Use the Touch Bar with Photoshop

Learn how to work with the MacBook Pro Touch Bar in Photoshop.

Photoshop supports Touch Bar, the multitouch display at the top of the new MacBook Pro keyboard. Using the Touch Bar, you can access Photoshop features and controls right in the context of your current task on the main screen. The Touch Bar supports familiar gestures, such as tap, drag, and slide.

Touch Bar support in Photoshop is currently a technology preview feature.


For more information about Touch Bar fundamentals, see this Apple documentation page.

Touch Bar interface

By default, a part of the Touch Bar interface is reserved for macOS system controls. Controls for Photoshop are displayed in the app-specific area in the middle of the Touch Bar interface.

Default Touch Bar interface

A. Photoshop controls B. macOS system controls (Control Strip and Esc) 


If necessary, you can configure the Touch Bar to display only app-specific controls. In this configuration, the middle and right parts of the Touch Bar interface (B on the right + A) display Photoshop controls. To do so, in the macOS System Preferences > Keyboard dialog, select Touch Bar Shows: App Controls.

Touch Bar modes in Photoshop

Tap the  icon in the Touch Bar to choose one of the three available modes:

Layer Properties

() Default mode; lets you work with Layer properties and related functions


() Lets you work with Brush and paint properties


() Customizable mode to which you can add your favorite controls

Context-sensitive operations

In addition to the commands available in the three modes, several context-specific operations become available depending on what you're working on in Photoshop.

  • When a modal tool, such as Text or Transform is active, the Touch Bar displays OK and Cancel.
  • When the Select & Mask taskspace is active, the Touch Bar displays controls related to making selections.

Photoshop controls in the Touch Bar

Default Mode Icon Control name Description
All three
History Scubber

Works much like the History panel in Photoshop. Use this control to jump to any recent state of the document created during the current session. Each time you apply a change to the document, a new document state is added.

Tap the History Scrubber icon to view thumbnails representing document states. Scroll through or tap the thumbnails to navigate the document history.

For related useful information, see Using the History panel.

Layer Properties
Add Content Imports a file into the currently-open document using the Place Embedded command. See Place files in Photoshop.

Layer Visibility and Opacity

Adjusts the layer opacity and visibility. 

  • Use the slider to adjust layer opacity (0-100%). The buttons at either end of the slider decrease or increase the value by a preset amount.
  • Tap the  icon to hide the layer altogether.

You can use this command by tapping or by simply pressing and holding over the tap gesture. The changes you make in the Touch Bar reflect instantaneously in the Layers panel.

Blend Mode Lets you scroll through the available blending modes—Normal, Dissolve, Darken, etc—and select the one you want. For more information, see Blending modes in Photoshop

Clipping Mask Makes a layer a clipping mask or reverts it from that state. For related information, see Reveal layers with clipping masks.

Select & Mask Launches the Select & Mask taskspace.

Displays a color picker for the foreground color. The first 16 swatches are displayed by default.

  • Long-press any swatch to get hues.
  • Click the  icon to make finer adjustments by individually adjusting hue, saturation, and brightness (HSB).

Brush Size

Controls the size of the current brush. This command is active when a brush allowing for multiple sizes is selected.

For more information about brush options, see:

Brush Hardness Controls the hardness of the current brush. This command is active when a brush that allows multiple hardness values is selected.

Brush Opacity Controls the opacity of the current brush. This command is active when a brush that supports opacity is selected. 

Brush Flow Controls the flow of the current brush. This command is active when a brush that supports flow is selected. 
Screen Mode Toggles between the normal screen mode and full screen mode

New Layer Invokes the New Layer command

Flip Vertical Flips the contents of the current set of selected layers vertically

Flip Horizontal Flips the contents of the current set of selected layers horizontally
None by default* 
Fill Mode Invokes the Fill command with the Content-Aware Fill option preselected. For more information, see Use content-aware fills.

Duplicate Layer Duplicates the currently-selected layer
Share Shares a preview of the current document state in the JPEG format. The maximum shareable size is 1024 x 1024 px.

* You can add these controls to the Touch Bar modes by customizing them.

Customize the Touch Bar modes


Photoshop provides three settings for the Touch Bar under Preferences > Technology Previews. These settings are enabled by default.

Enable Touch Bar

Enables/disables the Touch Bar while working in Photoshop

Show Touch Bar Property Adjustments

Shows/hides the informational pop-up windows displayed when you modify properties, such as Brush Size, using the Touch Bar

Add and delete commands from the Touch Bar

You can add and delete commands to any of the three Touch Bar modes in Photoshop. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the Touch Bar mode to which you want to add or remove items: Layer Properties, Brushes, or Favorites.

  2. In Photoshop, select View > Customize Touch Bar.

    Photoshop invokes the standard macOS interface for customizing the Touch Bar. For more information about this interface, see "Customize your Touch Bar" on this Apple documentation page.

  3. Drag commands down into the Touch Bar, toward the bottom edge of your MacBook Pro's main display. You can also drag commands within the Touch Bar to arrange them, or drag them up and out of the Touch Bar to remove them.

    When you're modifying the Touch Bar, the  icon (Space) indicates an empty slot where you can add a command.

    Customize the Touch Bar; this illustration shows the Favorites mode in Photoshop

    • Select Show Typing Suggestions if you want to see autocomplete suggestions while entering or editing certain text related inputs, such as layer names.
    • To restore a mode layout to its default state, drag the Default Set strip down onto the Touch Bar while that mode is enabled.
  4. When you've finished making changes, click Done.

    macOS takes you back to Photoshop.

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