photoshop contextual taskbar tips photoshop contextual taskbar tips

10 Tips to Master the Photoshop Contextual Taskbar

The contextual taskbar in Photoshop 2024 is a powerful tool to boost your editing efficiency. Here are 10 tips to unlock its full potential.

The contextual taskbar in Photoshop 2024 is a powerful tool to boost your editing efficiency. Here are 10 tips to unlock its full potential.

But before we dive in, here is a brief intro of this new feature:

What is Contextual Taskbar?

The contextual taskbar, introduced in Photoshop 2023 and still present in the latest version (2024), is a dynamic toolbar designed to improve your editing efficiency by offering context-aware tools and adjustments.

By default, it appears as a floating bar at the bottom centre of your document window.

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Embrace the Dynamic Nature

The beauty lies in the changing options. Don’t fight it! Learn the logic – text tools bring up text adjustments, brushes get brush settings. This reduces menu diving and keeps your focus on the image.

Pin it When Needed

Working on repetitive tasks? Pin the taskbar in place (three-dot menu > Pin bar position) for consistent access to the same tools. Unpin it (same menu) when you need the context to switch.

Master Keyboard Shortcuts

Still love shortcuts? The contextual bar reflects your keyboard shortcut selections. Use familiar shortcuts (like “B” for brush) and see the relevant settings pop up for quick adjustments.

Hidden Gems in the Menu

Don’t underestimate the power of the three-dot menu. It provides access to hidden functions within the current context. Explore it for options you might not readily see on the surface.

Fast Access to Layer Properties

Working with layers? The contextual bar becomes a mini-control panel. Need to change blending modes, opacity, or layer styles? It’s all readily available, saving you trips to the Layers panel.

Selection Magic

The taskbar understands selections! Working on selections? The bar offers tools for refining selections (like feathering or contracting) or quick actions like “Fill Selection” or “Add Layer Mask,” all within easy reach.

Tool-Specific Tweaks

The magic extends beyond basic tools. Filter enthusiasts rejoice! The contextual bar provides filter-specific adjustments when a filter is applied, allowing for on-the-fly fine-tuning.

Develop the Contextual Habit

Train yourself to look at the taskbar for relevant options. Over time, it becomes second nature, reducing reliance on menus and toolbars, keeping your workflow focused on the image.

Experiment with Different Workflows

The contextual bar adapts to your actions. Try using different tools and see how the bar adjusts. This exploration can help you discover new editing workflows that fit your style.

Remember, it’s a Tool, Not a Master

While powerful, the contextual bar shouldn’t dictate your workflow. If you prefer a specific panel or menu, use it! The beauty lies in having options and the flexibility to choose what works best for you.

By mastering the contextual taskbar, you can significantly enhance your Photoshop workflow, allowing you to focus on your creativity and produce stunning edits with greater efficiency.