Full-Screen for Photoshop

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Today’s Question: When I open Lightroom (or other software such as Word) on my Macintosh, clicking on the green circle in the upper-left corner causes it to open full-screen, using all of the display area. When I open Photoshop and click the green circle it does not completely open to full screen, instead leaving a bit of desktop real estate at the bottom of the screen. Can Photoshop be put in full-screen mode like the other applications?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Photoshop doesn’t support the full-screen mode that is part of the Macintosh operating system. However, Photoshop does include its own variation on a full-screen display.

More Detail: In terms of the full-screen mode in the Macintosh operating system, software developers must add support to their applications if they want to make use of this feature. Adobe has thus far not updated Photoshop to support this Macintosh feature for full screen mode. So, when you click the green button to maximize the window in Photoshop, instead of going full screen the application will simply fill the available space without covering up the menu bar or the dock.

One option to help make the most of the available screen real estate for Photoshop on the Macintosh platform is to have the dock automatically hide and reveal. From the Apple menu (Apple logo) at the far left of the menu bar, choose System Preferences. In the System Preferences dialog choose Dock. Then turn on the “Automatically hide and show the Dock” checkbox. The dock will then disappear from view.

To bring back the dock, simply drag your mouse to the edge of the screen where the dock is docked (the bottom of the screen is the default location). When you maximize Photoshop, for example, it will then take up the space that was previously occupied by the dock.

In addition, Photoshop and Lightroom offer some full screen view modes of their own.

In Photoshop the full screen mode behaves a little bit differently than that available within the Macintosh operating system or Lightroom. Within Photoshop you’ll find the three options on the View > Screen Mode submenu. When you switch to one of the Full Screen options for Photoshop (with or without a menu bar), the title bar for the Photoshop window will disappear. In addition, however, the canvas area (where the image is) will no longer be what is essentially a separate window pane.

In other words, the image will be able to float freely behind the panels. Some users prefer this approach, and others (like me) find it a bit distracting. Note that you can hide the panels in Photoshop by pressing the Tab key on the keyboard. You can also present only the image itself in a full-screen preview by pressing Shift+F on the keyboard. If you prefer to work in the standard window display mode you can choose View > Screen Mode > Standard Screen Mode from the menu.

In Lightroom you can press Shift+F to cycle through three view modes. The first is the window mode that is the default view. The second is full screen with a menu bar at the top of the Lightroom interface. The third is to have Lightroom full screen without the menu bar. This last mode is the one I prefer. Even in full-screen mode in Lightroom you can access the menu at any time by simply sliding your mouse up to the very top of the display.