Setting Plug-ins and Scratch Disk Preferences

You might think that, out of the box and properly installed, Photoshop is ready to go. If you have extra plug-ins or extra hard disk space, it’s not.

While Photoshop is great at handling memory to furnish your digital imaging requests, it doesn’t know the location of third-party plug-ins and where to find that extra hard disk space.

Before opening up that next image, specify both of those items in the Plug-ins & Scratch Disk preferences dialog box.

1. As a Macintosh user, you can open the Plug-ins & Scratch Disk preferences dialog box, by going to the Photoshop menu and selecting Preferences -> Plug-Ins & Scratch Disks. As a Windows user, choose Edit -> Preferences and select Plug-Ins & Scratch Disks. If you are in the dialog box from the previous task, select Plug-Ins & Scratch Disks from the drop-down menu at the top of the dialog box.

2. To set an Additional Plug-Ins folder, first select the option next to the Additional Plug-Ins Folder heading. This opens a dialog box where you can locate and select the plug-ins folder.

3. After you have selected the folder, you need to restart Photoshop in order to use the new plug-ins.

4. If you have third-party plug-ins that work only with a previous version of Photoshop (versions 6 or earlier), you can enter its serial number in the Legacy Photoshop Serial Number input field.

5. You can assign up to four scratch disks. A scratch disk is a form of virtual memory Photoshop can use if your system doesn’t have enough RAM to accomplish a given task. By default, Photoshop uses the hard drive or partition that the operating system is on as the primary scratch disk, which can be any drive or portion of a drive with free memory. You can assign up to 200 GB of scratch disk space on a given hard disk or partition; the more scratch disk space you assign to Photoshop, the better the system performs when handling your large image files. Again, you have to restart Photoshop in order for the new scratch disk settings to be active.

6. While editing an image, you can find out how much RAM is being used by the scratch disk in the status bar at the bottom of the image window. First click the triangle in the status bar.

7. Select Scratch Sizes and you will see two numbers on the status bar, after shorthand for Scratch Sizes, Scr: The first number is the amount of RAM Photoshop currently uses to handle the image; the second number is the total amount of RAM available to Photoshop.