How to use the Photoshop Home Screen
the Complete Guide (2020)
Table of Contents
“Pick up where you left off, or start fresh.”
Inviting words from Photoshop’s home screen. Wouldn’t you agree?
So, what exactly is the Photoshop home screen? Well, that’s precisely what you’re going to learn about in this complete “Photoshop Home Screen” Guide.
Not only will you learn what the home screen is, but you’ll also learn how to use it and how to turn it off.
Oh, and if you open Photoshop and can’t see the home screen (as shown above), I’ll help you troubleshoot… and get it turned on. Just post your question (s) in the comments below.
One more thing, as a pro photographer (and graphic designer), I’m also going to share some pro tips on how I use the home screen to streamline my workflow.
What Is The Photoshop Home Screen?
In a nutshell…
…the Photoshop home screen is an interface that provides access to recent files, links to resources, and convenient access to opening and creating new documents.
The home screen provides the same options found within the Photoshop menus: create new documents, open files, etc..
However, it’s a more visual interface vs. a drop-down menu.
I’m not sure about you, but I’m a more visual person… hence the reason why we use Photoshop. Isn’t it?
So, I find the home screen to be visually pleasing.
Don’t worry, there are a lot more benefits to using the home screen, and we’ll cover them all in this guide.
Oh, and I find that the Photoshop home screen helps me streamline my workflow too. At the end of this guide, I’ll provide a pro tip for streamlining your workflow with the use of the Photoshop home screen.
“Stream”-line your workflow with the Photoshop home screen.
In all, the Photoshop home screen will list the 20 most recent files you worked on.
When you open a new file (that’s not on the list), the oldest file (number 20) will be removed. Your new file will then be at the top of the list since it’s the, well, most recently opened file.
Now, if you’re coming from an older version of Photoshop to the latest Photoshop CC 2019 (or newer) version, then this may be a bit confusing.
Not because of what’s showing but what is not showing.
In the “good ole days,” when you started Photoshop, the interface would present you with a working interface… along with all the tools and panels from your workspace.
Then, you would open new files, create new documents, etc.. via the menu options.
Personally, I’d recommend giving the Photoshop home screen a run for its money before you decide to turn it off.
Besides, you may end up prefer using it vs. the menus. Only time will tell.
For now, let’s learn how to turn the Photoshop home screen on or off. This way, if you change your mind, one way or the other, you’ll know what to do.
First: How To Turn Off the Photoshop Home Screen?
Not digging the Photoshop home screen? It’s easy to turn off. Let’s find out how…
Go to: Preferences > General.
Locate “Disable Home Screen” and click on the box to the left to activate it.
To finish disabling the home screen… restart Photoshop.
Mac: Photoshop > Preferences PC: Edit > Preferences
How To Turn On The Home Screen (if it’s not showing)
By default, the Photoshop home screen is turned on. However, if you’re updating from an older version of Photoshop, then it may be turned off.
Or maybe you accidentally turned it off and didn’t realize it.
No worries. It’s easy to turn back on.You’ll need to go to Preferences > General. Locate the following: “Disable the Home Screen.” Does it have a checkmark next to it (most likely)? If so, click on it and restart Photoshop.
You should now see the home screen.
Not Seeing The “Disable” Home Screen Option?
Are you not seeing the “Disable the Home Screen” option in preferences?
If so, you may be using a Photoshop version that doesn’t include this feature.
In that case, if you want to use it, you only have one choice… upgrade Photoshop to the most recent version.
F.Y.I., the Photoshop home screen was first available in Photoshop 2015. And the home screen has had a couple of revisions to the layout since then.
So, if you have an older version than Photoshop 2015, you won’t have an option to use it.
Photoshop Home Screen… links. Includes: Home, Learn + LR Photos
What Are the Home Screen Menu Links?
Next, we’re going to take a look at the 3 main Photoshop home screen links.
This includes the “Home,” “Learn,” and “LR Photos” links. These links can be found in the top/left of the Photoshop home screen.
First, let’s check out “Home.”
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you click on “Learn” or “LR Photos,” your interface will update to new info/resources.
To get back to the default interface, click on “Home.”
Boom! Your “recent” files are back.
Next, we have a “Learn” link. Click on it. What do you see?
Quick links to Tutorials on the web! Easy peasy.
The video tutorials will open up in your default browser. Looking for a more structured environment for using Photoshop?
Oh, and you may want to check out my Youtube channel too. Please, and thank you!
Finally, we have “LR Photos.” Click on it. What do you see? Nothing or something?
What you see will depend on whether or not you use Lightroom CC (not the classic version).
If not, then you probably see nothing.
If you do, then, you probably see a bunch of photos… like in my interface (image above).
How is this happening? Well, your Lightroom photos are being synced with Photoshop by default.
As long as you’re logged into your Adobe Creative Cloud account (via the app) then
Photoshop will load the: “Recently Taken” and “Albums.”
This is a quick way of accessing your files, that you uploaded to the Adobe cloud, and opening them up in Photoshop.
Click on one of the thumbnails in the “Recently Taken” panel and then click on the “Import Selected” button (bottom right). Photoshop will then download the file from your cloud account and open it in Photoshop.
You can also select multiple files one at a time.
Or, to select multiple files in order, click on the first image, hold down your shift key and click on the
last file. Both photos you clicked on, and all images in between will be selected.
Photoshop will then download and import all files selected into your workspace.
If you click on a thumbnail from the “Albums,” then the files shown will be replaced with the photos within that album. They’re also sorted by date.
Did you work with some new photos in Lightroom CC but don’t see them in the “LR Photos” interface?
Click on “Refresh,” in the upper right, to re-sync Photoshop and Lightroom.
Oh, and also make sure the files in LR CC were uploaded to the cloud.
Click the “Create New” button to, well, create a new document.
Add a name and choose your document type.
72dpi for online use and 300dpi for print.
How to Create a New Document From the Home Screen
Once again, the Photoshop home screen provides quick and easy access to creating new documents.
Just click on the “Create New” button to the left of the interface.
Now, you’ll be presented with a “New Document” window. But, did you know there are 2 different types of “New Document” windows?
Yep, check them out…
Which one do you see? Wondering what the difference is between the two? Here’s a quick overview of the two…
The New Document window comes in 2 flavors: Legacy and New.
- The “legacy” window was the default interface for Photoshop users for years.
- Then came along a new, well, “New Document” window with more options… oh, and as our home screen, it’s more visual.
How to create a new document with the “legacy” window…
Name – Give your document a name.
Document type – lot’s to choose from.
If you know the exact size needed, then just type in those dimensions via the width and height fields. Or choose from one of the pre-made template options.
Don’t forget to set your resolution. 72 for web documents or 300 for print. Plus, you may want to set the size based on pixels, inches, etc..
To change this option, click on the drop-down to the right of the Width & Height.
Color Mode? Unless you’re creating docs for printing on a printing press, then the default of RGB Color is fine for now. Oh, and 8 bit is good too.
Advanced. Until you become familiar with these options (and why you may need to change them), keep them set at the defaults.
If you want, you could actually save the setup, for your new document, as a preset. Perfect if you plan on using the same settings for future projects. Click on “Save Preset,” name it and click OK.
Now, click on “OK.” Your home screen disappears and your new document is opened in the Photoshop workspace.
How to create a new document with the “new” window…
Well, the options are pretty much the same as the legacy window. However, it’s more visual.
Just like with legacy, you can select from pre-made templates (document types), save presets, and manually input the dimensions of your new document.
Interested in learning more about creating New Documents?
Well, I have you covered with our “How To Create New Documents | the Complete Guide.”
Check it out for more detailed information on creating new documents.
To open an existing image or file, click on the “open” button.
This is the power of the home screen. At least for me. I often work on several projects and may go back and forth between them.
The Photoshop home screen makes it quick and easy to find a previous project, open and continue working on.
Did you know there are 7 different ways to open images in Photoshop? To learn about the other 5, click here.
How To Open Images From the Home Screen
The Photoshop home screen provides a quick and easy way to open images. 2, in fact.
On the left side of the home screen, you’ll find a button that says, “Open.” Click on it.
From there, your operating system will open a window that will allow you to navigate to the file you wish to open.
Find it and click “open” (bottom right of your new window).
Another way to open an image, from the home screen, is to simply click on a thumbnail listed in the “Recent” section.
The “recent” section will show the previous 20 files opened.
By default, the thumbnail view is selected (left icon). The other icon (right) will show the list view. Click on either icon for your preferred view.
“Recent” file shows the filename and how long ago it was last opened. If you hover over the thumbnail, it will show the folder location.
Sort your recent files by your preference.
How To Filter Your Home Screen For Specific Files
The middle of the Photoshop home screen interface consists of all your “recent” files.
The view of these files comes in 2 flavors: Thumbnails and List.
Thumbnails are my preferred method since its easier to determine the exact file I want… by seeing it vs. reading a file name.
Another advantage of the “thumbnail” vs. the “list” is the information provided below each thumbnail. You’ll find both the file name and how long ago you accessed the file.
The list also provides this information and the actual file size. However, for me, without the thumbnail, I may end up choosing the wrong file.
I’m often working on different versions of a file and will name the files accordingly: 1st Edition, 2nd Edition, etc.
It’s easier to determine which version of the file I wish to work on by looking at it vs. just the file name.
That’s me, though. You’ll have to decide what works best for you.
There’s also an option to organize your “Recent” files based on the “Sort” options you select. The default option is to sort your files by “Last Opened.”
This simply means your thumbnails (or the list) will be sorted by the most recent file you worked on through the oldest file.
You can change it from oldest to newest by clicking on the (teeny tiny) arrow to the right of the menu.
You can also sort your files by the Name, Size, and Kind (a type of file).
Sort by Filter
If you wish to narrow down your Recent files to just a few, then use the “Filter” option (to the right).
This doesn’t really work as I thought it would. It’s kind of limited since we only have the 20 most recent files opened in the list.
In essence, you’re filtering those 20 files down to a specific few. How this works for you will depend on how you name your files. If I type in a particular number, like number 3…
Sort by file name or “search” for a specific file.
…then, as you can see (above), there are several files with the #3 included in the name.
If I know the exact file name (or close to it), like 366, then it will return only 1 photo (rings and fish crackers).
Sort your recent files by your preference.
Another option for filtering can be done via the Search option. In the top right of the interface, you’ll find a magnifying glass. Click on it.
Now, I’m going to type in the same number as before, 3.
The same 4 “Recently Opened” files are listed as before. However, we now have a new panel of images below them titled: Adobe Stock.
Conveniently, Adobe Stock files are listed based on your “search.”
Check them out. Most of the images have the number “3” in the photos.
So, Adobe has conveniently added photos (from their stock agency) to your home screen in the hopes that you will find a picture you can use for your project.
Ok, this time, I’m going to type in the word “landscape” and search for photos with that keyword.
Now, I have no recently opened files listed. However, I now have a photo from my Lightroom CC cloud account listed at the top.
Plus, below that are two articles on using Photoshop. What’s interesting about these articles is they are old (despite the dates on the home screen). Very old.
The first one is from 2013 and the second 2015 (as noted from the articles when you navigate to them).
A lot has changed since then. So, not sure how beneficial those articles are.
Then, just like before, we have a list of photos from Adobe Stock… about landscapes (which is cut out in the image).
Use the “Home” icon to go back to the Photoshop Home Screen… without the need to close your current project.
Pro Tips For Using the Home Screen
Here is one of my favorite features of using the home screen.
Let’s start by opening a photo, from the home screen, by clicking on a thumbnail. Now, let’s say your working on the image: editing, adding some text, etc..
But, now you need another photo to add to your design. You could go up to your menu (like you did in the past), select open and open your file that way. Or use the keyboard shortcut command or control + “O.”
There’s actually a better way. In my opinion. If you know that the photo you need is one of the twenty files on your home screen, you can actually go back to it… without closing your existing document.
In the top left of your Photoshop workspace, you’ll find a “house” icon (see image to the left). Click on it.
Boom! You’re back at your home screen. How cool is that! I love it.
Quick and easy. Click on the photo you need, and it will open in a new tab next to your first file.
Congrats! You’ve finished everything you need to know about the Photoshop home screen. But, there’s still a lot to learn (about Photoshop) on the road ahead!
Now that you know how to use the Photoshop home screen, I just want to list the top 5 benefits of using it quickly…
- Convenient and quick access to recently opened files
- Linked to your Adobe cloud account for easy access to files edited in Lightroom
- Synced to the Adobe Stock agency for easily finding new files for your current project
- Conveniently, switch back-and-forth between the Photoshop interface and the home screen
- Visually see the most recent files worked on
Can you think of any more benefits? If so, please let me know in the comments below.