The way you work with Paint Shop Pro 7 can be customized extensively by setting the preferences available via File>Preferences. In addition, the Toolbar can be customized by adding or removing buttons (explained in detail in Workspace tutorial) for one-click access to all menu functions. How preferences are set will be determined by:

  • personal taste and the way you work
  • the image you are working on at the time
  • the processing power of your system
  • the size, resolution and color depth of your monitor


Customizing the Toolbars

Paint Shop Pro comes with five pre-configured toolbars. They are:

Standard Toolbar - contains buttons for standard operations like Open, Save, Print, Undo, Redo, etc.

Web Toolbar - contains buttons for the Web Image Slicer and Image Mapper, the Gif, JPG and PNG Optimizer and View in Browser.

Photo Toolbar - contains buttons for all the Effects>Enhance Photo menu items and other effects filters that pertain to photo enhancement.

Effects Toolbar - contains buttons for many of the effects you would be most likely to use.

Browser Toolbar - This toolbar is only active when you have the Browser open. It contains buttons for copying, deleting and moving images and a few other commonly used items from the Browser menu.

To activate or deactivate a toolbar, right click on any open toolbar and toggle the toolbars on or off. To access the Customize Toolbar preferences window, right click on a toolbar and choose “Toolbars” from the drop-down list. Highlight the toolbar you wish to customize and click on the “Customize” button.

When you have toolbars open, you can hit “T” on the keyboard to remove the toolbars from your workspace and “T” again to bring them back. This is very handy when you have a smaller monitor and want to reclaim some space on your workspace.

All of the pre-configured toolbars can be customized to the way you work. You can remove buttons from the toolbars and add new buttons.

You have the option to add an icon for almost every function in Paint Shop Pro 7, and the toolbar will hold as many icons as you choose to put on it. However, how many icons you can comfortably and practically fit on the toolbar will depend on individual screen sizes and resolutions. Only the icons which fit into the width of the working Paint Shop Pro window will be visible: the toolbar does not wrap according to the width of the window, nor is there an option to scroll through the toolbar icons beyond the width of the window. Adding more icons to the toolbar than can be accommodated across your preferred window size is therefore of little use.

Gaining more real estate on your Standard toolbar - If you use keyboard shortcuts for common actions such as Save (Ctrl-S), Copy (Ctrl-C), etc., remove those buttons from the Standard toolbar. You might also want to remove the “Toggle” buttons (Toggle Tool Options Window, etc.) since these are also easily accessed through keyboard shortcuts.

To add a button to a toolbar, highlight the appropriate button in the right window above which you want to place your new button. Then highlight the button in the left window of the Customize Toolbar palette and click on the “Add” button as illustrated in the following graphic. You can jump to a particular button by typing the first letter of the name of the button. This shortcut has its limitations, though, since the order of the Available toolbar buttons is not strictly alphabetical. The order listing of the buttons roughly follows the order of the menu items starting with File Menu and ending with Window Menu. To remove a button, highlight the button in the right window and hit the “Remove” button. Once you have all your buttons on the toolbar, you can rearrange them by highlighting a button and hitting the Move up or Move down button.

Do not hit the “Reset” button on this control panel unless you really want to reset your buttons to the default buttons. Once you hit the Reset button, there is no turning back! It’s also a good idea to close the program immediately after you have configured your toolbars. If you were to have a crash before you closed Paint Shop Pro, you would lose all the toolbar settings you made in that session.


General Program Preferences

File>Preferences>General Program Preferences

General Program Preferences is where you set the defaults for many of Paint Shop Pro’s features. How you configure the preferences is generally a matter of personal taste and they way you use the program. If you find that you are frequently changing preferences, you might want to consider placing the General Program Preferences button on your Standard toolbar.

Please Note: I have not included screenshots of the Preferences Dialog Palettes to save download time. You might want to have PSP open and the General Program Preferences tab open as you read the following.

Undo/Redo

How you set these preferences will depend on how you use the program and how many resources you have available on your computer. If you have a low memory machine, you will want to keep the Mbytes of storage space limited to a low figure. You will also want to limit the number of redos available.

Viewing

  • Fit window to image when zooming in or out - This option fits the Paint Shop Pro window to the image without any extra space around the image.
  • New Images Auto Size - When this option is activated, the automatically resize the graphic you are opening to fit into the window. If you open an image that is too large to fit in the Paint Shop Pro window, the program will resize the graphic automatically to fit in the window.
  • After changing size - Fit image to window automatically resizes the image window whenever you resize a graphic. Auto size activated will reduce the image's magnification if you increase the size of the graphic to a size that is more than will fit in the window.

Dialogs and Palettes

Most of these settings are a matter of personal taste, or are affected by the size of your monitor.

Presentation

  • Display large text and icons on palettes - This option will enlarge the size of the type and graphics on your toolbars and palettes. Keep in mind that you will reduce the number of buttons you can have on your toolbar if you choose this option. Choosing this option may also cause options on your tool palette (if you keep it on the left of your workspace) to be inaccessible.
  • Display flat style toolbars - This option will set the menu buttons to display without the bevel effect.
  • Remember last type used in file save-as dialog - This option sets a default file type to the last file type used in a File>Save As process.
  • Display menu icons - When this option is activated, the drop down menu will display the corresponding icon associated with the action. This is a convenient way to figure out which icon available on the Configure Toolbars menu applies to a particular menu item.
  • Enable automatic palette roll-ups - This option will activate the "automatic rollup" action for tool palettes. If you use the keyboard shortcuts for removing the tool palette from the workspace (type an "O"), then you will probably want to disable the automatic rollups.

Color Palette

  • Display colors in RGB - This setting will configure the color palette to display colors in RGB (Red/Green/Blue) format. This is the default setting for the Color Palette
  • Display colors in HSL - This setting will configure the color palette to display colors in HSL (Hue/Saturation/Lightness) format.
  • Use Standard Windows color picker - There are two color pickers available in Paint Shop Pro. The default color picker and the Standard Windows color picker. If you are used to using the Standard Windows color picker from other programs, you might want to activate the Standard Windows color picker.
  • Decimal or Hexadecimal Display - If you are creating web graphics with Paint Shop Pro, choose hexadecimal display since web browsers use hexadecimal format. Paint Shop Pro also displays colors in the color palette in hexadecimal format.
  • Show Rainbow picker/Show document palette - These options apply to how the color picker displays colors when you are in a paletted image (256 colors or less). With the Rainbow picker selected, the available colors panel remains configured as the rainbow color picker, allowing you to choose any available color. Show document palette displays only the number of colors available in the graphic in the available colors panel.

Browser Preferences

  • Thumbnail Size - determines the size the thumbnails will be rendered in the browser.
  • Appearance - The browser color configuration defaults to the standard Windows blue color for the background color when a graphic is highlighted. To change the color to a different color, activate the Use Classic Colors box and then select the color you want to use from the color picker.
  • Display flat style thumbnails - This option displays thumbnails without the bevel effect.
  • Save Browser Files to Disk - If you activate this feature, Paint Shop Pro will save the current browser selection to the folder on your hard drive where you are browsing graphics. This will enable Paint Shop Pro to load the graphics in that folder much faster than if it has to start rendering the graphics all over again. But, there is a trade-off for this. The "jbf" files that are created and saved to your hard drive can take up a lot of your hard drive space and they are never automatically deleted. If you decide to clean up old .jbf files, you will need to manually delete them.
  • Automatic update for thumbnails - This option will slow down the rendering process somewhat but has the advantage of rendering all the graphics in a file, not just the graphics that were rendered the last time you viewed the file.

Miscellaneous

The choices on this tab are determined by how you work. Selecting several of these options can be rather risky so you might want to think twice before activating or deactivating them.

  • Recently Used File List - This option determines how many recent file names will be available for recall when you choose the File menu option.
  • Transparent Paste Color Tolerance - This option sets the tolerance settings applicable when you paste a selection "as a transparent selection". The tolerance setting determines how closely the background color must match the transparent color before the transparency takes effect.
  • Do not ask to empty clipboard on exit - This option will set the program to automatically empty the clipboard upon exit.
  • Force Window Redraw - This option will force Paint Shop Pro to redraw the information in the active window when you move objects in an image. This one is best left unchecked.
  • Show Splash Screen - Deactivating this option will disable the splash screen and it won't load every time you open Paint Shop Pro.
  • Disable pressure support for puck-type pointing devices - This option applies to the pointing devices used on graphic tablets. With this option disabled, your puck-type pointing device's pressure settings will be disabled.

Rulers and Units

The rulers and default resolution options on this tab are again a matter of personal choice. Both the Rulers and Grid are activated from the View Menu.

  • Rulers - The "Rulers" option allows you to set your display units to Pixels, Inches or Centimeters. You can display rulers as "black on white" or as "toolbar colors". Toolbar colors have a gray background.
  • Default resolution - This option can also be changed to inches or centimeters. You can change the resolution by using the arrows, or just type the new value in the box.
  • Grid settings - These settings apply to the "View Grid" option. You can again set the units to pixels, inches or centimeters. You can also set the horizontal and vertical spacing and line color.
  • Guide - The Guide setting applies to setting "snap to" guides in your graphic.

Transparency

Transparency preferences allow you to set the appearance of the transparent background that appears whenever you are working on a transparent layer. The color and size you choose will be reflected whenever you view a transparent graphic or a transparent background in a graphic.

Warnings

The warnings tab allows you to determine whether or not you want to be warned about a particular action.


CMYK Conversion Preferences

File>Preferences>CMYK Conversion Preferences

With CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) conversion set, Paint Shop Pro will replace the RGB (red, green and blue) colors you see on the monitor with CMYK colors for printing . When you select the CMYK Separations option on the Print Page Setup dialog box. you can print a separate page for each CMYK color for use in a prepress shop for high-end printing.

To create a new profile, editing the "default" profile is the easiest method. Since the conversion process is very specific to each individual service bureau and print shop, it is best to consult with your shop before configuring the preferences.

File Format Preferences

File>Preferences>File Format Preferences

Some formats listed in the Paint Shop Pro "Files of Type" drop down list need information from the user so they can be properly displayed. These formats are PCD, PostScript, RAW and WMF.

PCD - PCD (Kodak PhotoCD format) is a format that many photo developers use to deliver photos on a CD. You can set this format to open a photo at a specific size or to ask for the size before loading.

PostScript - Paint Shop Pro can read PostScript files through Level 2 and convert them into raster information. You will lose most of the PostScript settings but your converted graphic will retain any transparency settings. You will probably want to leave the default settings on this tab.

RAW - This tab allows you to set how Paint Shop Pro interprets RAW pixel data. An explanation of RAW file format is beyond the scope of this book. We recommend you research the file format if you come across a graphic in this format.

WMF - WMF (Windows MetaFile) is Microsoft Windows native vector format. Microsoft uses this format for its clipart. When you open a WMF file in Paint Shop Pro, the program reads the header information in the graphic and tells you how large the graphic is. If you leave "Prompt for size and options each time a file is opened" checked (my recommendation) you will be able to enter a new size each time you open a WMF graphic. Since WMF files are generally very large, you will probably want to determine the size at the time you open the graphic. Entering a larger size for a WMF graphic will not effect the quality of the graphic since WMF graphics are vector graphics.

Instant Vector Graphics - Since WMF graphics open in Paint Shop Pro with all vector information intact, they provide an excellent source of pre-configured vector art.


File Format Associations

File>Preferences>File Format Associations

This dialog box allows you to determine which file format associations will be assigned to Paint Shop Pro. You can choose the association by placing a check mark in the box to the left of the file association name. You can choose to "Select All" or "Remove All" associations. It is generally a good idea to remove all associations if you plan on un-installing Paint Shop Pro. Besides assigning an association to Paint Shop Pro, you can also add to the associations assigned to each file format.


File Locations

File>Preferences>File Locations

When you install Paint Shop Pro, the program creates numerous default folders to hold objects such as patterns, textures, brushes, gradients, tubes, frames, shapes and styled lines. With version 7, you can now set up to three locations for the program to search for these objects. But, keep in mind that Paint Shop Pro will load all the objects within the paths enabled. Therefore, if you have thousands of tubes, you will probably not want the program to load all your tubes before you can use the tool. A good system to use, if you have numerous objects, is to enter all the paths where you store your objects, but do not check the Enable this Path box until you need the objects.

Place the File Locations icon on your Standard toolbar for instant access to changing the locations.

The Tubes, Patterns, Textures, Gradients, Brushes, Frames, Shapes and Styled Lines Dialog boxes all have the same option choices with a few minor exceptions.

Enable this Path - When you have this option selected, Paint Shop Pro will look in that path for any of the selected objects.

Use Sub Folders - When you have this option selected, Paint Shop Pro will drill down to sub folders to find objects.

Save to Path - This option pertains to tubes, gradients, brushes, styled lines and shapes. When you have this option selected, any new objects you create for the selected tool will be saved to the designated path. This path defaults to the path set up when the program was installed. If you wish to save your objects to a different folder, you might want to create a new folder under the default folder. That way the original default objects will be retained in the main folder.

Web Browsers

This option allows you to set the web browsers you wish to use when you select the View>Preview in Web Browser menu item.

Undo/Temporary Files

This option allows you to designate where you want to store any temporary files generated by the program. I set my default to my Windows>Temp file since I regularly clear this folder.

Plug-in Filters

Unlike other graphics programs, you do not need to close Paint Shop Pro and reopen to allow the program to load plug-ins from a designated folder. Just point the program to the plug-in folder you want, hit OK and the program will then immediately load all the plug-ins from that folder.

  • Enable Filters - This option must always be selected to use external filters in Paint Shop Pro.
  • Include sub-folders when searching for filters - This option allows you to organize your filters by filter type or filter effects within one main folder.
  • Limit loaded plug-in files to .8? extension - This option should always be checked because these are the only filters that work with Paint Shop Pro at the current time.
  • Enable Plug-in automatic file format identification - This option should always be checked.
  • Folders - Paint Shop Pro allows you to designate three folders to load plug-ins from.

Many of Photoshop's native plug-ins work fine with Paint Shop Pro, so if you own the program, pointing one folder to that location will work to your advantage. If you do point to a Photoshop plug-in folder and none of the plug-ins work, find a file called "plugin.dll" and place a copy of this file in the Paint Shop Pro folder.


Color Management

File>Preferences>Color Management

Color Management under the Preferences only applies to Windows 98 and Windows 2000 operating systems. Activating Color Management will improve color rendition when you display an image on your monitor and print it on your printer. It allows you to preview, within the limitations of your monitor, how the image will look when printed on a specific printer. To activate Color Management:

  • Click in the Enable Color Management box.
  • Select Basic color Management to set how colors will appear on your monitor and printer.
  • Select Proofing if you want to preview how colors will appear on a particular device.
  • Select the applicable device drivers and settings in the drop down boxes. Any installed monitor and printer settings will be the default when you choose this option.
  • Click OK to apply the settings.


Monitor Gamma Preferences

I highly recommend that you leave the Monitor Gamma Preferences at their default settings of 1. If you adjust your Monitor Gamma Preferences, you will end up in producing graphics that look fine to you on your monitor, but will look very different on other monitors.


Autosave Settings

Activating Autosave Settings will set the program to create a backup copy of the image on which you are currently working. You determine how often you want this autosave to happen by entering the number of minutes. If you suffer a system crash when you have autosave enabled, when you restart Paint Shop Pro, the image you were working on will be restored to the state it was in when the last autosave was performed.

If you work with very large graphic files and you don't have a lot of RAM, you might want to turn off Autosave. Autosave is a resource hog and will seriously slow your system down if you don't have enough RAM.