Customizing Toolbars in PSP

Created March 14, 2003 © Copyright SuzShook
Made "Version-Independent" March 2009
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 toolbars - how to add or remove tools from toolbars, how to move tools from one toolbar to another, how to add keyboard shortcuts to tools, and even how to create your own personalized toolbars. 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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Paint Shop Pro gives the user almost total control over the program's toolbars. You can move commands from toolbar to toolbar, add almost any command to a toolbar, add tools to palettes, add scripts to toolbars, and even create your own custom toolbars. 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 toolbars are the Commands, Toolbars, 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 toolbars are displayed, click the Toolbars tab. Mark the check boxes next to the names of the toolbars you want to display.

customize dialog

During this session, you will be able to either add tools/commands to or remove tools from all visible toolbars. You can turn off, or hide, any of the toolbars by clearing the check box next to its name.

Note: In addition to the toolbars, this tab also contains two palettes (the Layers palette and the History palette) and the Menu bar, included because for the most part, they can be customized the same way as toolbars. However, you cannot turn off, or hide, either of these palettes, or the Menu bar by UNchecking their check boxes.
Version Note: In PSP 8, 9, and X, there will also be a Browser toolbar in this list, and in PSP 9, the History palette will be listed as "History Toolbar".

For demonstration purposes in this tutorial, be sure the Tools toolbar is checked.


To remove a tool from a toolbar, click the item and drag it to an area without a toolbar - like into the workspace. Release the mouse button anywhere when you see the cursor change to this shape, and the tool is gone:

iconx icon

Just for practice, let's remove the Move tool from the Tools toolbar. Don't worry, we'll put it back in the next step:

Click the Move tool
Drag it to an open
area in the workspace
Drop it by releasing
the mouse button.
mover tool selected
dragging mover tool into workspace
mover tool dropped

Presto, gone from the toolbar!

Note #1: An alternate method of removing a tool from a toolbar is to right-click on the object you want to remove and choose Delete from the context menu.

Note #2: You can also remove a tool from a toolbar outside Customize mode by holding down the ALT key while dragging the tool to an empty workspace area outside a toolbar. Release the cursor when it changes to this shape:

iconx icon


To add commands or tools to a toolbar:

  • Click the Commands tab of the Customize dialog.
  • From the Categories list, select a category - PSP groups related commands into categories.
  • From the Commands list, click and drag a command or tool icon to a toolbar.
    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 Move tool back on the Tools toolbar. In the Categories list (red arrow), scroll down until you find the Tools category. In the Commands list (blue arrow), scroll down until you find the Move tool, and click on it:

selecting a tool to add

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

icon icon

Drag the Move tool to the Tools toolbar - move it around until the heavy I-bar is where you want the Move tool located - and drop it by releasing the mouse button.

Drag the Move tool
to the toolbar
Drop it by releasing
the mouse button.
placing the tool
toolbar after tool added

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


To move a tool from one location to another, or from one toolbar to another, click on the tool, and drag to the new location/toolbar.

Note: To COPY a tool from one location to another, click on the tool, and hold down the CTRL key while dragging the tool to the new location.

Many of the tools on the toolbar exist only on the flyout menus. To move a tool from a flyout menu to the toolbar, click the down-arrow on the tool whose flyout menu contains the tool you want to move and drag the tool from the flyout to the toolbar.

For example, if you want to move the Magic Wand from the Selection flyout to the Tools toolbar, click the Selection tool down-arrow - the flyout appears:

selection tool flyout

Click the Magic Wand tool - notice the heavy black line surrounding the tool to signify it has been selected:

selecting the magic wand

Use your left mouse button to drag/move the Magic Wand tool to the toolbar - the heavy I-bar indicates where it will be placed. When you have the I-bar where you want the Magic Wand, drop it there by releasing the mouse button:

Drag the Magic Wand
tool to the toolbar
Drop it by releasing
the mouse button.
moving the magic wand
magic wand on toolbar
Note: As with removing a tool from a toolbar outside Customize mode, you can also move a tool from one location to another outside Customize mode. Just hold down the ALT key while dragging the tool from its current location to its new location, releasing the mouse button when the heavy I-bar is located exactly where you want this tool to be placed.

And that's all there is to it.

I also moved the Freehand Selection tool from this flyout back to the toolbar, as well as many of the other tools from flyouts. You can set the Tools toolbar up the way it's comfortable for you.

You can move a tool to a flyout in much the same manner. Activate the flyout by clicking on the tool down-arrow. Then, grab the tool from the toolbar (or from the Commands list window) and drag/move it to the flyout - the long I-bar indicates where the tool will be placed. Here, I'm returning the Magic Wand tool to the Selection flyout:

magic wand returning to flyout

I find it much easier to move tools from the Commands list window to the flyouts than to try to move the tools from the toolbar. Either way works, but if you use the Commands list, don't forget to remove the tool from the toolbar once you've added it to the flyout.


If you run into trouble customizing your Tools toolbar, you can always reset it to the factory default settings. To reset a toolbar:

  • Click the Toolbars tab.
  • In the Toolbars list, click the name of the toolbar to reset.
  • Click the RESET button.

To reset all toolbars, click the RESET ALL button - all toolbars will revert to the program's default settings, and you will lose any customization you have done.


You can easily create a custom toolbar for your favorite commands or tools. To do this, on the Toolbars tab, Click the NEW button:

creating a new toolbar

This will open the Toolbar Name dialog. Type a name for the new toolbar and click OK - I called mine SuzTools. A small empty toolbar will open in the middle of the workspace, which will probably be right in the center of the Customize Toolbars dialog. If so, move it to a blank area of the workspace so you can watch as you add tools. Here's my SuzTools toolbar before adding any tools - not too impressive at this stage!

custom toolbar

Add commands and tools to your new toolbar as we did above in Step 3. You can even add tools to flyouts if you wish. Notice that each tool you add to your toolbar has the drop-down arrow, so you can create flyouts if you wish. Once you terminate the Customize dialog, these arrows will disappear except where tools have been added to a flyout.

You can move the tools around on your toolbar while you are in customize mode - just drag and drop. If you want to add separators between elements in your toolbar, right-click on any item in the toolbar and choose Include Separator from the context menu. Remove separators the same way - this is a "toggle" command.

You can use the Customize dialog to RENAME or DELETE your personal toolbars, but you can't RESET them - they have no "factory-set" defaults.

When you are done building your toolbar, click CLOSE on the Customize dialog. Your customized toolbar will now show up whenever you list toolbars. Once you've built your personalized Tools toolbar, you can deactivate the PSP default Tools toolbar, docking your toolbar on the left side of your screen. To do this, right-click on any toolbar and choose ToolBars from the context menu (or choose View...Toolbars). If you have Menu icons checked on the Menu tab of Customize, the active toolbars are those whose buttons have been depressed - they appear outlined and with a colored background:

toolbars dialog

If you do not have Menu icons checked on the Menu tab of Customize, the active toolbars are those with check marks next to them. Here's what my Toolbars look like in PSP X2:

toolbars dialog

In the above diagrams, I have deactivated the PSP Tools toolbar - the Browser (in the top screenshot), Effects, and Web toolbars are also inactive. Notice, even my SuzTools toolbar shows up.

Customization Note: I not only created my own Tools toolbar, but as you can see above, I also created my own Standard toolbar - calling it SuzStandard, of course. On this toolbar, I put the tools I use most frequently. Here's my "new" standard toolbar, the SuzStandard toolbar - I've printed the SuzStandand toolbar in 2 rows for this tutorial, but in reality this is just one continuous toolbar across the top of my screen:

first half of my standard toolbar

second half of my standard toolbar


You might want to add commands and/or tools to other toolbars, including the Layers palette. In early versions of PSP, the Layers palette has icons for creating new raster, vector, and art media layers, showing all masks, grouping layers, deleting layers, and editing selections. In later versions, the Layers palette is more stripped down, showing a drop-list icon for adding layers, a delete layer icon, and an edit selection icon. You may want to change this, removing some icons, and/or adding others. For example, if you use selections frequently, you might want to add the icons for adding selections to and from disk, and maybe even to and from alpha channels. Let's try that.

If you keep your Layers palette rolled up, hover your cursor over it to open it. Click on the Auto Hide push pin button in the upper right hand corner so it points down - this will keep the Layers palette open while you are editing it:

layer palette toolbar

Now start the Customize dialog. Click the Commands tab (blue arrow), find Selections in the Categories window (red arrow), and scroll down to find the Load Selection and Save Selection commands in the Commands window - the green arrow is pointing to the Load Selection From Disk command:

customize dialog - selections commands

Click and drag the commands to the Layers palette. Here's my Layers palette toolbar in PSP X2 with the Load and Save Selections commands added (red circle) and the popular Duplicate Layer icon returned to its familiar position blue arrow):

updated layer palette toolbar

Note: If you keep your Layers palette rolled up, click on the Auto Hide push pin button so it points to the left so your Layers palette will roll up.

When you have finished updating your toolbars, click CLOSE on the Customize dialog.


There's only one more thing to learn about customizing our toolbars in PSP, and that's how to add a keyboard shortcut to a toolbar item. When you look closely at the Tools toolbar, you'll see that only one keyboard shortcut has been assigned to each "group" of tools. In other words, S is the shortcut for the Selection tool, but there's no shortcut key assigned to either of the other selection tools grouped with the Selection tool on the Selection tool flyout - the Magic Wand and Freehand Selection tools. At the very least, I wanted to assign a shortcut key to the Magic Wand, because I use it all the time.

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

customize dialog - keyboard tab

In the Set Accelerator for drop-list (red arrow), select which application's shortcuts you want to assign - choose Browser for the Browser window, or Default for PSP's main workspace.

Version Note: The Set Accelerator drop-list is only seen in versions PSP 8, 9, and X, when PSP had a Browser. In later versions that do not have a Browser, this drop-list does not appear.

In the Category drop-list (green arrow), select a category to find all commands within that category. The commands will be listed in the Commands window (blue arrow).

Note: The categories on this tab are in the same order as on the Commands tab - the order they appear on menus and toolbars.

Let's select the Tools category. Notice that as you scroll down through the tools in the Commands window, the currently assigned shortcut key appears in the Current Keys window (red arrow). In this image, you can see that the Clone tool has been assigned the keyboard shortcut C:

clone key assignment

If there is no assigned key, that window is blank.

In the next image, I have scrolled down to the Magic Wand tool - note that the Current Keys window is blank (green arrow). Move your cursor to the Press New Shortcut Key window (yellow arrow), and type M. If the key you select is currently assigned, the current assignment will be listed above the window. As you can see, M is assigned to the Move tool (red arrow).

M key assigned to Move tool

If you want to reassign M to the Magic Wand tool, click on the ASSIGN button (blue arrow). If you want to leave the M as assigned, choose another letter and type in the box.

Note: Don't try to erase the M with the DELETE key or the BACKSPACE key - this dialog will think you want to assign that key (the DELETE key or the BACKSPACE key) to the Magic Wand tool. Just type the new letter and it will replace the M.

I finally chose W for my Magic Wand.

Continue in this way, assigning keyboard shortcuts to your tools. I assigned keyboard shortcuts for most of my tools, especially the ones I use most frequently. When you are finished, click the Close button. Now when I hover the cursor over the Magic Wand tool, the tool tip will contain the keyboard shortcut I assigned:

Magic Wand tooltip

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.

That's about it. You have the tools now to build your own customized toolbars. Have fun, and use your new skills to make your workspace work for you. When you've finished setting up all your toolbars 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 want to tailor the PSP menus, or build your own menus, try my Customizing Menus in PSP tutorial.

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


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