Where is the Options Bar in Photoshop and How to Use It?

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One of the best things about Photoshop is its exceptional tool flexibility, simplifying our work and enhancing our productivity. The Options Bar works as a gateway to access all the options associated with the selected tool, enabling seamless customization and control over the tools for us.

What is the Options Bar?

The Options Bar is a vital part of Photoshop as it controls and determines how every Photoshop tool operates. It includes the options and features that come with each tool in Photoshop. However, each tool has a different configuration; hence, the options bar will not appear the same with each tool. As you select a different tool, the contents of the options bar change depending on the selected tool.

Options Bar in Photoshop

Where is the Options Bar?

The Options Bar is located above the document window, just below the Menu Bar. It's a horizontal bar containing options and settings for the selected tools.

Can't find the options bar? No worries! Just go to the Window menu on the overhead toolbar and select Option from the drop-down menu.

The location of the Options Bar in Photoshop, just below the menu bar

Sometimes it may happen that you cannot find the options bar. Out of the blue, it's just disappeared from the interface. Well, don't panic! It's not gone forever. You may have removed, hidden, or closed it by accident. Follow the same mentioned above to restore the Options Bar.

Setting the options bar to be visible

Repositioning the Options Bar

You can reposition the Options Bar if you want. There's a handle at the left edge of the options bar. Click and drag the handle to move the options bar and place it wherever you want.

Tools and Options Bar

The Options Bar is directly connected to tools as it adapts to the active tool. It generates specific settings and parameters to modify how the tool will behave. In short, the options bar is all about what a tool offers.

For example, when the Rectangle Tool is selected, the options bar will show options related to the adjustment of a rectangle. It enables you to select the fill, adjust the stroke width and type, set the height and width of the shape, and more.

Settings for the rectangle tool in the options bar

How to Use the Options Bar

Working with the Options Bar is smooth and flexible. I'll explain it with examples here.

Step 1

First, select any tool you want from the left toolbar. For demonstration, I have selected the Brush Tool here.

Photoshop's brush tool

Step 2

You'll notice an instant change in the options bar as you select the Brush Tool. The Options Bar changes based on the tool you just selected, displaying all the relevant options and configurations.

After selecting the brush tool, the options you will see in the options bar are brush size, shape, settings, blending mode, opacity, brush flow, smoothing settings, brush angle, and symmetry options.

The settings in the options bar for the brush tool

Step 3

Take your time to observe the settings in the options bar. Go through all of them and understand what each one does.

Step 4

Now interact with the options in the bar and adjust as needed. Adjust the brush size, and choose which blending mode you want to work with or which shape of brush you want. You can modify all the options associated with the active tool in the options bar.

Importance of the Options Bar

The Options Bar simplifies our work in many ways.

  • The Options Bar provides tool-specific settings that allow you to customize your tools. As mentioned earlier, you can modify all the options associated with the active tool in the Options Bar.
  • The Options Bar offers you context-based adjustments. When performing tasks like resizing, creating shapes, or cropping, the options bar provides parameters to directly input your desired size or ratio.
  • Let's admit that the Options Bar saves us a lot of time. With all the options in one place and its convenient placement, which you can reposition as you want, it eliminates the need to navigate multiple menus to access all the tool options.

The Options Bar is an essential part of Photoshop that ensures your workflow is not interrupted by helping you throughout your work. Knowing how to make the best use of the Options Bar will truly help you achieve your goals in time.