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Getting Started with Photoshop

Information on Photoshop basics including: how to open and create a new image, navigating palettes, learning the parts of a layer, how to use guides, and where to go for more help at the University of Michigan.

Rulers and Guides

Rulers and guides are helpful features that aid users in the alignment and placement of objects. Rulers are shown at the top and to the left of your Photoshop canvas to help you measure and align. You may also drag guides from the rulers to add a grid or set of guides to help you place or align objects. The steps below will show you how to set your Rulers and Guide preferences, show rulers, add guides, and hide rulers and guides.

Change Unit / Increment Preferences

  • In the menu, click on Photoshop and select Preference and General. The Preferences pop-up window will appear.

  • Select Units & Rulers from the sidebar in the pop-up window and adjust your ruler to inches, pixels, millimeters, or other unit of measurment you wish to use.

  • Click the OK button when you are finished.


How to Show Document Rulers

  • To show the Rulers in Photoshop, either go to View in the menu and select Rulers, or press CMD+R (Mac) or CTRL+R (Windows) on your keyboard.

  • To hide Rulers in Photoshop, either go to View in the menu and deselect Rulers, or press CMD+R (Mac) or CTRL+R (Windows) on your keyboard.



Creating and Working with Guides

  • Create a Guide: Hover your cursor over either the left or top Ruler. Click on the Ruler and drag it as if you were trying to move it onto your document.  You will see a thin line appear as you drag from the Ruler and this is your Guide. Use the Ruler to help you place the Guide in your desired location. 

  • Move a Guide: Hover your cursor over the Guide and click and drag to move it.

  • Hide / Show Guides: Go to View in the menu and select Show and select Guides to toggle hide and show guides.

  • Delete Guides: Drag the guides back onto the Ruler, or use the Move Tool to select each guide and press the DELETE key.

  • Change Guide Appearance:
    In the menu, click on Photoshop and select Preference and GeneralThe Preferences pop-up window will appear. Select Guides, Grids, and Slices from the sidebar and adjust the colors of your guides as desired.