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Have you ever spent a lot of time working on an image and when you finally see the image printed, you are totally disappointed. The image has come out too dark or too light, or the color is very different than you expected. Well, Adobe Photoshop has a feedback tool to help you anticipate what your image will look like…Photoshop’s Info Pallet. The little Info Pallet usually sits in the top right corner of the screen unnoticed by the average user, but it is chock full of great information.
First, let’s talk about what is in the Info Pallet (Fig. 1), if your Info Pallet is not showing, select Show Info from the Window menu. The Info Pallet is divided into four quadrants. The top two quadrants show color readouts in two color modes. The lower left quadrant shows mouse coordinates and the lower right quadrant shows height and width of selection areas.

Fig. 1

There are options that can be set for the information shown by selecting Pallet Options from the flyout menu of the Info Pallet (Fig. 2). My suggestion for the settings are shown here, I like to show the Actual Color in the First Color Readout, and have the Second Color Readout display either Grayscale or Web Colors depending on the project that I am working on. The last setting, Mouse Coordinates, should be set to the measurement system you are using, usually Inches, but Pixels if you are creating graphics for the Web.
Fig. 2
When working with images, the image you see on screen will never look like what you get on paper, no matter if you print to an inkjet printer, commercial offset press or photo printer like the LightJet 5000. Some colors that the screen can display will not translate to the printed page, but double checking the "numbers" in the Info Pallet before finalizing your image will help prevent grossly unwanted color shifts. By putting the cursor over an area of your image, you can see the actual color numbers in the top left quadrant of the Info Pallet (Fig. 3). This shows me that since the Blue value is higher than the others, that my white wall will print with a bluish cast. This can be fixed with the Curves (Image: Adjust: Curves) or Color Balance tools (Image: Adjust: Color Balance).
Fig. 3
Another useful aspect of the Info Pallet is its ability to show the angle or length of a line. Since my image was not scanned straight, I could rotate it by eye and hope to get it straight, or I could simply have Photoshop tell me the angle to rotate it. Using the Measure Tool from the Toolbox (it looks like a little ruler) draw a line over one of the straight lines in your image (Fig. 4). The top right quadrant of the Info Pallet shows me the angle is -.08º or .08º counterclockwise. Now all I have to do to straighten out my image is to use the Arbitrary Rotation command (from the menu Image: Rotate: Arbitrary) to rotate the picture the correct amount.
Fig. 4
Paul Vaughn is the Director of Digital Services at River City Silver, the premiere photographic and digital imaging laboratory in San Antonio and South Texas. Mr. Vaughn is a graphic artist in need of as much information as his brain can process. His web site is at, he can be contacted at

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