Photoshop IconI have to admit when I first started using Photoshop CS4 I didn’t like it. It looks a lot different than the old version of CS2 I use here at home or even the CS3 I use at work. But it’s been growing on me – I love the streamlined toolbars (more screen space), greater stability (hasn’t crashed or hung on me yet) and the 3D tools rock.

But there’s one thing I really dislike – no, hate is the right word.

The stupid tabbed windows:


By default Photoshop CS4 will tab your windows – making only one available to work in at a time. While it is easier to change windows (just click the tab) you now can’t drag items or elements from one document to another. And I know a lot of digital scrappers do that. I do. A lot. It’s way more steps to select the elements, copy it, change windows, and paste it. Now you can go to Windows – Arrange and tell it to “float” all the windows but the very next document you open will be tabbed again.

So we figured out how to turn it off. But a warning: it’s not fool proof.

Here’s how to turn it off. Go to Edit – Preferences – Interface and this window comes up:


Make sure to uncheck “Open documents as tabs”. To save your sanity – also uncheck “Enable Floating Document Window Docking” (That is even more annoying – if you have a window floating and drag it too near the top of the frame it automatically docks it for you – Ack!) Now when you open a set of documents the windows will float like we all like:


Now here’s the warning: I like to drag images from a folder onto the Photoshop icon in the tool bar to open them. If you do this, they will still open up as tabbed windows – no matter what. If you double-click on them OR right-click and select “open” they’ll open up as floated windows. So keep that in mind!

Thanks for reading. If you have any topics you would like us to cover in the future or any other comment, tell us below and we’ll include it in a future post.

Till next week – Keep Scrappin’


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About the author

Stan brings to the site a long career in the photo industry from working as a professional photographer to 13 years with Kodak to his present position asDirector or Marketing with Advanced Photographic Solutions color lab.Having spent all his adult life in the photo industry, Stan discovered the wild world of digiscrap through wife Jenn (better known as ScrapKitty Design). Even 12 years of teaching Photoshop and digital imaging to photographers didn't prepare him for the wild and wooly world of digi-crops, so he sticks to teaching classes and writing about photography and PS/PSE on their blog Stan and Jenn are transplanted Yankees in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, and would not live in lake effect snow again if you paid them.


  1. Andreea says:

    thank you so much for this, you saved the day! the tabbing was driving me insane!

  2. Jeremy says:

    beautiful. thank you. this was driving me nuts.

  3. Hans says:

    Thanks! This was just what i have been looking for.

  4. Tyler Cruz says:

    Thanks! I found this incredibly annoying too.

  5. STAAL says:

    I’m all the way up to CS 5.5 now and it only just occurred to me I might be able to turn this off. Thanks for showing me how.

  6. Jonathan says:

    Nice one! Thank you.

  7. A. J. O'Malley says:


  8. Johnny says:

    i love you, man! Awesome!!!! BIG HELP!!!

  9. Amy says:

    This post may be from 2009 but it saved my sanity, thank you.

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