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Palettes and Help
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Palettes and Help
Created by: Zonia

In this lesson we will describe the palettes and using the PSP Help.
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The download file on the left contains this tutorial in a different format that we will load into the Learning Center palette.

PSP has 8 palettes: the Materials palette, the Tool Options palette, the Layer palette, the Learning Center palette, the Histogram palette, the Overview Palette, the Script Output palette, and the Brush Variance palette.

In Lesson 1 – Introduction to PSP 8, we covered how to dock/undock palettes, how to turn palettes on/off, and how to resize the palettes. In this lesson we will briefly describe the function of the palettes, paying close attention to the Learning Center palette.


The Materials palette (F6) is where you choose the materials that you will be using in your image such as colors, gradients, patterns, and textures. We will be thoroughly covering the Materials palette in the next lesson.

The Tool Options palette (F4) is where you modify the options for the currently selected tool. As mentioned in earlier lessons, the options in the Tool Options palette change depending on the tool selected. We will be covering the options for each tool when we cover the tool.

The Layer palette (F8) allows you to view, rearrange, group, change transparency, change blend modes, and so on for each layer. We will be covering the Layer palette in lesson 6.

The Histogram palette (F7) is a graph showing how the red, green, blue, greyscale, hue, saturation, and lightness values are distributed in the currently selected image. By analyzing the graph you can decide how to make corrections.

The Overview palette (F9) shows a thumbnail of the currently selected image as well as image information such as width, height, and color depth. The area surrounded by a rectangle is the area of the image that is currently visible. If the entire image is visible then the rectangle will be around the entire thumbnail. When working on large images you can click on the rectangle and, holding down the left mouse button, drag the rectangle to the portion of the image you want to make visible. This is the easiest way to move around in a large image.

The Script Output palette (F3) will display both the actions you take and the results of running scripts. It will also show any errors it had when performing a task. If you are having problems this is a great place to look to see where something went wrong. It is also a great learning tool because you can analyze the step a script performed and reproduce them on your own.

The Brush Variance palette (F11) allows you to set more brush options besides the ones in the Tool Options palette to produce some great effects. You can modify the variances such as fade in, fade out, pressure, altitude, and more.

Last but not least is the Learning Center palette (F10). The Learning Center palette displays tutorials for common tasks. PSP comes with several great tutorials called "Quick Guides". There are also some tutorial writers writing tutorials specifically for the Learning Center palette. I learned how to load these Quick Guides from Suz Shook who has some great Quick Guides you can download and install at PSP 8 Quick Guides.


Loading tutorials into the Learning Center palette is a great way of doing a tutorial without having to switch back and forth between PSP and your browser or having to print them out. However not every tutorial will work in the Learning Center palette. You can load them into the Learning Center palette but they may not display correctly.

To load a tutorial into the Learning Center palette there are several steps you must follow. Let's load this tutorial into the Learning Center palette.

First open Windows Explorer and browse to the Quick Guides folder (directory) inside of your "My PSP 8 Files" folder (or the folder you use to store your PSP 8 data files in).

Click on the Quick Guides folder in the left (folder) panel; if you don't have a Quick Guides folder click on the My PSP 8 Files folder in the left panel and add a Quick Guides folder using the following process: In the Windows Explorer, add a folder by going to File || New || Folder and typing in "Quick Guides". Now add a new (category) folder to the Quick Guides folder (File || New || Folder) with a name of your choice (I am using "Beginners Classes").

Now click on the category folder you just made in the left panel. We need to add a tutorial folder. Go to File || New || Folder again and type in a name for the tutorial (I am using "Palettes and Help").
Note: The category and tutorial folders will be shown in the Learning Center palette, allowing you to display the tutorial.

Extract the contents of your download zip file into the tutorial folder you just created.
Tip: If downloading a tutorial from the web using the Internet Explorer you would go to File || Save and save it directly to the tutorial folder you created for it.

Using the Windows Explorer, browse to the tutorial folder you created. You will see a file named either b03palhelpzjh_v8cc.htm or b03palhelpzjh_v8cc (depending on your Windows folder settings). In the right panel of the Windows Explorer click on the b03palhelpzjh_v8cc.htm or b03palhelpzjh_v8cc file. Right-click and select Rename from the pop-up menu. Change b03palhelpzjh_v8cc to index. Important: If you see "/tutorial/html/beginclass/.htm" don't change it, leave it there; and if you don't see "/tutorial/html/beginclass/.htm" don't add it. After changing the file name to index.htm or index hit the Enter key. Tip: If you save a tutorial from your web browser you will get a warning; don't worry about it, just click on Yes. Now close the Windows Explorer.

In PSP 8 click on the Refresh button in your Learning Center palette. You should now see the category you added. Click on the little plus sign in front of that category (Beginners Classes) and you will see the name of the tutorial folder you added (Palettes and Help). Click on the name and it will display the tutorial.

The tutorial displayed in the Quick Guide looks different from this tutorial because I removed all the table tags so it would display better.

This tutorial was only one page. If you are loading a tutorial that has more than one page you will need to treat each page as a separate tutorial. Meaning you will need to create a tutorial folder for each page and change the file name to index.htm or index (depending on your Windows folder settings).

To remove a tutorial from the Learning Center palette just delete the tutorial folder in the Windows Explorer.


The Quick Guides included with PSP are a great way of learning PSP. The PSP Help File also includes a wealth of information to help you learn PSP. To access the help file go to Help || Help Topics. This will open the PSP help file. To the left you will see a Contents, Index, Search, and Favorites tab which will help you maneuver your way around the help file.

The quickest way to get help on something though is to use the context-sensitive help. Hold down your Shift key and hit F1 (Shift+F1). Your cursor will change to a pointer with a question mark. Now left-click on a tool, palette, button, etc. and the PSP help file will open, displaying the topic covering the item you clicked on. For example, hit Shift+F1 and left-click anywhere inside the Learning Center palette. The help file will open displaying the "Using the Quick Guides to Learn Common Tasks" topic in the right panel. Now you have an easy way to find out what all those tools, buttons, and palettes are.

That's it for this lesson. In the next lesson we will create an image.