Options Bar in Adobe Photoshop to Control Tool Behavior and More...

Options Bar in Adobe Photoshop

Options bar is directly connected with tools in Adobe Photoshop. It is providing options and instructions for tool behavior. On the right side is workspace switcher, and in the newer versions, there is a magnifying glass icon to display search Photoshop and online sharing options. From my experience, it is an extremely important feature in Photoshop and it deserves a separate post and mention.

Options bar is the first spot where your eyes should look after activating any tool. It is also the first spot to look when the tool is not behaving as expected. When something is wrong with composition/file on my screen and some tool was involved, the first spot where my eyes go is the Layers panel and the second is the Options bar.

The basics of the Options bar

By default Options bar is positioned just below application menus. To display/hide Options bar go to Window > Options. Options bar is context sensitive and it is changing options depend on which tool is selected/active.

On the right side of Options bar, you can launch Photoshop search, switch/reset/save workspace using workspace switcher and share image/creation directly from within Photoshop using share icon.
Options bar with details
Options bar is displaying:
  •  On the left side icon of the selected/active tool.
  • Tool options which are context sensitive and depends on which tool is selected/active.
  • Search, Workspace switch and Share icons on the right side.

Tooltips with explanation

If you are not sure what is doing some of the options then simply hover the mouse over the option to see a pop-up with more info and explanation. In order to see tooltips, you must have enabled Show Tooltips in Preferences > Tools.
Tooltip on mouse hover in the Options bar
Hover mouse over option in the Options bar to see a tooltip with more details about that particular option.

Move Options bar

Options bar can be detached and moved around. To detach and move Options bar click on Gripper bar and drag.
Detach options bar using gripper bar
If you want to detach or reposition Options bar somewhere else on your screen then click on Gripper bar and drag to the side.

To attach Options bar again on its default position click on Gripper bar and drag below menus until a blue line appears then release the mouse button. And by the way, Options bar position will be saved when creating a new workspace.
Attach Options bar to its default position
To attach Options bar to its default position click on Gripper bar and drag below menus. Release the mouse button when the blue line appears on your screen.

Reset tool(s) from the Options bar

One of the troubleshooting tool options is available from the Options bar. When some of the tools is not behaving as expected you can reset tool(s) in Photoshop using right click on the icon at the beginning of Options bar then choose Reset Tool / Reset All Tools.
Reset tool from the Options bar
To reset active tool use right mouse click over active tool icon then choose Reset Tool. To reset all tools to defaults choose Reset All Tools.

Tool presets from the Options bar

Another useful option which is available from the Options bar is the ability to select/create a tool preset. For more info please read my blog post Save time with tool presets in Photoshop.
Tool presets from the Options bar in Photoshop
Tool presets are also available from the Options bar. You can select saved preset to use it with a current tool or to activate any tool with pre-defined settings. Another option is to save settings from the Options bar as a new tool preset.

Product used in this tutorial:
Adobe Photoshop CC 2018

Use Photoshop tools


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