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The New Panel System in Adobe Creative Suite 3

AdobeR CreativeR Suite 3 is the most significant release of the Adobe product line to date and one of the new features is the improved panel system that is common throughout the entire suite. Although most of the panels have the same names as before, such as Layers and History, there is a new way of accessing and displaying the panels which is meant to maximize the flexibility of the workspace. Let's take a look at the PhotoshopR CS3 workspace to learn how to use this new system.*

1. The first thing you will notice is that the Tools Panel is now one column. However, if you prefer the old two-column panel, just click on the dark gray area at the top of the panel which acts as a toggle.

2. The other panels are still on the left of the workspace and they can be displayed in several ways. First, as you can see in the default workspace, some of the panels are in the expanded format (as in previous versions of Photoshop) and some are represented by icons. If you find it difficult to recognize the panels by their icons, just pull the side of the panel column to expand and reveal the icon labels. However, once you learn the icons for each panel, you can keep them contracted as icons to give you more space to work. Then, as you need to use a panel, just click on the icon for that panel to expand that panel from within the column.

3. If you really want alot of workspace, you can hide the panels on both the right and left sides of the workspace by clicking the Tab key on your keyboard. To view the hidden panels, hold your mouse over the right or left edge of the workspace and the panels will appear. To toggle the hidden panels visible again, click the Tab key.

4. If you prefer to have a panel float independently, you can click on the label tab of that panel and drag it away from the others in the column. Just drag it back into place when you are done. You can also rearrange the order of the panels in a column or create your own customized column of panels by dragging on the panels. As a dragged panel gets close to the others, you will see a blue line indicating the location in the column where the panel will be added.

5. Once you have built your customized panel layout, you can save it as a customized workspace. Click Window - Workspace - Save Workspace (Photoshop, IllustratorR, InDesignR). For FlashR, click Window - Workspace - Save Current.

6. To change from one customized workspace to another or to the default, just use the new Workspace button on the Options bar and choose the workspace configuration you need from the drop-down menu.

*In Photoshop the panels may still be referred to as palettes in some documentation.




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