Part 2: New Projects, Zooming, and Tabs

In this second part of our guide, we show you opening up Photoshop, starting a new project, zooming, and tabs.

In the previous part of our guide, we talked a little bit about what Photoshop does and DPI. This, of course, nicely leads us to our next part of our guide which talks about opening a new project, zooming, and tabs.

Opening Photoshop

When you open Photoshop, you’ll get something like this:

Unless you are opening an image directly in Photoshop, you’ll probably want to click on File > New…

From there, you’ll get a new pop-up window:

In this window, you’ll be able to define a few things. First, the project title which you can name anything you want. After that, you’ll be able to define your width and height of your canvas. You’ll see that it is defined by pixels, however, you can change the measurements via the drop down menu where it says “pixels”. Other measurements available include inches, millimetres, and pica’s. Suffice to say, you have a lot to choose from.

If you are wanting to print something on a standard sheet of paper, use inches. Your width should be 8.5 while your height should be 11. This is the standard dimensions of a sheet of paper.

Below the dimensions is the quality. This is your DPI we brought up earlier. If it’s for the web for general purposes,then 72 pixels per inch is fine. If you are shooting for print quality, then it would be recommended that you change this to 300. Remember, for large prints, you can always adjust the width and height anyway, so you may not need to go any higher since the width and height takes care of this for you. Also, you can switch to CMYK colour if you are creating something for the purpose of printing. RGB is fine for web content. When you are ready to begin, click “OK”.

Zoom Tool

When I set my width and height to 800 width by 600 height, I wound up getting this:

You’ll probably look at that and think, “That… seems a bit small for 800×600”. Well, technically, it is as far as the screen is concerned. If you look at the tab I highlighted on the top left corner, you’ll notice a percentage of 66%. So, this means that you are zoomed out a bit.

Believe it or not, the first tool we are going to show you is also going to be helpful for a health and safety perspective. What newer users do while working is subconsciously lean forward into the screen. They don’t need to zoom in much, but it seems easier just to lean forward and look more carefully at the screen. You do NOT need to do this and it can be unhealthy if you do this.

For one, you are moving your face closer to the screen. This can be harmful to your eyes if you are staring particularly close to the screen – especially if you have brightness on your screen moved up. Additionally, you also affect your posture and could suffer from neck pain (and maybe even back pain while you are at it).

Generally speaking, you will need to zoom in or out sooner or later while working, so use the available tools. So, you’ll see that I’ve highlighted the zoom tool towards the bottom of the above screen shot. Click on that.

When you click on the zoom tool, you’ll see a magnifying glass with a plus sign take the place of your cursor. This will enable you to zoom in when you click. Zooming out is one convenient speed key away. Simply hold down the Alt button. This will cause the plus sign in the magnifying glass to change to a minus sign. After that, just click to zoom out. When you release the Alt key, it will automatically revert back to an ability to zoom in again.

Ahh, much better.


If you are familiar with other Adobe products, you’ll probably already be familiar with the ability to switch between tabs. This behaves very similar to your standard web browsing tabs. Tabs are useful for a whole pile of reasons. One reason is that if you are working on multiple projects, you can simply tab between the different projects you are working on. Another reason to use tabs is if you want to separately experiment with something, you can drop your experiment onto a separate canvas and conduct it more safely than relying on undo.

A quick way to demonstrate the tabs is to simply open a new project again while leaving the current one open. In this case, I just went ahead and opened a new project with the standard 8.5 x 11 dimensions.

You’ll notice a new tab appear on the upper portion of your screen. You can, of course, name it anything you like when creating a new project, but regardless, it will appear next to your currently open open project. Now, all I have to do is click on the tab that I want to work on to switch to that project.

One important note, however. Be mindful of your computers limitations when working on tabs. If you have a cheap low powered device, having 15 tabs open with lots of complex layers and filters on will probably slow things down (after a while, you’ll be able to scroll with the arrow buttons if the tabs exceed the width of the screen). So, something to keep in mind is that maybe you should keep your workspace minimal if you are in that situation.

So, that’s a quick primer on creating a new project, zooming, and tabs. Next up, we start getting into more juicy stuff!

< Initial Thoughts on Photoshop (What Is DPI?) | Index | Filters, Opacity, Curves, and Colour Balance >

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