How to Open the Gradient Editor in CS3


Photoshop CS3 offers many powerful image effects and editing capabilities, including the Gradient tool function. However, in an attempt to streamline the user interface for this particular tool, the software designers made its editing window (the "Gradient Editor") notoriously difficult for users to find. You can't access the Gradient Editor through drop-down menus. Rather, you must left click a particular toolbar button while the Gradient tool is selected.

  • Maximize the Photoshop window on your desktop.

  • Press "M" to select the "Rectangular Marquee Tool."

  • Click, drag and release your mouse to select the area on which you want to the gradient to go. The selected area will appear as a rectangle bounded by moving dashes.

  • Press "G" to select the Gradient tool. When you do this, a long, narrow icon with a downward-pointing triangle on the end will appear in the upper left corner of the program window. We'll call this the "Gradient" button.

  • Click on the downward-pointing triangle on the right end of the "Gradient" button. This will cause a menu with several different thumbnail images to drop down. In the upper right corner of this new drop-down menu, you'll find a circular button that contains a triangle pointing to the right.

  • Click on this circular button. A long drop-down menu will appear to the right.

  • In this new drop-down menu, click "New Gradient." This will cause a window titled "Gradient Name" to pop up.

  • Click "OK" to close the window and create the gradient.

  • To open the Gradient Editor for this newly created gradient, click on the long, colored part of the "Gradient" button. This will cause the Gradient Editor window to finally open.

Tips & Warnings

  • For a video tutorial that shows how to open the Gradient Editor, see Resources below.

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  • Photo Credit Ciaran Griffin/Lifesize/Getty Images
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