Title: Overview of PaintShop Pro

Software: Corel PaintShop Pro X4 or X5
Author: Merlene Guldager
Home Page: Gold Acres Designs

Skill Level: Beginner

Materials Needed:

  • None
  • Description:

    Opening PaintShop Pro for the first time can leave you shaking your head and wondering where to start. Perhaps that is why you joined us in The Beginner's Workshop. This will be a quick overview of the screens and toolbars in PaintShop Pro and will help you feel a little less lost.

    Preparation   &   Modes

    PaintShop Pro has three work modes. They are: Manage, Adjust and Edit.
    You will be using the Edit mode for this tutorial.

    Opening Screens

    1. New users of PaintShop Pro X4 will see this image when the program opens each time you open PSP. To turn this feature off look down in the bottom left corner. Click that small check box and this screen won't appear again. Then you can use the Close button on the bottom right.

    2. New users of PaintShop Pro X5 will see this image when the program opens each time you open PSP.

      To turn this feature off look down in the bottom left corner. Click that small check box and this screen won't appear again. Then you can use the Close button on the bottom right. But don't do that just yet. There are content packs you are going to need to do your Projects. You will need to download and install them. Click the Do More Tab. The next screen will show you all the content packs. Click on each one to download them. This will take some time depending on your connection speed.

      Do be sure you download all the content packs including the KPT filters on the Plug-ins Tab. You'll be using them as you work through your projects.

    3. Once you close the Opening Screen you will see the Manage Workspace. As you can see there are three Workspace Modes. In The Beginner's Workshop you will only be using Edit. So click on Edit and you will now see something similar to this although your workspace color will be different. More on that later in this tutorial.

    Edit Mode

    Let's have a look around in the Edit Workspace. This is the mode you will work in while doing your projects for The Beginner's Workshop. This space can be customized to include your favorite or most used tools and palettes making it much easier to remember where things are. For now let's just see what is where.

    1. Starting at the top and going around you have Workspace Modes,the Standard Toolbar, the Materials Palette, the Layers Palette, the Status Bar, the Organizer Palette, the Document Window, the Tools Toolbar, the Tools Options Palette and the Menu.

      As you progress in the Workshop you will become familiar with all of these areas, but if you would like more specific information about any of these areas please visit this tutorial by Creative Designs.

    Setting Up For Your Projects

    Now that you have explored the Edit Mode Workspace let's make a couple of changes to get you ready to begin your Workshop Projects. These are minor changes but they will make doing your projects much smoother.

    1. Tabbed Documents Next,you'll need to turn off Tabbed Documents. PaintShop Pro allows you to open multiple images in the workspace. When Tabbed Documents is selected, you can only view one image at a time. Each tabbed document will fill the entire workspace. Small images are surrounded by the workspace background color. When Tabbed Documents is turned off, you can view multiple images in the same workspace area. This allows you to quickly switch between open images or view more than one at a time. You can see the tab on the image below.

      To turn this off click on Window on the Menu and uncheck (click) on Tabbed Documents. Now you see something like this. Notice that the tab is gone and the controls to minimize, open and close the image are present across the top right.

    2. Workspace Color

      Beginning with PSP X3 you have a choice of colors to use for the PSP interface. However, the workspace window color cannot be changed. It will remain the default dark grey as you can see surrounding the photo in the image above.

      To do this go to View on the Menu and then click on Workspace Color down at the bottom. Click on a color to transform your workspace to that color. The Screen Captures for this tutorial were done with the Blue Workspace active. As you work through the Projects in the Workshop the colors you will see in the Screen Captures will be different depending on which one that author prefers. It is not necessary for you to use the same one, use the one you like best.

    3. Hiding The Organizer Palette. In the Workshop you won't be needing the Organizer Palette open. It takes up valuable space there across the bottom. So click on the small "x" to close it. It can be turned back on by going to Palettes on the Standard Toolbar.

    4. Alternatively you can click on the "Stick Pin" icon and the palette will be minimized to this in the bottom left corner.

    Making This Your Default Workspace

    You have made some interesting changes to the Edit Workspace. To make them stick you don't have to redo each time, you open PaintShop Pro you need to save it.

    1. Click on File on the Menu Bar and then Click on Preferences and finally General Program Preferences.

    2. At the bottom of the list on the Left is "Default Launch Workspace", click there and choose "Edit" on the right side. Click OK to close the window and save it.

    3. Now go to File/Workspace/Workspaces/Save.

    4. Now name this workspace BW Workspace. Doing this will allow you to restore your BW setup should you encounter a problem later on and so you will not need to redo this tutorial. As you work through your Projects in the Workshop there will be times when you will be told to make a change in Preferences.

    Special Folders For PSP

    When you installed PSP on your hard drive some special folders were created for you to use. They are located in Documents Corel PaintShop Pro ##. ## represents the version number of your PSP.

    1. Find the Corel PaintShop Pro folder in Documents (or My Documents) and open the numbered folder for your version of PSP.

      All those folders were created for you to save all the Workspaces, Picture Tubes, etc that you create while working in PSP. When you saved your new Workspace just now, this is where it went. Go down to the bottom of the list of folders and click on Workspaces. You will see your workspace saved there.

    2. You need to add two Folders in this group for your Workshop Projects. So go back to the full list and right click on an empty area and choose New New Folder.

      Name this folder !BW Projects. Adding the ! will insure that it appears at the top of your folders list. As you download supplies for each project you will need to create a new folder inside your !BW Projects folder. Name them BW Project 01, BW Project 02 and so on. You will save all images created in that Project to that folder as well. When you download supplies, just unzip the supplies into the lesson folder and continue with the Project's instructions about them. You will appreciate this structure when you reach Level 2 and learn to use the Organizer palette.

    3. Repeat this step and name the second folder My Presets. Yes, there is already a folder named Presets in the custom folders. But there's a problem with saving to that folder. When you do you won't be able to open PSP the next time. So the programmer's at Corel have come up with a fix for it. If you save to the new folder instead, you should not see this problem.

    4. To make this work go back to PSP and click on File Preferences File locations.

    5. Use the scroll bar to find Presets in the list on the left side under File Types.

    6. On the right side click on the Add button and browse to the Corel PaintShop Pro folder in Documents (or My Documents). Find and select that new folder you just made. Click Ok.

    7. One last step and you'll be all set. On the bottom where it says Save to: click the small arrow at the end of the file path shown to open the drop-list. From that list choose your new presets folder. To save thest changes click OK and then close PSP.

      WHY? Unfortunately programs become unstable and have to be unistalled from time to time. If you unistall PSP, all items saved in your custom folders will be removed as well in the process. All your work and creations will be gone. By renaming the folder first, you save them. Once you reinstall you can delete the new ones created and rename your folder to replace them. Nothing will be lost.


      Secondly, by changing the location where your Presets are saved will save you many headaches. You won't have to panic when your program fails to open. It can be very dismaying and this solution will prevent the problem.

    Service Packs

    • Corel puts out Service Packs from time to time to solve problems that have arisen after the release of the program. These are completely free and many are necessary. Follow this Link to check for Service Packs available for your version of PSP. Download and install them and you will ready to begin your Projects.






    If you are looking for a great place to learn more about PaintShop Pro, please visit The Beginner's Workshop. We offer a different approach to learning. Upon acceptance you will be assigned a mentor to work with. She will be there to answer all your questions and help you get the most of each tutorial. And the best part is that it's completely FREE!

    Copyright © Merlene Guldager

         This document and the images contained therein may not be translated, duplicated, redistributed or otherwise appropriated.