Customize the workspace

To create a custom workspace, move and manipulate panels (called palettes in Photoshop and in Adobe Creative Suite 2 components).


You can save custom workspaces and switch among them.


In Photoshop, you can change the font size of the text in the options bar, palettes, and tool tips. Choose a size from the UI Font Size menu in General preferences.


Note: For a video on customizing the workspace in Illustrator, see For a video on customizing the workspace in InDesign, see

Dock and Undock Panels:

A dock is a collection of panels or panel groups displayed together, generally in a vertical orientation. You dock and undock panels by moving them into and out of a dock.

Note: Docking is not the same as stacking. A stack is a collection of free-floating panels or panel groups, joined top to bottom.
  • To dock a panel, drag it by its tab into the dock, at the top, bottom, or in between other panels.
  • To dock a panel group, drag it by its title bar (the solid empty bar above the tabs) into the dock.
  • To remove a panel or panel group, drag it out of the dock by its tab or title bar. You can drag it into another dock or make it free-floating.


Move Panels

As you move panels, you see blue highlighted drop zones, areas where you can move the panel. For example, you can move a panel up or down in a dock by dragging it to the narrow blue drop zone above or below another panel. If you drag to an area that is not a drop zone, the panel floats freely in the workspace.

  • To move a panel, drag it by its tab.
  • To move a panel group or a stack of free-floating panels, drag the title bar.


  • NOTE:

    Press Ctrl (Windows) or Control (Mac OS) while moving a panel to prevent it from docking.

Add and remove docks and panels

If you remove all panels from a dock, the dock disappears. You can create new docks by moving panels to drop zones next to existing docks or at the edges of the workspace.
  • To remove a panel, click its close icon (the X at the upper-right corner of the tab), or deselect it from the Window menu.

  • To add a panel, select it from the Window menu and dock it wherever you wish.

Manipulate panel groups

  • To move a panel into a group, drag the panel’s tab to the highlighted drop zone at the top of the group.
    Adding a panel to a panel group

  • To rearrange panels in a group, drag a panel’s tab to a new location in the group.
  • To remove a panel from a group so that it floats freely, drag the panel by its tab outside the group.
  • To make a panel appear at the front of its group, click its tab.
  • To move grouped panels together, drag their title bar (above the tabs).

Stack free-floating panels

When you drag a panel out of its dock but not into a drop zone, the panel floats freely, allowing you to position it anywhere in the workspace. Panels may also float in the workspace when first selected from the Window menu. You can stack free-floating panels or panel groups together so that they move as a unit when you drag the topmost title bar. (Panels that are part of a dock cannot be stacked or moved as a unit in this way.)

Free-floating stacked panels

  • To stack free-floating panels, drag a panel by its tab to the drop zone at the bottom of another panel.
  • To change the stacking order, drag a panel up or down by its tab.
    Note: Be sure to release the tab over the narrow drop zone between panels, rather than the broad drop zone in a title bar.
  • To remove a panel or panel group from the stack, so that it floats by itself, drag it out by its tab or title bar.

Resize or minimize panels

  • To resize a panel, drag any side of the panel or drag the size box at its lower-right corner. Some panels, such as the Color panel in Photoshop, cannot be resized by dragging.
  • To change the width of all the panels in a dock, drag the gripper at the top left of the dock.
  • To minimize a panel, panel group, or stack of panels, click the Minimize button in its title bar.
  • You can open a panel menu even when the panel is minimized.
    Minimize button

Manipulate panels collapsed to icons

Collapse panels to icons to reduce clutter on the workspace. (In some cases, panels are collapsed to icons in the default workspace.) Click a panel icon to expand the panel. You can expand only one panel or panel group at a time.


  • To collapse or expand all panels in a dock, click the double arrow at the top of the dock.
  • To resize panel icons so that you see only the icons (and not the labels), drag the gripper at the top of the dock toward the icons until the text disappears. (To display the icon text again, drag the gripper away from the panels.)
  • To expand a single panel icon, click it.
  • To collapse an expanded panel back to its icon, click its tab, its icon, or the double arrow in the panel’s title bar.
  • If you select Auto-Collapse Icon Panels from the Interface or User Interface Options preferences, an expanded panel icon will collapse automatically when you click away from it.
  • To add a panel or panel group to an icon dock, drag it in by its tab or title bar. (Panels are automatically collapsed to icons when added to an icon dock.)
  • To move a panel icon (or panel icon group), drag the bar that appears above the icon. You can drag panel icons up and down in the dock, into other docks (where they appear in the panel style of that dock), or outside the dock (where they appear as free-floating, expanded panels).