes, layer edges, edit pins, guides, slices, mesh, pixel grid, and brush preview.

Window

Photoshop's Window menu serves two purposes: hide/show windows and arrange the workspace however you like. Since not all available windows are shown all the time (there are lots), use the Window menu to selectively show or hide them as you need them.

The Window menu can be used to toggle all sorts of windows as visible or hidden: Actions, Adjustments, Brush, Channels, Color, History, Layers, Notes, Paths, Timeline, and Tools are a few examples.

Use the Arrange and Workspace submenus to adjust where the windows are positioned. You can also drag and drop windows anywhere you like, even outside of Photoshop's main window, but these menus have some pre-set options for positioning windows in places that are supposed to be easier for certain tasks, like for painting and typography.

Help

The Help menu marks the end of Photoshop's menu bar. You can see the version of Photoshop you're running, get online help, access the Photoshop Support Center, learn more about the installed plug-ins, register Photoshop with Adobe, and more.

Similar Menus in Photoshop

In addition to the menu bar, Photoshop often has context menus for accessing some of the most likely commands depending on which tool is selected and where you click. Access the context menu by right-clicking on Windows or pressing the ​Control key on a Mac.

For example, if you're using the text tool in Windows, right-click it to check spelling, find and replace text, make the text smooth or crisp, warp the text, etc.