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Set General preferences

In the General tab, you can control different features of Pixelmator Pro, from the way the application and its elements look like and how it displays documents, to how images are opened. You can also turn things like guides, action tooltips, and information labels on or off.

Change Pixelmator Pro appearance

You can work with Pixelmator Pro in light or dark mode. Pixelmator Pro can also adapt to your macOS appearance automatically.

To switch between light and dark appearances:

  1. Choose Pixelmator Pro > Preferences (from the Pixelmator Pro menu at the top of your screen).
  2. In the General tab, do one of the following:
    • Click the thumbnail of your preferred appearance to select it.
    • Select "Set appearance automatically" to set Pixelmator Pro appearance according to the current macOS appearance.

Note: This feature is available on macOS Mojave and later.

Customize the background of the Pixelmator Pro application window

You can change the background color of the Pixelmator Pro application window. Doing this can make it easier to work with documents that might have the same background color as the window background.

  1. Choose Pixelmator Pro > Preferences (from the Pixelmator Pro menu at the top of your screen).
  2. In the General tab, do one of the following:

    • Click the Window Background pop-up menu and choose Higher Contrast.
    • Click the color well next to the Window Background pop-up menu to pick a custom background color.

    To reset the background color to default, click the Window Background pop-up menu and choose Default.

Customize the transparency grid

The checkerboard grid indicates transparency in an image. In Pixelmator Pro, you can change the color of this grid, adjust its brightness and opacity, or turn off the checkerboard completely.

To customize the transparency grid:

  1. Choose Pixelmator Pro > Preferences (from the Pixelmator Pro menu at the top of your screen).
  2. In the General tab, do any of the following:

    • Click the Transparency color well and pick a color.
    • Deselect "Checkerboard" to view transparency in an image as a solid color.

    To reset the transparency to default, click Reset Transparency.

Choose the default contents of a new, empty image

When you create a new image in Pixelmator Pro, a background layer is automatically added for you. You can choose it to be black, white, or transparent.

  1. Choose Pixelmator Pro > Preferences (from the Pixelmator Pro menu at the top of your screen).
  2. In the General tab, click the New Image Contents pop-up menu and choose White, Black, or Transparent.

Open images in tabs or separate windows

By default, Pixelmator Pro opens documents in tabs. If you typically open documents in separate windows on your Mac, you can also set Pixelmator Pro to respect your system settings.

  1. Choose Pixelmator Pro > Preferences (from the Pixelmator Pro menu at the top of your screen).
  2. In the General tab, find Open Images in Tabs and select the preferred way of opening documents:
    • "Always" will always open documents in tabs, regardless of the system settings.
    • "Use system settings" will open images according to the settings in System Preferences > Dock. This setting applies not just to Pixelmator Pro, but also to documents in other applications such as TextEdit, Numbers, and Pages.

Choose how to open JPEG, PNG, and TIFF images

When opening JPEG, PNG, and TIFF images, Pixelmator Pro typically imports them, creating new Pixelmator Pro documents and leaving the originals untouched. This lets you edit images completely nondestructively.

If you'd like to edit destructively, overwriting the originals, you can also customize this:

  1. Choose Pixelmator Pro > Preferences (from the Pixelmator Pro menu at the top of your screen).
  2. In the General tab, select or deselect "Import JPEG, PNG, and TIFF images".

Once you're done editing an image, choose File > Save from the File menu at the top of the screen and any changes will be saved directly to the original JPEG, PNG, or TIFF file.

Note: Turning off this option also disables Auto Save and Versions for all documents.

Hide or show action tooltips and information labels

Action tooltips are short descriptions that tell you when a certain action in Pixelmator Pro is performed. Action tooltips can accompany actions such as Undo, Redo, Cut, or Paste.

Information labels provide some helpful information about actions in Pixelmator Pro. For instance, when moving a layer, the information label shows its live coordinates on the canvas.

  1. Choose Pixelmator Pro > Preferences (from the Pixelmator Pro menu at the top of your screen).
  2. In the General tab, do any of the following:
    • Select or deselect "Show action tooltips" to show or hide the action tooltips.
    • Select or deselect "Show information labels" to show or hide the information labels.

Pixelmator Pro User Guide