New and Improved Preset Panels in Photoshop 2020

New and Improved Presets Panels in Photoshop 2020

One of the new/improved features in Photoshop 2020 is the ability to organize presets: gradients, patterns, and shapes using newly added panels. There is also an update to existing swatches and styles panels. This is a huge upgrade and one of the most asked features because it makes life much easier for anyone who is using presets (who doesn't?). Besides many new contemporary presets you can organize presets into groups and nested groups which can be renamed and moved around. Saving, loading, exporting, renaming presets and drag and drop to reorder are some of the key features. In short, it is much easier and convenient to create, manage and use presets starting with Photoshop 2020.

In this post, I will introduce to you new and upgraded preset panels and explain how to use the advantage of this new feature in Photoshop 2020.

What is the advantage and how to use new/upgraded preset panels

As you already know from your personal experience, everything that is not organized is difficult to manage and use. Things are getting worse and more difficult as several non organized items are growing. Presets like swatches, gradients, styles, shapes, and patterns are one of the most useful and most used features in Photoshop. I do not know anyone who does not have created custom or downloaded presets from the internet. The only problem in the past was organization because there wasn't an efficient way to manage and organize mentioned presets. We have a Preset manager to manage presets but that was/is far from an efficient and convenient way in the year 2020.

One of the key benefits is the ability to group preset in logical, convenient or task/project related order. Groups also allow you to rename, move and nest them. Example of nested groups:

  • Clients group with the name of the client as a sub or nested group. 
  • Design group with a flyer and business card as nested groups.

Another advantage or benefit available to you is drag and drop feature to use or apply preset. You can drag preset onto a layer in the Layers panel or directly onto canvas. The content of the selected layer will determine how to preset will be applied. For example:

  • Find the shape which you want to use in your project in the Shapes panel then drag it onto canvas. Photoshop will create a new shape layer in the layers panel.
  • Drag gradient from Gradients panel with Type layer selected. Photoshop will add a Gradient Overlay layer effect to your text. If you drag gradient onto the canvas with the pixel-based layer selected Photoshop will create a Gradient Fill layer in the Layers panel.
Drag copyright shape from Shapes panel onto canvas in Photoshop
Animation is showing how to drag copyright shape onto canvas from new Shapes panel in Photoshop 2020 

The organization is easy because you can create, rename and delete groups at any time you want. Dragging and dropping to rearrange and move presets is another cool feature not to be missed.
Drag shape into another group in Shapes panel
Drag and drop shapes (preset in any presets panel) to rearrange, move or reposition them.

Exporting presets is option which is available from two spots. Select presets or group which you want to export then go to panel menu > Export Selected (Swatches, Shapes....). Alternatively you can use right-click or context menu.

Creating new presets and groups is easy and available at the bottom of every presets panel. Click on the folder icon to create a group or click on the square with a plus sign inside (+) to create new preset. The same options are available and from the panel menu.

Renaming is available using the right-click or context menu. Another way is to use a panel menu: select preset or group then go to the panel menu > Rename Group/Preset.
Rename shapes in Shapes panel using right click or context menu
One way to rename preset, presets or preset group is using right-click or context menu.

Importing presets is another useful option available from panel menu > Import (Swatches, Shapes....). Another way is using right-click or context menu > Import (Swatches, Shapes....)

Recently used presets can be displayed at the top of panel. To show/hide recents use panel menu > Show Recents....

Displaying options are available from the panel menu. There are options to display presets as text, tiny/small thumbnails, large thumbnails, small and large lists.
displaying options from preset panel menu
Displaying options and many commands are available from panel menu drop-down list.

If you want to restore default presets use panel menu > Restore Default (Swatches, Shapes....) or right click or context menu > Restore Default (Swatches, Shapes....)

To delete preset, presets or preset group
you must select it first then use either right-click > Delete (Swatches, Shapes....)  or click on trash can icon at the bottom of panel.

What about legacy presets? They are there, do not worry. You can find legacy presets from panel menu > Legacy Presets.

Product used in this tutorial:
Adobe Photoshop 2020 (version 21.0.1)

Updates, New Features, and Hidden Gems in Photoshop 2020 (v21)


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