Iconic Panels


Today’s Question: I have been looking for some information about the slim panel that resides directly left of the right hand side panels in Photoshop. I have been able to drag and drop floating panels into this, which I had initially dragged from the right side of the screen. They then revert back from full panel to icon status. It seems to me there is more to this slim panel than just a place to tuck away a panel until it is needed again.

Tim’s Quick Answer: What you’re referring to is an “iconic” panel in Photoshop. This is a panel that can collapse to a small button when you aren’t actively using the panel. If you prefer to have two (or more) columns of larger panels, you can simply expand the iconic panel by clicking the double chevron icon (<<) at the top of the iconic panel.

More Detail: The default workspace in Photoshop includes a group of iconic panels to the left of a group of normal panels. What that basically translates into is a set of “expanded” versus “collapsed” panels. The benefit of an iconic panel is that it takes up very little space until you actually need to use it, and when you do need to use it you can simply click the iconic button to expand the panel and make normal use of it.

If you only have a single “column” of panels along the right side of the Photoshop interface, you can drag another column to be docked to the left of those panels by dropping the panel to the left edge of the panels that are already docked. In most cases that will result in an iconic panel docked to the left of the expanded panels.

You can expand the iconic panels by clicking the double chevron icon (<<) at the top of the iconic panels. This will create two columns of expanded panels. If you then want to collapse that column of panels to iconic panels, you can click the double chevron icon that will now be pointing to the right (>>).

In fact, if you prefer to work with only iconic panels, even the expanded panels that are docked on the right side of the Photoshop interface by default can be collapsed with the same double-chevron button at the top of the set of docked panels.

You can learn a bit more about defining your own custom workspace in Lesson 3 of Chapter 3 (“Adjusting Your Workspace”) of the “Understanding and Configuring Photoshop CC” course, which is available as part the “Photoshop for Photographers” bundle of courses available through GreyLearning. If you’re not already a GreyLearning Ultimate Bundle subscriber, you can sign up for just the “Photoshop for Photographers” bundle (with a discount) by following this link: