How to Organize Photoshop Palettes for Maximum Efficiency

Before you even start any work on Photoshop, be it a large-scale project or a simple edit, it is very important for you to organize the tools at your disposal in the most efficient way possible. Thankfully, Photoshop is not only easily customizable, but its customization options are specifically tailored for getting the tools you want to use into varied presentations, all of which are convenient in one way or another.

Organize Photoshop Palettes Main

This is closely related to the different workspaces you can create in Photoshop, which we discussed in another entry. But with palettes being where the vast majority of Photoshop users spend most of their time, let’s take a better look at how to properly organize them before you start working on your image editing.

Note: We will work with a specific set of palettes in this entry, but you can organize any Photoshop palettes this way.

Okay, let’s get started.

Let’s say you work a lot with the Layers and Channels palettes, which along with the Paths palette form a Group. If you want to have any one of the palettes from this group closer to the image you are working with, simply click on its name and drag it over.

Layers Group Fixed

Layers Palette Moved

To place it back, drag it back into the group and hover the cursor just over the tabs bar until you see it switch to light blue. Then, release the palette and it will be back in the group.

Layers Palette Drag Back

In similar fashion, you can drag the entire group out of the left panel. Do so by clicking on the empty grey space beside the palette name tabs and dragging the group anywhere you want.

Palette Group Moved Out

Now let’s say you want these three palettes visible at all times near your image. You could drag them over there, but if you just leave them like that, the result would look a bit messy.

Palettes Messy

Instead, you can drag each palette separately and then stack them one on top of another, providing them with a better, more unified and organized appearance. To do this, drag any of the palettes underneath another one until you see a faint blue line, then release the cursor and the palettes will be stacked together.

Palletes Organized Horizontally

Now, imagine you want these palettes close to your image but that your image takes quite a bit of space on your screen, so you can’t afford to have these palettes taking precious real estate on your computer screen.

What you can do here is create mini-palettes or a mini group.

If you take a look at the right panel of Photoshop, you’ll notice two small ‘tabs’ sticking out at the left side of that panel.

Photoshop Mini Palettes

You can actually drag any of your palettes and pin it to that panel in the same way. Simply drag the palette to that side until a blue line appears at the top (not at the side) of the palette.

Photoshop Mini Palette Blue Line

Then release the palette and it will now be pinned to the right panel, and you only need to click on it to expand it.

Photoshop Mini Palette Attached

Photoshop Mini Palette Expanded

You can do the same for each of your palettes and have them all stacked in their small forms for easy access. Additionally, you can drag any of these ‘into’ another until you see a blue line and then drop it to form a mini palette group.

Photoshop Mini Palettes Stacked   Photoshop Mini Palettes Group

When grouped like this, whenever you click on any of the palettes, Photoshop will show you the one you clicked on, as well as the entire group.

Photoshop Mini Palettes Group Expanded

There you go. Now you know how to get the most out of your palettes every time you use Photoshop. Organize them properly and you will save a lot of time.

Last updated on 03 February, 2022

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