The workspace for Paint Shop Pro is the area of the window where you create and edit your graphics. When you open Paint Shop Pro, the workspace will be arranged according to how it was arranged when you last closed it. How you arrange your workspace will depend on the size of your monitor and how you like to work. The following graphic illustrates a typical workspace setup.

Paint Shop Pro 7 has a new feature wherein you can save a workspace configuration and the load that configuration. If you have a graphic open when you save the workspace, the program will attempt to open the graphic when it opens the workspace. To save a workspace go to File>Workspace>Save. You will open a work space from File>Workspace>Open or by choosing the workspace showing at the bottom of the window.

Now, for a tour of the workspace.

Tool Palette

The Tool Palette is the heart of Paint Shop Pro. All your tools are accessed through the Tool Palette. This palette can be docked anywhere on the screen. The graphic above illustrates the Palette in a horizontal orientation. Where you dock this palette will depend primarily on the size of your monitor and how you work. If you want to move the palette, just grab it by the two vertical lines on the left (or top depending on orientation) of the palette and drag it to its new location.

If you press "P" you will toggle the Tool Palette on and off. This can be very convenient when you are working on a small monitor. You can also click on the Tool Palette toggle icon on the Toolbar to toggle the Tool Palette on and off.


The Paint Shop Pro's standard toolbar (see graphic above) comes pre-configured with buttons that access frequently used commands in the menus. As you work with Paint Shop Pro and you find that you are frequently using a particular command, you will probably want to add that button to the Toolbar. The program also includes four other pre-configured toolbars - Web Toolbar, Photo Toolbar, Effects Toolbar and Browser toolbar. I have found that the Standard Toolbar has more than enough room to hold all the buttons I need. The only other toolbar I use is the Photo Toolbar which I activate when I am working on photos. If you have the available real-estate on your screen (i.e. you have a very large monitor), you might want to have all the toolbars active on your workspace. See Customizing Paint Shop Pro for a tutorial on adding buttons to the toolbars.

Tool Options Palette

When you click on a tool button on the Tool Palette, the appropriate Tool Options Palette will be displayed. The Tool Options palette can the toggled on and off by pressing "O" (the letter O, not a zero) or by hitting the Tab key. You can also set the Tool Options palette to "roll up" when not in use. The Tool Selection Button allows you to quickly switch to a a different tool from the Tool Options Palette. With this feature, if you are short on workspace, you can turn off the Tool Palette and choose your next tool from the currently open Tool Options palette.

Some people find the "rollup" feature of the various palettes to be very irritating. Since you can toggle the palettes on or off by hitting the tab key or the individual letter assigned to toggle on and off for each palette, you might want to leave the palettes with rollup set to off.

Some tools have two tabs on the Tool Options Palette and some have three. The first tab on the Tool Options palette generally displays the current settings for the selected tool. The second tab will contain options particular to the tool selected. These options will be explained fully in the chapters for each individual tool.

The third palette exists on palettes for tools that contain cursors or tools that use Pressure Sensitive Tablets.


The cursors options on this palette are applicable to most of the tools on the Tool Palette. If you can set the cursors, this tab will be available on the palette. Setting the "Show brush outlines" option is very handy when you are using most of your tools. Setting the Use precise cursors" option is also handy if you are working on a graphic where you need to know where dead-center is. The following illustrates the Paint Brush tool with precise cursors set and show brush outline set on with a brush size set to 50.

Pressure Sensitive Tablet

If you are using a drawing tablet, you can set the options you want available on this palette. Your options are opacity, color and width. When you have any of these options selected, your tablet will vary the option according to how much pressure you apply to the drawing pen.

Layer Palette

The Layer palette can be toggled on or off by hitting the letter "L" on the keyboard. It can also be toggled on or off by pressing the Tab key. The Layer palette also contains the "rollup" feature explained in the Tools Option palette. The Layer Palette will be covered extensively in my Layers tutorial.

Menu Bar

The Menu Bar displays all the menus available in Paint Shop Pro. You can display the options for the menu bar by pressing the Alt key and the underlined letter of the Menu choice (generally the first letter). When your menu is displayed, you can choose a menu item clicking on it, by typing the underlined letter of the menu choice, or by pressing the up or down arrow to move to your menu choice. If you press the letter for your menu choice, your choice will immediately become active. If you use the arrow keys, you will need to hit the Enter key to activate your choice.

Color Palette

By default, the Color Palette is docked on the top right hand side of the Paint Shop Pro workspace. Like all other palettes, it can be hidden by using the Views>Toolbars option, used as a free-floating palette, or moved and snapped to another location. You can also toggle the palette on and off by typing the letter "C". The Color Palette in Paint Shop Pro 7 has changed considerably from all other versions of Paint Shop Pro and is covered in a separate tutorial.

Status Bar

The Status Bar is located at the bottom of the workspace. Cursor and Selection Coordinates The left corner on the status bar represents the Cursor and Selection coordinates. When you are on an active image and hover the cursor over the image, the coordinates showing the cursor location will be active. If you make a selection on an image, the coordinates change to include the size of the selection. The following graphic illustrates a 100x100 selection starting at 50,50.

Image Size and Memory Information The right corner on the status bar represents the currently open image information. You will see the image size, color depth and file size.

Active Image

When you open an image or create a new image, the program places it in an image window. You can drag the window around the workspace by clicking on the header bar. You can maximize the image window by clicking on the Maximize button on the header bar. This will cause the entire workspace to be filled with a cross-hatch pattern with your image centered in the window. This can be very useful when you are working on a series of images open on your workspace, but you want to concentrate on one image without all the clutter. When an image is larger than the workspace (i.e. you are working on an image zoomed to a size larger than the workspace), you can move around the image by dragging the scroll bars that will appear.