How To Create A New Document In Photoshop CC

How To Create A New Document In Photoshop CC

Learn how to create new documents in Photoshop using the redesigned New Document dialog box in Photoshop CC. You'll learn how to create new documents from presets and by using your own custom document sizes. You'll also learn how to save your custom settings as new presets!

Written by Steve Patterson.

To follow along with this tutorial, you'll want to be using Photoshop CC and you'll want to make sure that your copy of Photoshop CC is up to date. This tutorial is Part 3 in our Opening Images into Photoshop series. Let's get started!

Creating New Documents vs Opening Images In Photoshop

Before we begin, let's talk briefly about the difference between creating a new document in Photoshop and opening an existing image into Photoshop. When we create a new Photoshop document, we create what is essentially a blank canvas. Once we've created the canvas (the document), we can then import images, graphics or other design assets into it. New documents are perfect for design layouts, whether for print or for the web. You simply create a new blank document at the size you need and then begin adding and arranging your various elements.

New documents are also great for digital painting with Photoshop's brushes, and for creating composites from multiple images. Basically, any time you want to start with a blank canvas and then add your content as you go, you'll want to create a new Photoshop document. We'll learn how to create new documents in this tutorial.

If you're a photographer, rather than creating a new document, you'll most likely want to start by opening an existing image into Photoshop. Opening images is different from creating new documents. We've already learned how to set Photoshop as our default image editor for both Windows and Mac. We'll learn other ways of getting our images into Photoshop beginning with the next tutorial in this series, How to open images in Photoshop CC.

Creating A New Photoshop Document

To create a new document in Photoshop, we use the New Document dialog box. There's a few ways to get to it. One way is by clicking the Create new button on Photoshop's Start screen:

Clicking the Create new button on the Start screen.
Click the "Create new" button to create a new Photoshop document.

Another is by going up to the File menu in the Menu Bar along the top of the screen and choosing New. This is helpful if you already have one or more documents open and don't have access to the Start screen, or if you've disabled the Start workspace:

Selecting the New command from under the File menu.
Going to File > New.

Or, you can use the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+N (Win) / Command+N (Mac). Any way you choose opens the New Document dialog box:

The redesigned New Document dialog box in Photoshop CC.
The redesigned New Document dialog box in Photoshop CC.

The New Document Dialog Box

Along the top of the New Document dialog box is a row of categories (Recent, Saved, Photo, Print, Art & Illustration, Web, Mobile, and Film & Video). By default, the New Document dialog box opens to the Recent category. Any document sizes you've used recently will appear as thumbnails in the Recent Items area below.

In my case, all I'm seeing at the moment is the default Photoshop size but you may be seeing others as well if you've already created one or more new documents. We'll come back to the Recent category a bit later:

The New Document dialog box opens to the Recent category.
Any recently-used document sizes appear in the Recent category.

Creating New Photoshop Documents From Presets

The best way to start when creating a new Photoshop document is to see if there's already a preset we can use that matches the size we need. First, choose the type of document you want to create (photo, web, mobile, etc.) from the categories along the top. I'll choose Photo:

Choosing Photo from the document categories in the New Document dialog box.
Choosing a document category.

Preset document sizes for your chosen category will appear below. Only a few presets are displayed at first. To see more of them, click View All Presets +:

Clicking the View All Presets option.
Clicking the "View All Presets +" option.

Use the scroll bar along the right to scroll through the presets. If you see one that matches your needs, click on it to select it. I'll choose Landscape, 8 x 10:

Choosing a preset document size.
Choosing a preset document size.

The Preset Details Panel

The details of the preset appear in the Preset Details panel along the right of the dialog box. After choosing the Landscape, 8 x 10 preset, we see that sure enough, this preset will create a document with a Width of 10 inches and a Height of 8 inches. It also sets the Resolution to 300 pixels/inch which is a standard resolution for print:

The Preset Details panel in the New Document dialog box.
The Preset Details panel in the New Document dialog box.

If you're happy with the settings, click the Create button in the bottom right of the dialog box:

Clicking the Create button in the New Document dialog box.
Clicking the Create button.

This closes the New Document dialog box and opens your new document in Photoshop:

The new document opens in Photoshop.
The new document is created.

Verifying The Document Size

If you're the skeptical type, you can verify that the document is the size you wanted using Photoshop's Image Size dialog box. To do that, go up to the Image menu at the top of the screen and choose Image Size:

Selecting Image Size in Photoshop.
Going to Image > Image Size.

This opens the Image Size dialog box where we see that the Width of the document is in fact 10 inches, the Height is 8 inches, and the Resolution is set to 300 pixels/inch:

The Image Size dialog box in Photoshop.
Verifying the settings with the Image Size dialog box.

I'll close out of the Image Size dialog box by clicking the Cancel button:

Clicking the Cancel button in the Image Size dialog box.
Closing the Image Size dialog box without making any changes.

Then, I'll close out of my new document by going up to the File menu and choosing Close:

Choosing the Close command from under the File menu.
Going to File > Close.

Since I have no other documents open at the moment, Photoshop returns me to the Start screen. I'll open the New Document dialog box once again by clicking the Create new button:

Clicking the Create new button on the Start screen.
Clicking the "Create new" button.

The New Document dialog box again opens to the Recent category where this time, it's displaying not only the default Photoshop size but also the Landscape, 8 x 10 preset that I just used. If I wanted to quickly create a new document using either of these sizes, all I would need to do is double-click on the one I need:

My previously-used document size now appears in the Recent list.
My previously-used document size now appears in the Recent list.
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Creating New Documents From Custom Settings

If none of the presets will work, we can easily use our own custom settings simply by entering whatever values we need into the Preset Details panel (which should probably have been called the Document Details panel since we're no longer using a preset).

If I want to create, say, a 13 inch by 19 inch document, all I need to do is set the Width value to 13 inches and the Height value to 19 inches. I'm using inches here as an example, but if you click the measurement type box, you'll find options for other measurement types as well, like pixels, centimeters, millimeters and more:

Entering custom width and height values for the new document.
Entering my own custom Width and Height values.

If you need to swap the Width and Height values to change the orientation of the document, click either the Portrait or Landscape orientation buttons:

The Portrait and Landscape orientation buttons.
The Portrait (left) and Landscape (right) orientation buttons.

Any of the settings in the Preset Details panel can be changed as needed. To change the background color of your new document to something other than white (the default color), click on the Background Contents option where you'll see that you can also choose black, or you can choose your current Background color, or you can choose Transparent. Choosing Custom or clicking the color swatch will open Photoshop's Color Picker where you can choose any color you need:

The Portrait and Landscape orientation buttons.
The Background Contents options.

Color Mode And Bit Depth

Other options we can change in the Preset Details panel include the document's Color Mode where we can choose from RGB, CMYK, Grayscale and others. In most cases, you'll want to leave it set to RGB Color. If you're interested in learning more about RGB color, be sure to check out our RGB And Color Channels Explained tutorial.

You can also change the document's Bit Depth, from 8 bit to 16 bit or 32 bit. This is a more advanced topic, but I cover the difference between 8 bit and 16 bit in our Benefits Of Working With 16-Bit Images tutorial. You can safely leave it set to 8 bit:

The Color Mode and Bit Depth options in the New Document dialog box.
The Color Mode (left) and Bit Depth (right) options.

When you're happy with your settings, click the Create button in the bottom right of the dialog box. I'm not going to do that just yet, though, because in the next section, we'll learn how to save our settings as a custom preset!

Saving Your New Document Settings As A Preset

If you know you'll need the same document size again in the future, you can save your settings as a custom preset. To do that, click the Save icon at the top of the Preset Details panel:

Clicking the Save icon in the New Document dialog box.
Clicking the Save icon.

Give your preset a descriptive name. I'll name mine "Landscape, 13 x 19". Then, click the Save Preset button:

Naming the preset and then clicking the Save Preset button.
Naming the preset, then clicking "Save Preset".

The New Document dialog box will open to the Saved category where you'll find your new preset, along with any other presets you've created. To use the preset in the future, simply open the Saved category and double-click on the preset's thumbnail:

The new preset appears in the Saved category.
The new preset appears in the Saved category.

Deleting A Saved Preset

If you need to delete the preset at some point, click the trash bin icon in the upper right of the thumbnail:

The new preset appears in the Saved category.
Click the trash bin to delete the preset.

Now that I've saved my settings as a preset, I'll create the new document by clicking the Create button in the bottom right corner:

Clicking the Create button in the New Document dialog box.
Clicking the Create button.

This once again closes the New Document dialog box and opens my new document in Photoshop:

Clicking the Create button in the New Document dialog box.
The second new document appears.

How To Restore Photoshop's Legacy New Document Dialog Box

Finally, if you're a long-time Photoshop user, you may feel like the redesigned New Document dialog box in Photoshop CC is a bit too much. Personally, I've grown to like it, but if you prefer the old style dialog box, you can easily switch back to it using Photoshop's Preferences.

On a Windows PC, go up to the Edit menu at the top of the screen, choose Preferences, and then choose General. On a Mac, go up to the Photoshop CC menu, choose Preferences, then choose General. Or, you can use the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+K (Win) / Command+K (Mac):

Opening the General Preferences in Photoshop.
Going to Edit (Win) / Photoshop CC (Mac) > Preferences > General.

This opens the Preferences dialog box set to the General options. Look for the option that says Use Legacy "New Document" Interface and click inside its checkbox to enable it:

Turning on the Use Legacy New Document Interface option.
Turning on the 'Use Legacy "New Document" Interface' option.

Click OK to close the Preferences dialog box. The next time you go to create a new document, the New Document dialog box will appear in its more streamlined, original form. To switch to the redesigned version, just go back to the same option in Photoshop's Preferences and uncheck it:

The legacy version of the New Document dialog box.
The original, "legacy" version of the New Document dialog box.

Where to go next...

And there we have it! That's how to create new documents in Photoshop! In the next tutorial in our Opening Images into Photoshop, we'll learn how to open an existing image in Photoshop! This series is part of our Photoshop Basics training.