How to Exit Full Screen in Photoshop

One of my favorite things about Photoshop is the degree of customization in the user interface. No matter what project you’re working on or what your personal tastes are, you can rearrange the user interface to fit exactly what you need. 

On the other hand, Photoshop is also famous for having a huge and confusing number of keyboard shortcuts for new users to learn, and it can be way too easy to accidentally hit the wrong key when you’re in the middle of a project. Suddenly, the interface is completely gone and you’re on a deadline! 

The fastest way to exit full screen mode in Photoshop is to press the Escape key. This shortcut works on both Mac and Windows versions of Photoshop, and it doesn’t matter which of the full screen modes you’re in – pressing the Escape key will bring you back to the standard screen mode.

Using Screen Modes

Even when you’ve got the interface perfectly customized and you know all your keyboard shortcuts, there are times when you want to focus on your work without any kind of distractions – and that’s when full-screen mode really shines. 

Photoshop actually has 3 different screen modes: Standard Screen Mode, Full Screen Mode With Menu Bar, and Full Screen Mode. You can access them using the View menu, as shown above, or you can cycle through the three modes by pressing the F key. 

Hiding Panels

If you still can’t see all the usual panels that should be part of your interface layout after you’ve exited full screen mode in Photoshop, it’s possible that you’ve accidentally hidden all the panels. You can toggle all panels from visible to hidden by pressing the Tab key, so be sure to try that out before you tear your hair out!

Photoshop with all panels hidden in Standard Screen Mode

The Tab key shortcut works in all screen modes, which makes it very useful when you want to get a closer look at your image without cycling through the different screen modes. 

A Final Word

Personally, I don’t find much use for full screen mode, but then I don’t usually do much drawing or painting in Photoshop since I tend to focus on photography instead. 

When I want to view the image I’m working on without any distractions, I’ll press the Tab key to hide all the tool panels, and that’s enough for me to get a good clear look at the image. 

Photoshop can be extremely confusing when you’re just getting started – and sometimes it can even be confusing for experienced users too. Stick with it, and eventually, you’ll be able to navigate and edit with ease. It just takes practice and perseverance!

Happy Photoshopping!

About Thomas Boldt
Thomas started his Photoshop career way back in 2000. After exploring Photoshop 5.5 in a high school computer lab, he developed an enduring passion for photography, design, and technology that carried him through a Bachelor of Design degree and into the wild world of tech startups.

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