Photoshop Navigation. This is an extremely important area for beginners because navigating within a network of pixels is something you need at all times in Photoshop, and if you master navigation well, it will certainly help you work much faster in the program.

Zoom Tool – a tool to enlarge / reduce the display of a document

When you open a photo in Photoshop, you have the ability to view it in different view sizes:

  1. reduced
  2. enlarged
  3. in the original size, ie 1: 1 scale

Photoshop Navigation. The Zoom Tool just serves to zoom in or out, actually enlarging and reducing the grid of pixels within the desktop of the active document. When you activate this tool in the ToolBox, the Options panel will change automatically, displaying additional options. Let’s see what these options are:

Zoom Tool options in the Options panel
Zoom Tool options in the Options panel
  1. Zoom Tool Presets
  2. Zoom In – active tool function. When this field is active (as in the example in the picture), it means that one click will enlarge the display, ie the grid of pixels, anywhere within the desktop. Each subsequent click further magnifies the image
  3. Zoom Out – When this field is active, it means that one click anywhere in the desktop will reduce the display, or the grid of pixels. Each subsequent click further reduces the image display
  4. below the lesson you will see that open documents can, just like panels, be anchored under the Options panel or free in space. If you check this box, in case the open document is free in space, the size of the display will affect the size of the window
  5. When you zoom in / out in the active document, the same will happen in all other open documents
  6. Scrubby Zoom – to make this option clear to you, it’s best to try it on your computer yourself. When it’s off, click and drag (while holding down the left mouse button) to create a rectangular frame, literally determining what will be displayed on the desktop when you release the left mouse button. In case Scrubby Zoom is active, clicking and dragging will automatically zoom in / out; when you find the zoom level that suits you, release the left mouse button.
  7. Original document size
  8. The entire image will be displayed within the desktop. Depending on whether it is horizontally or vertically oriented, it will fill the width or height of the desktop
  9. The desktop will be completely filled with the active document display

Photoshop Navigation. When it comes to displaying a document, you can also find all the commands in the View drop-down menu (which in translation means display). In the picture below you can also see the keyboard shortcuts of these commands on the right. We recommend that you remember these keyboard shortcuts as soon as possible and start using them in your work.

Navigation commands and their keyboard shortcuts
Navigation commands and their keyboard shortcuts

Photoshop Navigation. There is another keyboard shortcut that is perhaps best when you want to perform quick navigation while using another tool. Holding Ctrl + Space will bring a magnifying glass instead of a cursor. Clicking would only enlarge the view, while in the case of clicking and dragging, a rectangle will appear which determines what will be on the desktop.

Just below these commands in the View drop-down menu is the Screen Mode submenu. Commands from this submenu give you the ability to hide the panels and menu bar, in order to view the active document in the Full Screen presentation.

Screen Mode - the mode of displaying the active document
Screen Mode – the mode of displaying the active document

Also, here are the keyboard shortcuts on the right side, ie one with which you can switch to a different look of the program – F.

Screen Mode icon in the ToolBox
Screen Mode icon in the ToolBox

You can find the same submenu at the very bottom of the ToolBox, but just as with navigation, you will almost never run this command from the menu but with the F key. Another useful keyboard shortcut related to showing / hiding all panels in the program is Tab.

Zoom Level

Photoshop Navigation. When the pixels of the image you open coincide with the pixels that make up your screen, then we say that a raster document is displayed in its original size, ie 1: 1. When the ratio is 1: 1, then the Zoom Level is 100%. Any value below 100% indicates that the display is reduced, while any value above 100% indicates that the display of the document is enlarged. If you want to see the Zoom Level of the active document, look at the left side of the tab at the very bottom of the window.

Zoom Level
Zoom Level

The percentage value is displayed in the field on the left.

Hand Tool – Move the grid of pixels on the workspace

When you zoom in on an active document, you often want to move that view to see some details on the left / right or top / bottom. The Hand Tool helps in these situations, because it moves the current display in the desired direction. When you activate this tool, the cursor will look like a fist, which is a characteristic of this tool, because by clicking and dragging (holding the left mouse button) the grid moves just as if you caught it with your hand on the screen.

When you activate the Hand Tool, the commands from the options panel are almost the same as with the Zoom Tool, the only difference is the Scrool All Windows check box – which will work the same in other open documents if you move the display.

Hand tool options
Hand tool options

Just as was the case with the Zoom Tool, you will not often activate the Hand Tool from the Tool Box because there is also a keyboard shortcut for moving. The importance of this keyboard shortcut is shown by the choice of keys, the biggest key on the keyboard is the shortcut for switching to the Hand Tool, that is Space. No matter which tool is currently active, holding space switches to the hand tool to move the current view.

Rotate View Tool

Since there is a black triangle in the lower right corner of the Hand Tool icon, we know that other tools are hidden there, in this case only one – Rotate View Tool which gives you the ability to rotate the image by clicking and dragging (holding the left mouse button) or by entering a rotation value in the Rotation Angle field located in the Options Panel.

Rotate View tool options
Rotate View tool options

You return to the normal view by running the Reset View command located in the options panel. When you rotate the view, you do not change the document itself, but only the rotation of the view. In the continuation of the course, you will learn how to rotate the image itself.

Navigation Panel

This panel can be extremely useful for beginners as it helps with navigation, especially when the Zoom Level is slightly higher. When you open it, you will see the currently active document in it, while the red rectangle will show the part of the image that is currently visible on the desktop.

By clicking on any part of the image in the navigation panel view, that part will become the center of the desktop view in the active zoom level. If you move the cursor inside the red rectangle, and then click and move it in the desired direction, it will act as a hand tool – in this way you actually use the red rectangle to determine what is visible on the desktop.

Photoshop Navigation
Navigation panel

At the very bottom of this panel you have a field to display / enter the Zoom Level value on the left, while on the right you have a Zoom slider to zoom in / out, which is closely related to the Zoom Level, which is the default.

Work with multiple open documents

By default, all of these open documents will be displayed in the tab below the Options panel, and only the active document will be lighter.

Photoshop Navigation. Open documents in Tabs; The first tab on the left is active
Open documents in Tabs; The first tab on the left is active

Looking at these tabs, not only can you conclude how many documents are open and which is active, but in each tab right next to the name you have the most basic information about the document:

Zoom Level (Color Mode – color model / Bits / Channel – amount of information per channel)

The active document in the image is in the first Tab, and if you want to activate the second, simply click on it and it will be displayed on the desktop and all the commands and options you do will apply to the active document. The keyboard shortcut for moving from one to the next active document is Ctrl + Tab.

Another way to see all open documents and the one currently active is at the very bottom of the Windows drop-down menu. The last section at the bottom shows all open windows in Photoshop, while the active one is checked.

Photoshop Navigation. display open and active documents at the bottom of the Windows drop-down menu
display open and active documents at the bottom of the Windows drop-down menu

Although you can display a number of windows on the desktop, remember that only one of them can be active.

Scheduling open document windows

Photoshop Navigation. In addition to having more windows open, you are able to see more of them on your desktop which can be very useful, especially if you have a larger monitor. To arrange open windows, as well as synchronize Zoom Levels and display positions in them, you need the Arrange submenu located in the Windows drop-down menu.

Photoshop Navigation. Arrange submenu
Arrange submenu
  1. View multiple documents in split windows – Tile. In accordance with the icon, the windows on the desktop will also be divided.
  2. Standard view of one active document and setting of others hidden in tabs
  3. If it is free in space, the window of the active document will be attached to one of the pages
  4. Tile – display documents in multiple windows
  5. The active document will move from the anchored state to free to move it to the desired position
  6. All open documents will become free in space
  7. All open documents will have the same Zoom Level as the currently active document
  8. All open documents will display the same position as the currently active document
  9. All open documents will be rotated the same as the active document (Rotate View Tool)
  10. All open documents will have the same Zoom Level, position and rotation as the active document
  11. The active document will be displayed in another window – this way you can view it from two different magnification levels

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