An often overlooked aspect of most Creative Cloud apps is their ability to save your program layout and this functionality is fairly common across most of the main programs such as Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Premiere and After Effects. Adobe call these workspaces and they can be extremely useful for rapidly loading specific panel sets or just carrying out general tidying up.

The workspace functionality can vary slightly across the different programs and how you use it will also differ.  For example in Photoshop I tend to have a prefered workspace for most things I do, where as in InDesign I switch between a few depending on the type of document I am creating.  Meanwhile over in Premiere I would typically switch from one workspace to another as I progress through through job, starting off in “Assembly”, then moving mainly into “Editing” whilst switching in and out of “Effects” and “Colour” as needed.

Workspaces can be found at the top of the window menu in each of the applications, and can normally be reached from a drop down box at the top right of the application as well.  The options you see will depend on which program you are in and the screenshot below shows you the workspace options in the Window menu for Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator.

Workspace menu options for the Adobe CC design tools
Workspace menu options for the Adobe CC design tools

To create your own custom workspace simple layout the panels in the position you prefer using them and then from the menu select the “New Workspace” option, give your workspace a name and hit save. Make sure you are then on the new workspace, ie: has it got a tick next to it?  If ever things get messed up now you can simply go to the menu and hit reset workspace. Everything flies back to the right position now.

In the Photoshop workspace menu you will notice an option to “lock workspace”. This is especially useful for those working on touch screen devices, where it can be easy to accidentally move a workspace without intending to. In this instance the lock workspace option prevents you from moving the panels around, and to move them you will need to disable this option.

On the InDesign menu you will notice an option for show full menus.  This is because workspaces in InDesign can also save menu customisation, which means items might be hidden in the workspace. If you click this it will show all menu items (including hidden items) for the workspace until you reset the workspace.  (Useful tip: Another option to show hidden menu items is to Ctrl / Cmd click on a menu.)  (Another useful tip, try holding Ctrl + Shift + Alt while clicking a menu in InDesign, it sorts them alphabetically).

On the Illustrator menu you will see an option for “Manage Workspaces” which gives you nice popup dialog box from which you can delete workspaces quickly. If you need to clean out a few this can be quicker than doing it one at a time.

When it comes to the video editing tools I tend to use workspaces in a different way altogether.  With the design tools I typically stay on one workspace throughout the job. I may use different workspaces for different jobs (eg: print magazine v interactive digital flyer) but generally once I start a job I don’t really change workspaces.  With the video tools, Premiere and After Effects, it’s the exact opposite and I would typically use numerous workspace within each job.  Within these programs the panels tend to be used in a different way, and rather than having numerous panels docked down one side and your main document / canvas / artboard in the middle, the entire desktop is made up of numerous different panels all spread out in a tiled fashion.  As such switching between say Assembly and Editing will totally change the layout of the whole application desktop and give you access to all the relevant panels for that particular task quickly and easily. This tends to be a more efficient way of working.

Switching between the Assembly, Editing and Effects workspaces in Premiere
Switching between the Assembly, Editing and Effects workspaces in Premiere

No matter which tool you are working with, Adobe will have provided a number of preset workspaces to get you started. Their names will generally tell you what they do, so the “Interactive for PDF” workspace in InDesign for example, will give you access to the panels needed to add interactive functionality.

All the major Creative Cloud apps are extremely complex and feature far too many functions to display at once. Workspaces give you complete control over what is displayed and when, allowing you to see only the panels you need right now and as a result making you more efficient. Workspaces are just one of the many features we cover on our various Adobe Creative Cloud training courses

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