Photoshop Quick Tip – How to Change the Color of Your Workspace

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to change your workspace color, as shown in the above image.

Here I have a photo I took on Block Island. The default workspace around the photo is a pale gray:

To change the color of the work space, all I have to do is “right click” anywhere on the area of the workspace. This will bring up a menu. The default “Gray” has a check next to it:

I can set it to”Black” or I can select a custom color:

I’d like to make a custom color of dark gray. I’ll click on the Select Custom Color option and the color picker will come up. I’ll drag the white circle to a dark gray area. I’ll be able to see the color I choose in the preview box. Then I’ll click OK:

Here is what it looks like with the dark gray workspace:

If I should change my mind and decide I want the workspace back to its default setting, all I have to do is right click anywhere on the workspace. Then choose the “Gray” option:

Here’s a sample of different colors to choose from:

30 thoughts on “Photoshop Quick Tip – How to Change the Color of Your Workspace”

  1. Thanks so much for posting this!

    I changed the color of my workspace by accident (to black) and couldn’t figure out how to turn it back to default gray. Your tip saved the day! πŸ™‚

  2. I have a question on this. Why would you typically change the background color as it’s not part of the photo anyway? Is it just to make the photo not blend into the background too much while you work on it? Or perhaps I have misunderstood this whole thing? Pls clarify, sorry if I am asking a dumb question πŸ™

  3. Hi, Rupa. The reason I posted this is because some people might be interested in changing their color space. Either way, it’s something you should know about. For example, if you look at the above comments, someone changed it by accident, and this tutorial helped them put it back to the original default.

    The more you know about the program your using, the more comfortable you are with it, and you won’t be afraid to experiment.


  4. I’m using Photoshop 7 and I was wondering how I would change it in this version? No right click box comes up when I right click anyway, and I accidentally changed it to white.

  5. Hi, Alice,

    I haven’t used Photoshop 7 in a long time, but hopefully it’ll be in the Edit Preferences menu option. Go to Edit / Preferences, then click on the Interface option. When that box comes up, at the top of the box it says “Standard Screen Mode”. Drop down the menu, and pick gray.

    I hope this helps. If not, let me know.


  6. Finally. For six weeks I could not get my workspace back to gray. Tonight out of desperation I brought up and typed the question “how do I change my workspace color in photoshop” and BING…I got your answer. Thank you thank you.


  7. thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy ooooooooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu u helped so much was iratating thanks

  8. cnt believe it was that simple! had been bugging me that fact that some how my workspace was bright green! RELIEF! thanks so much after trying just the right click b4 it didnt work on my mac. it does work doing so after holding the ctrl button tho πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  9. I’m a weekend user of Adobe so my learning curve is always straight up on some of the simplest things. It’s fixed! Thank you soooooooo much!

  10. Thanks so much, I accidently turned eveything white. It wasn’t that I couldn’t work with it but it was driving me nuts that I couldn’t change it back.

    I use photoshop 6 and it’s the same instructions as per photoshop 7

  11. I too accidently change the default colour of grey to black… and was looking everywhere how to change it. This was quick, to the point and super easy! Thank you! Life saver

  12. I’m with everyone else Thank you!!! …quick simple fix…when you find out how!! Thank you Thank you!! Now, I’m smiling again. :-)))

  13. THANKS for posting this. I accidentally changed the workspace to black and it was driving me crazy! It was so simple to change it back…..but not if you don’t know how.

  14. Thanks so much! Yup! I tripped on the background color change too…and couldn’t figure out how to get the bright blue new custom backing to go away!

  15. Thank you, Lorri for this post! I am one of the people who accidently changed it, but it will be helpful knowledge for matting consideration and contrast.

  16. OMG, thank you so much! I have been stuck working around this and it was very frustrating. I can’t believe it was so stinking easy to change back, lol!

  17. I have a different, but perhaps related problem: I have accidentally changed the “background colour” of the actual photo, i.e. not the workspace around it, but what’s INSIDE the photo frame, to a rather yellowish colour, i.e. not white/transparent. This means that when I want to create a New photo, the grid comes up yellow – and when I open existing photos, they have the same yellow/beige colour on top of the photos which looks like a yellow filter or something. I can’t for the life of me figure out how to change this back to default. Any ideas?

  18. The big question that several have mentioned but nobody has answered is what in heaven is the keyboard shortcut for changing the background? I too have several times accidentally pressed a key that changed the background. It shows there IS a shortcut key, undocumented.

  19. PSE 4 is not changed by these instructions, any idea how i can get my workspace back to light gray in PSE4?

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