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Q1:Why didn't the change I made to my preferences work? I changed a Preferences setting but nothing happened—why?
A1: While most settings in the Preferences dialog (Command-K [PC: Control-K]) will immediately take effect when you click OK, there are a few that require Photoshop to be restarted for them to take effect. These are: UI Font Size, Scratch Disks, and Memory Usage.
Q2:What is Column Size in Preferences used for?I see a preference for Column Size, but where I would use that?
A2: That function (found under the Units & Rulers section in the Preferences dialog) is designed to help with the creation of files that will be used in a page-layout program. In the Preferences (Command-K [PC: Control-K]), you set the column size and gutter that you will be using in your page-layout program. Then in Photoshop, you can change the unit of measurement to Columns when you create a new document (to create documents that are two columns wide, for example). Photoshop will do the math for you and determine exactly how wide an image should be to equal the width of two columns plus the gutter. Just enter your amount in the Preferences Column Size field, then choose Columns in the pop-up menu to the right of the Width field in the New dialog (File>New).
Q3:When should I delete or reset my preferences?
A3: The most common reason to delete the Preferences file is when things just aren't working right. For example, you're typing percentages in the Color Picker that should give you red and you're getting blue—things that don't make sense. Deleting the Preferences file resets all preferences to their default settings.
Q4:How do I delete my preferences? I've read tips about deleting preferences, but how do I do that?

A4: Actually, it is often easier to reset the preferences to their default setting (which has the same result as deleting the Preferences file). Here's how:
  • Mac: As you launch Photoshop, hold down Command-Shift-Option.

  • Windows: As you launch Photoshop, hold down Control-Shift-Alt.

Click Yes in the resulting dialog to erase the current Preferences file and reset it to the default settings.

Q5:Is there a way to save my preferences? I have tweaked a lot of my preferences but will lose them if I reset the Preferences file. Is there another option?
A5: You can create a backup copy of your preferences (before things start to go wrong), and then use that copy to replace the corrupted Preferences file. You'll find the Preferences file here:
  • Mac: Hard Drive>Users>[username]>Library>Preferences>Adobe Photoshop CS2 Settings>Adobe Photoshop CS2 Prefs.psp.

  • Windows: C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data\Adobe\Photoshop\9.0\Adobe Photoshop CS2 Settings\Adobe Photoshop CS2 Prefs.psp. (Note: In Windows, you may need to turn on the Show Hidden Files and Folders option to find the Preferences file.)

Duplicate the Preferences file by Option-clicking (PC: Control-clicking) and dragging a copy of it to a location outside the Photoshop CS2application folder. When you think you need to delete the Preferences file, instead make a copy of your backup Preferences file and drag it into the Adobe Photoshop CS2 Settings folder, replacing the existing file.

Q6:What is the Image Previews option for in the Preferences? There's an option for saving different kinds of previews in the File Handling Preferences. What does that do—should I change it?
A6: This setting (found under Preferences [Command-K (PC: Control-K] in the File Handling section) determines what extra information is saved with your document. The Icon option allows you to see a preview when using Place commands or for viewing your image on your desktop, and the Thumbnail option lets you see a small picture of your file before you open it. If you are saving files for print, don't worry about these settings. For Web graphics, you may wish to turn these off, as they both add to the file size—not a lot, but every K counts in Web design. If you save files for both Web and print, you may want to change the Image Previews pop-up menu to Ask When Saving, so you can decide on a case-by-case basis whether you want icon and/or thumbnail previews.
Q7:What is pixel doubling?
A7: In the Preferences dialog (Command-K [PC: Control-K]), under Display & Cursors, the Use Pixel Doubling option is intended to speed up the display of very large files. For example, when you move a layer, a low-quality onscreen version is created. As soon as you let go of the mouse button, the high-res image returns. Unless you are using very large files (more than 200 MB), this preference will not greatly improve performance.
Q8:How do I give more RAM to Photoshop? I've installed additional RAM and want to make sure Photoshop can take advantage of it.How do I do that?
A8: You're quite right—installing more RAM doesn't mean Photoshop will run faster—you must allocate more RAM to Photoshop. In the Photoshop Preferences (Command-K [PC: Control-K]), go to Memory & Image Cache from the top pop-up menu. At the bottom of the dialog, you have the opportunity to set the percentage of RAM you wish to allocate to Photoshop. Increase the percentage, then quit and relaunch Photoshop.
Q9:How do I take advantage of my 1 GB (or more) of RAM?
A9: One of the ways to speed up Photoshop so you're taking better advantage of all your RAM is to enable a plug-in called Bigger Tiles. To do this, quit Photoshop CS2, and then find the ~Bigger Tiles file inside the Photoshop CS2 application folder (Photo-shop CS2>Plug-Ins>Adobe Photoshop Only>Extensions>Bigger Tiles). Rename the file, removing the tilde (~) from the file name, and then restart Photoshop.
Q10:What are scratch disks and why am I getting a message that they are full?

A10: Scratch disks can be thought of as “virtual RAM” and are used when Photoshop needs more RAM that you have installed or allocated. The message that warns that the scratch disk is full indicates that between your installed RAM andadditional space on disks, there is not enough available to complete the task Photoshop is attempting. Scratch disks are set in Preferences (Command-K [Control-K]) by choosing Plug-Ins & Scratch Disks from the top pop-up menu. Change your disk location under the Scratch Disks section, and then restart Photoshop.
Q11:Can I use my external drive as a scratch disk?
A11: Although you can, it's really not advisable due to slower speed and access time. It is better to use installed disks if possible, but if your only option is to use an external drive, you can. Just choose your new scratch disk location in the Preferences dialog (see previous question).
Q12:Why don't I have “curly” quotes anymore?
A12: There is a setting in Preferences called Smart Quotes that determines whether your quotes need to be “curly” or not. For example, if you type 12", the quote symbol will be straight (for the inches symbol), while if you enter some text within quotes, the marks will be “curly.” You'll find the Use Smart Quotes option in Preferences (Command-K [PC: Control-K]) under Type. (Note: Some typefaces do not include “curly” quotes.)
Q13:What is Version Cue and should I enable it?
A13: Version Cue is a file management system that, according to Adobe, “is an innovative set of features designed to increase your produc-tivity when you work alone or collaborate with others.” The biggest strength of Version Cue is probably working within the Creative Suite, so if you only use Photoshop, there may be less of an advantage for you. The best advice is to take a look at the documentation for Version Cue (on Adobe.com) and determine if this workflow would benefit you.
Q14:My preferences are set to show brush size cursors,but I see the little crosshair instead. Why?
A14: When the Caps Lock key is on, it overrides the Preferences setting and changes the brush size to the precise cursor. To see the brush size cursor again, turn off the Caps Lock key.



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