peter_w's blog

How to access the gray area when zoomed in

posted by peter_w, Jul 5, 2006 8:52 PM — 16 comments

The problem is that Photoshop only displays the gray area to fill up the additional space if the document window is larger than the image itself. If you zoom in, that space is gone. Using the hand tool does not gain you access to it because the image won't move any more as soon as its edge reaches the window's edge.

So what's wrong with this behavior? If, say, you are using the pen tool to make a selection that extends right to the edge of the image, you would start and end the path in the gray area. Just like this:

But that is impossible if the grey area has disappeared.

To bring it back to your screen, switch to one of the full screen modes. To do so, press one of the full screen mode buttons on the tools palette.

Alternatively, you can use the 'F' key to toggle between the three modes.

Now you can use any level of magnification, and you will still have a gray workspace area around your image. If you don't see it, use the hand tool to pan your view until it appears. If you used the rightmost fullscreen button, the area will be black rather than gray, but it behaves the same way as the gray one does.

To switch back to the default mode, just press the 'F' key until you're back where you were.

Enjoy :)

Comments | RSS

1. posted by neteagle, Jul 14, 2006 2:19 PM

fine method to solve the problem, but somehow (dont know why) i just hate to edit my documents in full screen mode.. maybe beacuse this way its too complicated to switch between documents.

2. posted by mattgorner, Jul 14, 2006 11:26 AM

Top tip! Despite using full screen modes quite often, I just never noticed the grey area been back there!

I used to run into the exact problem you described all the time too, but not anymore!


3. posted by hilaryaq, Jul 11, 2006 4:51 PM

I never even saw or used, or knew what those buttons were for before!! :D Thanks, Im gonna try it out!!!

4. posted by hoabinh, Oct 21, 2009 12:41 PM

Fantastic! So many annoyances removed in one thread! Thank you for the tutorial and the useful comments. http//

5. posted by dittohead, Jul 7, 2006 7:04 AM

I used to have two monitors and I had all my controls on the right monitor, but now with a single 24" panel I go into full screen and more full screen with the F key all the time.

Another trick I learned while watching someone was to go into more full screen (with black surround and edges) and then hit the Tab key. This removes the GUI entirely from the screen. I can view the entire work without any onscreen visual interruption. Works great. Tab key switches it back one.

6. posted by annaink, Jul 22, 2006 5:28 AM

I bow in obescience to you, I am IN AWE. This very problem has plagued me for a long time.

7. posted by peter_w, Aug 4, 2006 5:22 PM

Thanks so much for the nice comments!

@neteagle: If you're on Windows, try Ctrl+Tab to switch between documents. Hold Ctrl and press Tab multiple times to cycle between all your open document windows :)

8. posted by d3designs, Aug 17, 2006 4:31 PM

Since we are talking about handy keyboard shortcuts, try Shift+Tab.

It will hide all the pallets but leave the tools pallet visible. Very handy!

Another unrelated favorite of mine is Ctrl+Shift+I It will invert your selection. If you work with selection masks a lot, this will save you a TUN of time.

9. posted by flysky, Aug 24, 2006 11:05 PM

Thanx alot dude :)

10. posted by Bojc, Aug 26, 2006 10:55 AM

No offence meant, so please don't take any. There is a help section in all versions of Photoshop, where all the keyboard shortcuts (and much much more) are gathered together.

As to the article, I find it useful.
To "neteagle" and others with similar problems: mac users may want to use OS-X "expose" function for fast and simple switching, whilst Windows users may need to find additional software to do this.

11. posted by grberry, Sep 20, 2006 3:19 PM

Fantastic! So many annoyances removed in one thread! Thank you for the tutorial and the useful comments.

12. posted by stoo-mp, Oct 2, 2006 12:11 PM


13. posted by yahiyarafe, Oct 6, 2006 9:11 AM

Excellent stuff...
like to read more stuff related to Adobe Filters not the default one we have in Adobe.

14. posted by Relocator, Oct 17, 2006 12:01 AM

Well, another handy way is just press "F". That lets you pan around the image while holding Space (the hand tool). You can go into the grey areas that way. Try it, it's VERY helpful.

15. posted by surgio, Nov 28, 2006 7:47 AM

You can change the color of the "gray" areas and black areas, sometimes it's necessary. Just select the paint bucket tool and shift while clicking on the grey.

16. posted by lweedop, Nov 28, 2008 8:50 PM

Very awesome! I can't tell you how many times I've had to zoom out to do what I wanted because I needed that gray area. Thanks!!

You have to log in to add comments to this post.

freeimages blog archive

RSS feeds

All blog posts
Tutorial posts only


» Add your own post!

Recent blog comments

The Best of HiRes Photo Sharing Worlds
Nov 6, 2013 3:44 AM inizjall wrote
morgue is good option

Cloudy Scotland
Nov 6, 2013 3:43 AM inizjall wrote
thank you so much michel

Flayer Brochure
Nov 6, 2013 3:43 AM inizjall wrote
good share

Free Christmas mistletoe wreath with bells
Nov 6, 2013 3:42 AM inizjall wrote
perfect for christmass

Valentines Day Backgrounds
Nov 6, 2013 3:41 AM inizjall wrote
such a romantic background

This site uses cookies

By continuing to browse freeimages you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here.