Customizing Menus in PSP



Created March 17, 2003 © Copyright SuzShook
Made "Version-Independent" March 2009
Updated April 2012
Property of SuzShook

This tutorial is my own creation;
however, most of the techniques used in this tutorial, I have learned from others!
Therefore, if you recognize any contribution you have made, I thank you!
And I thank you as well for respecting this as my work by not posting it,
in whole or in part,
in any other location without written permission from me!

Individuals and PSP graphics groups are invited to share my tutorials with others with TEXT LINKS ONLY.
You can e-mail me to let me know you are adding one or more of my tutorials to your list if you like -
it's always fun to know who is doing them!

This tutorial will teach you how to use some of the basic customization available in Paint Shop Pro to change PSP's menus - how to add or remove commands, how to move items from one menu to another, how to create keyboard shortcuts for menu items, and how to create your own menus and submenus. Hope this tutorial helps you make your workspace work for you.



I make my tutorials as brief as possible, without the customary paths, details, and how-to's. For those veterans among you, this will be welcome! But for those less familiar with PSP, I included a "Glossary" that contains all the details omitted in the tutorial. If you need a little extra help, check the Glossary section. Just click on the button below - the Glossary will open in a new window.

PSP glossary button


This tutorial assumes you have a working knowledge of Paint Shop Pro at the intermediate level (or advanced beginner level with the Glossary). It was originally written in and for PSP Version 8, and now made "version-independent". Screen shots for this tutorial can come from any version of PSP - where there are significant differences from version to version, a green "Version Note" will be included, along with multiple screen shots if necessary.

Where a note/tip refers to a version of PSP and all higher versions, a + sign will be used to indicate this. For example, if a note/tip applies to PSP X and higher versions, I will use the convention "PSP X+".

If you try this tutorial, and find something is inaccurate for your version of PSP, please EMAIL ME to let me know so I can fix it!

Screen shots in this tutorial are resized - your work will be larger than this!



Supplies - For this tutorial, you will need the following:

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OK, we're ready to begin. Grab your mouse and let's get started.

Remember to save often.

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STEP 1

Paint Shop Pro gives the user almost total control over the program's toolbars and menus. You can move commands from menu to menu, add almost any command to a menu, add commands to toolbars and palettes, and even create your own custom menus and submenus. When you open the Customize dialog from the View menu, the entire Paint Shop Pro workspace transforms into customize mode. Your controls for customizing your menus are the Commands, Menu, Keyboard, and Scripts tabs of the Customize dialog.

To activate the Customize dialog, do ONE of the following:

  • Choose View...Customize.
  • Right-click on any toolbar and select Customize from the context menu.
  • Right-click in any free space in the workspace and select Customize from the context menu (Version Note: This method does not work in PSP 8).

Here's what the Customize dialog looks like:

customize dialog

To select which menu is displayed during this session, click the Menu tab. Here's what the Menu tab looks like in PSP 9:

customize dialog

Version Note: In PSP 8 and 9, in the Application Frame Menus box, there is a Show Menus for drop-list (red arrow above) that contains three sets of menus
  • Default, for menus and commands that display when no images are open;
  • Image, for menus and commands that display when images are open;
  • Browser, for menus and commands that display when the Browser is the active window.

In PSP X, only the Default menu is available in this drop-list.

In PSP XI and above, the drop-list is no longer available, as all menus and commands are visible at all times. Here's what the Menu tab looks like in PSP X2:

customize dialog

During this session, you will be able to either add commands to or remove commands from all visible menus. If you are using PSP 8 or 9, select the Image menu.


STEP 2

To remove an item from a menu

  • Activate the Customize dialog.
  • Version Note: In PSP 8 and 9, be sure you have chosen the Image menu on the Menu tab - (see Step 1 above).
  • Activate the Menu from which you want to remove a command
  • Click the Command or item you want to remove.
  • Drag the item to an area without any toolbars or menus - like into the workspace - and drop it.
  • When you are done, click the CLOSE button.

Just for practice, let's remove the Docking Options item from the View menu. Don't worry, we'll put it back in the next step.

Note: To save space in this tutorial, my screenshots will show a very abbreviated View menu - your View menu will have many more entries than my screenshots show.

So let's get started. Click the View menu (red arrow below), then click the Docking Options command (blue arrow below):

Docking Options selected

Holding down the left mouse button, drag the Docking Options command into a free area (green arrow below):

dragging Docking Options into workspace

Release the mouse button when the cursor changes to this:

iconx icon

Presto, that item has been removed from the View menu!

customize dialog

Note: An alternate method of removing a command from a menu is to right-click on the object you want to remove and choose Delete from the context menu.


STEP 3

To add a command to a menu:

  • Activate the Customize dialog.
  • Version Note: In PSP 8 and 9, be sure you have the right set of menus active on the Menu tab (see Step 1 above).
  • Click the Commands tab of the Customize dialog.
  • From the Categories list, select a category.
  • From the Commands list, click and drag a command or icon to a menu, and drop it.
  • When you are done, click the CLOSE button.
    Note: The Categories list may seem rather haphazard, but it really isn't. PSP lists the categories according to the way the menus appear across the Menu Bar, followed by the remaining categories, toolbars, and context menus The same with the Commands list, which is usually in the order the commands/tools appear on the menu or toolbar, but in some versions, may be alphabetical.

Let's put that Docking Options command back on the View Menu.

Version Note: In PSP 8 and 9, we removed Docking Options from the Image menus, so click the Menu tab and make sure you have the Image menus showing (see Step 1 above).

Click the Commands tab and in the Categories list (red arrow below), highlight the View category. In the Commands list, scroll down until you find the Docking Options command (blue arrow below) and click on it:

selecting a command to add

When you press the mouse button, the cursor changes to this:

icon icon

Holding the left mouse button down, drag the Docking Options command to the View Menu. To open the View Menu, drag the Docking Options command to the View Menu title in the Menu bar. When the View Menu opens, drag the Docking Options command onto the View Menu, moving it around until the heavy I-bar is exactly where you want the command to be placed. When you have it where you want it located, drop it by releasing the mouse button:

Drag the Docking Options
command to activate the View Menu
Drag the Docking Options
command onto the View Menu
Drop it by releasing
the mouse button
activating the view menu
placing the command
menu after command added

And there it is, right where it was before we removed it.

What if you wanted to add a separator between the Docking Options command and the Customize command? Can we do that? Sure we can. To add separators between elements in a menu, right-click on any command and choose Include Separator from the context menu. The separator will be inserted before or above the command you selected. You can remove separators the same way - this is a toggle command.

Since we need the separator below the Docking Options command, click on the Customize command to add the separator.

Adding a Separator
"Fixed" View Menu
context menu
menu after separator

STEP 4

You can also move commands (or submenus) from one location to another, or from one menu to another. To do this:

  • Activate the Customize dialog.
  • Version Note: In PSP 8 and 9, be sure you have the right set of menus active on the Menu tab (see Step 1 above).
  • Activate the Menu from which you want to move the command/submenu (source menu).
  • Drag the command/icon from the source menu to the target menu or Menu Bar, and drop it.
  • When you are done, click the CLOSE button.

For example, just say you use the JPEG Optimizer ALL the time, and you hate going through 2 layers of menus to get to it. You could move it from the Export submenu of the File menu to the File menu itself so it's more readily accessible. Activate the File menu, and then the Export submenu. Now drag JPEG Optimizer from the Export submenu (green arrow below) to the File menu (red arrow below) and drop it there:

file...export menu

If you want to leave the JPEG Optimizer on the Export submenu and include it on the File menu as well, then just find it in the commands list on the Command tab of the Customize dialog, and drag it from there, rather than from the submenu. I tend to use this latter method more frequently, so I still have things the way Jasc set them up, with my own "additions".

For now, let's move that command back to its submenu. Just grab it with your mouse and drag it back to the Export submenu, dropping it where it was, just above the GIF Optimizer. Good practice, huh.

Note: To COPY a command or submenu from one location to another, hold down the CTRL key while dragging the item to the new location. This way, the original menu is left intact, and a copy of the menu item is now present in a new location.

STEP 5

If you run into trouble customizing your Menus, you can always reset them to the factory default settings. To reset your menus:

  • Click the Menu tab.
  • Version Note: In PSP 8 and 9, select the menu set you want to reset from the Show Menus for drop-list.
  • Click the RESET button.

Remember, if you do this, you lose any customization you've done to ANY of the menus and submenus of that Menu Bar, so consider the implications of this action carefully before deciding to do it.


STEP 6

Here's the fun part - using the Customization dialog, you can easily create your own custom menus. To do this, on the Commands tab (red arrow below), scroll down in the Categories window until you find New Menu (blue arrow below), and click on it:

creating a new menu

From the Commands window, drag the New Menu command (green arrow above) to the Menu Bar - you can put it anywhere you want. I left mine on the end.

creating a new menu

To name your new menu (unless, of course, you want to call it "New Menu"!), right-click on the New Menu, and select Menu Text from the context menu:

menubar context menu

Version Note: In PSP X4+, choose Button Appearance from the context menu:

menubar context menu - PSP X4+

This will open the Rename Menu Item dialog. Type a name for the new menu and click OK. If you want to assign a shortcut to your menu, so you can access it using ALT + letter, use the ampersand (&) before a letter of your text. I called my new menu SuzMenu, and I typed it in this way: S&uzMenu. Here's the Rename Menu Item dialog, with my new menu name, complete with my shortcut (shown in red for demonstration purposes):

rename menu item dialog

Version Note: In PSP X4+, the Button Appearance dialog will open - type the new name in the Button Text box:

rename menu item dialog

I chose the "u" because the S is already used on the Menu Bar for Selections. Here's my new menu, right up there on the Menu Bar with the big boys, with a shortcut of ALT + U.

menubar with SuzMenu added

Now you can add the commands you want to your menu, setting it up just the way you want it. You can even add submenus. Just drag another New Menu to your menu, rename as above, and then add commands to it. Here's the SuzMenu, with a few of my favorite commands added, as well as a submenu:

SuzMenu with submenu

You can add shortcut keys to menu items, including submenus. Select the menu item you want to assign a shortcut to and rename as above, inserting the ampersand before the letter you want to use as the shortcut. To get to the SuzSubMenu on my system, all I need to type is ALT + U and then S - that's it, I'm there.

If you want to add separators between the commands on your menu, do it the same way as in Step 3 above.

When you are done building your menu, click CLOSE on the Customize dialog. Your customized menu is now part of the Menu Bar, and can be accessed just like any other menu.

Customization Note: I not only created my own SuzMenu, but I also added a few important submenus to my Menu bar (Version Note: both the Default and Image Menu bars in PSP 8 and 9). For instance, I wanted the Recent Files submenu to be more accessible, so I dragged it to the Menu Bar. Same with the Modify submenu from the Selections Menu, the Enhance Photo submenu from the Photo Toolbar, and the Script submenu from the File menu. After I added all these to the Menu Bar, I used the Rename Menu Item dialog to rename them, shortening the names of a few, and using the ampersand to create keyboard shortcuts so I could use the ALT key to activate them quickly. Here's what the right end of the Menu Bar looks like on my system - I can access the Recent Files submenu (renamed to Recent) using ALT + R, the Modify submenu using ALT + M, the Enhance Photo submenu (renamed to Photo) using ALT + P, and the Script submenu using ALT + C. My system rocks (for me)!

my menu bar


STEP 7

Another thing you might want to do is to add keyboard shortcuts to menu commands. Several of the menu items already have keyboard shortcuts, but you might have a command you use all the time that you'd like to be able to access rapidly and easily. No problem - we can do that.

Note: Keyboard shortcuts are just a bit different from the shortcuts described in the last step. Those were navigational shortcuts, which allow you to rapidly access menus and submenus or commands within them. Keyboard shortcuts are even faster - they bypass the menus entirely. For example, let's take a look at the Copy command. You can activate that command in any of the following ways:
  1. Click on the Edit menu on the Menu Bar, and then click on the Copy command on that menu to copy the image to the clipboard; or
  2. Use the provided navigational shortcuts: ALT + E (the Edit menu appears), and then C to copy the image to the clipboard; or
  3. Use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + C - no menus appear at all, but the image is copied to the clipboard.

Method 1 is the longest and most cumbersome way to use this command - you have to move your mouse pointer to the Edit menu, then click, then move the mouse pointer to the Copy command, and click again. Method 2 is quicker - no mouse needed, just three quick keystrokes and you've copied the image, though the Edit menu does appear. This is exactly what we described in Step 6 above. Method 3 is clearly the quickest - no mouse movement, no menus, no nonsense. This is the method we're talking about in this step.

To add shortcut keys to menu items, or to change the shortcut keys already assigned, open the Customize dialog, and click on the Keyboard tab.

customize dialog - keyboard tab

(Version Note: If your version of PSP has a Set Accelerator for drop-list (red arrow), choose which application's shortcuts you want to assign.

In the Category drop-list (blue arrow), select a category to find all commands within that category.

Let's select the Adjust category, so we can add a keyboard shortcut to Add Noise on the customized SuzMenu I created. I use Noise all the time (I'm a regular noisemaker!), so I want a quick way to get to this dialog.

Notice that as you scroll down through the tools, the currently assigned shortcut key appears in the Current Keys window. In the following image, you can see that the Brightness/Contrast command (red arrow) has been assigned the keyboard shortcut Shift + B (blue arrow):

command key assignment

If there is no assigned key, the Current Keys window is blank. Scroll back up to the top and find the Add Noise command:

A key assigned to Pan tool

The Current Keys window is blank for the Add Noise command, signifying that no shortcut keys have been assigned. Move your cursor to the Press New Shortcut Key window, and type A. If the key you select is currently assigned, the current assignment will be listed above the window. As you can see, A is assigned to the Pan tool (red arrow).

If you want to reassign A to the Add Noise command, click on the ASSIGN button (blue arrow). If you want to leave the A as assigned, choose another letter and type in the box.

Note: Do not try to erase the A with the DELETE key or the BACKSPACE key - this dialog will think you want to assign that the DELETE key or the BACKSPACE key to the Add Noise command. Just type the new letter and it will replace the A.

I finally chose N for the Noise command - that key was unassigned. Click the ASSIGN button, and your new shortcut is ready for use. Continue in this way, assigning keyboard shortcuts to any of the commands on your customized menu, or on any of the menus. And remember, you can use key combinations as well as individual keys. On my system, I've assigned SHIFT+1 to the Straighten tool and ALT+9 to the Change to Target tool. You can also use any key on the keyboard, not just the letters and numbers. I use the Color Replacer tool often, and on my system, its shortcut key is the comma (,).

When you have finished assigning shortcut keys, click CLOSE on the Customize dialog. Check out my new menu with the N key assigned to the Add Noise command:

N key assigned to add noise command

To view all shortcut keys that have been assigned, including the ones you have assigned, choose Help...Keyboard Map to open the Help Keyboard dialog. Here's that dialog in PSP X2:

Keyboard Map dialog

In the Show Accelerator for drop-list (#1 above), pick which application's shortcuts you want to view:

Version Note: In early versions of PSP, this drop-list will contain Browser and Default (for PSP's main workspace). In later versions of PSP that do not have a Browser, this drop-list will contain only Default.

In the Category drop-list (#2 above), select a category, or select All Commands to list all commands at once. Click any column heading (#3) to sort the list alphabetically by that column. Finally, use the Print ICON (#4 above) to print the current category of shortcut keys.


STEP 8

You can also customize the Context menus using the Customize dialog - these are the menus that open when you right-click with a certain tool, or right-click over a certain area of the workspace. To activate a context menu for customization, open the Customize dialog, and then click the Menu tab. From the Select context menu drop-list (red arrow), choose a context menu. The context menu will display in the workspace. In this screenshot, I've activated the Pen Tool Context Menu - the one you get when you right-click while using the Pen tool. I've moved the context menu over onto the Customize dialog box to save space - yours will activate in the workspace:

menus tab - context menus

Edit the context menus just like any other menu. Notice, too, that you can reset any of these context menus. So, if you decide you want to remove all your customization, just choose the Context Menu you want to reset from the Select context menu drop-list (red arrow), and click the RESET button (blue arrow).


STEP 9

You can also delete menus if you want. In Customize mode, just drag the menu into an unused area, off toolbars and menu bars. Drop the menu when the cursor changes to this:

iconx icon

Presto, the menu is GONE!

This can be done OUTSIDE the Customize dialog, too. Just hold the ALT key down while dragging a menu to an unused area, and it's gone! And remember, if you "goof" and remove a menu you need, just enter Customize mode, click the Menu tab, choose the appropriate Application Frame, and click the RESET button - this will, however, reset all menus in that Application Frame to factory defaults, so you'll lose any customization. Just bear that in mind if you decide to reset menus.


STEP 10

One last item while we're talking about customizing menus. There's a lot of extra space left over on that Menu Bar, and it could be put to good use! I've dragged several icons to mine - things I use often, and don't want to search through menus to find. Some of the icons I've dragged to my Menu Bar include the Close All Images icon and the Merge Down and Merge Visible icons. I also like to keep the Edit Selections icon up there handy, and the File Locations, General Preferences, and Customize buttons. Hey, if you can find it in the Customize commands list, you can drag it anywhere you want. It's your system - make it rock!

Here's a Menu Bar with some of the icons mentioned above:

icons on menu bar




That's about it. You have the tools now to build your own customized menus, or tailor the PSP menus to your personal specifications. Have fun, and use your new skills to make your workspace work for you. When you've finished setting up all your menus the way you want them, save your workspace (File...Workspace...Save). Then, if you ever need to reinstall or repair PSP, you can reload your customized workspace with all your settings intact, because the saved workspace "remembers" your menu, palette, and toolbar settings, location, and docking status.

If you'd like to learn how to create your own toolbars, or make changes to the PSP toolbars, try my Customizing Toolbars in PSP tutorial.


If you have any problems, comments, or questions, please do not hesitate to Email me.


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