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Interface overview

Pixelmator Pro features a single-window, easy-to-use interface, designed for editing images and creating graphic designs. The main parts of the interface are the image canvas in the center, the Tools sidebar on the right, the Layers sidebar on the left, and the toolbar at the top.

There are also additional elements such as Rulers, the Shapes and Gradient palettes, or the Tab bar that are hidden by default. You can choose to view them if you need them from the View menu at the top of your screen.

Tools sidebar

The Tools sidebar contains the tools you need to create graphic designs, draw, or enhance the look of images. The tools are conveniently arranged based on their function. You can find groups of tools for making selections, painting and erasing, retouching, and more.

For more information about the different tools and their functions, see Pixelmator Pro tools.

Some tools in the Tools sidebar are grouped with one or a few other tools. To select a different tool from a group, click the grouped tool twice, Force click, or Control-click it.

Show or hide the Tools sidebar

  • Choose View > Show (or Hide) Tools (from the View menu at the top of your screen).
  • Click in the toolbar.
  • Press Option ⌥ + T on your keyboard.
Tool Options pane

The Tool Options pane is where you customize the Pixelmator Pro tools and effects. If you're using Pixelmator Pro for the first time, the Tool Options pane will automatically appear once you select a tool from the Tools sidebar. The options in the Tool Options pane change when you select different tools. Below you can see a few examples of the various Tool Options views:

On smaller displays, you may need to scroll down to see all of the options.

Customize the Tool Options pane

  • Add settings: In the Style, Draw, Shape, Color Adjustments, and Effects options, click the Add menu to view all the available settings and add them.
  • Save settings as default: After you’ve added the desired settings, you can choose to remember them for the next time you use that particular tool. Click the Add menu, then choose Save as Default to do so.
  • Save settings as a preset: You can save the collection of settings as a preset to use in the future. Click the Add menu, then choose Save as Preset to do so.
  • Remove settings: If you’d like to remove a certain setting you’ve added, click the setting's name in the Tool Options pane, and choose Remove.

Show or hide the Tool Options

  • Choose View > Show (or Hide) Tool Options (from the View menu at the top of your screen).

The Toolbar at the top of the application window gives you quick access to the tools and options which affect the entire document rather than a specific layer. Toolbar options include Zoom, Slice tool, Quick Export, Share, and more.

You can Control ⌃–click the toolbar to add and remove toolbar buttons to suit your working style. The default set of toolbar buttons is shown below.

  1. Click to change the layers view (Thumbnails or List), or hide the layers completely. Also, use it to show or hide rulers, guides, grid, or turn the document Info bar on and off.

  2. Click Zoom to navigate your image. Zoom in or out of an image by selecting a zoom percentage, choose Zoom to Fit to fill the application window with the image, or turn auto-centering on and off.

    Learn more about zooming in Pixelmator Pro

  3. Click to add different new layers or insert images. You can also apply color adjustments or effects directly from the toolbar.

    Learn more about working with layers in Pixelmator Pro

  4. Click the title at the top of the Pixelmator Pro document window to give your document a new name, change its location, or add tags.

  5. Click to use the Slice tool or prepare images for the web using Export for Web. You can use the Slice tool to divide designs into individual images and export them using different compression, scaling, file formats, and other settings.

  6. Click to crop, flip, straighten, or rotate images.

    Learn more about cropping in Pixelmator Pro

  7. Click to access various document properties, including the image and canvas sizes, Color Depth, and Color Profile. Here, you’ll also find tools such as ML Super Resolution or Trim.

  8. Click to use the Quick Export options, add an edited image to Photos, Notes, send it through AirDrop, and more.

    Learn more about exporting from Pixelmator Pro

  9. Click to hide or show the Tools sidebar.

    Learn more about Pixelmator Pro tools

Show or hide the Toolbar

  • Choose View > Show (or Hide) Toolbar (from the View menu at the top of your screen).
  • Press Option ⌥ + Command ⌘ + T on your keyboard.
Layers sidebar

The Layers sidebar is one of the most essential parts of the Pixelmator Pro workspace. Located on the left side of the document window, the Layers sidebar lets you view and select the different levels of a project you're working on, add new layers, manage layer visibility, and lots more.

Layers list

In the layers list, you can see a visual layout of your entire project — each thumbnail represents a separate layer. Layers can be viewed as thumbnails or you can list them along with the layer names. It’s also possible to hide the Layers sidebar completely if you're not using layers in your project. To change the layers view:

  • Choose View > Layers > Thumbnails or List (from the View menu at the top of your screen).
  • Click in the toolbar, then choose Thumbnails or List.
  • Press Option ⌥ + Shift ⇧ + L on your keyboard to switch to List view.
  • Press Control ⌃ + Shift ⇧ + L on your keyboard to switch to Thumbnails view.

Learn more about working with layers

Layer opacity

You can adjust how transparent or opaque the layers should be using the Opacity setting at the bottom of the Layers sidebar. Drag the Opacity slider or click the percentage field to enter a custom value.

Learn more about layer opacity

Layer blending

Blend modes let you change the look of layers by mixing and combining layer colors: the colors of a layer at the top of the Layers list blend with the colors of the layers underneath. Using different blend modes, you can achieve some unique-looking artistic effects, improve image retouching workflows, and more.

Learn more about layer blending

Search and filter layers

You can search your document for specific layers by typing their name into the search field at the bottom of the Layers sidebar. The filter search can also help sort layers based on their type (images, shapes, text, RAW images, groups) or tags.

Learn more about managing layers

Show or hide the Layers sidebar

  • Click in the toolbar, then choose Hide (or Show) Layers.
  • Choose View > Layers > Show (or Hide) Layers (from the View menu at the top of your screen).
  • Press Option ⌥ + L on your keyboard.
Presets bar

In the Presets bar, you can select and edit presets that come with Pixelmator Pro, or save the ones you create yourself to reuse in your future projects. Presets essentially let you save a combination of changes you’ve made to one image, shape or text and apply them to other images, shapes, or text.

For more information about creating presets for specific tools in Pixelmator Pro, see Color Adjustments presets, Effects presets, Layer style presets, Text presets, Crop tool presets, and Export presets.

Show or hide the Presets bar

  • Choose View > Show (or Hide) Presets (from the View menu at the top of your screen).
  • Control-click the Presets bar and choose Hide Presets.
  • Move your pointer to the left edge of the Tool Options pane and drag left when the pointer changes to Move left .
Tab bar

The Tab bar lets you easily switch between documents if you have more than one open at the time.

This behavior is default to Pixelmator Pro but if you prefer opening documents in their own separate windows, you can go to the Pixelmator Pro Preferences to change it. Also, you can simply drag any tab from the Tab bar to detach it.

If you'd like to see the previews of the documents in tabs, choose View > Show All Tabs (from the View menu at the top of your screen).

Tip: You can create new empty images from the Tab bar. Click on the right of the Tab bar to do so.

Show or hide the Tab bar

  • Choose View > Show (or Hide) Tab Bar (from the View menu at the top of your screen).
  • Press Shift ⇧ + Command ⌘ + T on your keyboard.
Image canvas

The front and center of the Pixelmator Pro window is the image canvas. It’s your main working area and a place where any photos, shapes or text you add will appear.

You can zoom in and out of the canvas, pan it in any direction while zoomed in, and scroll beyond the edges of the canvas.

If you’re mainly working with projects created from scratch, you can choose whether you want to start every new document with a white, black or transparent image canvas. Go to Pixelmator Pro Preferences to choose the background type you want.

Tip: In Pixelmator Pro, you can hide all the elements of the interface except the image canvas. Choose View > Hide Interface (from the View menu at the top of your screen) or press Control ⌃ + Command ⌘ + H on your keyboard to do so.

Info bar

The Info bar provides useful information about the image or a selected layer. That includes properties such as the RGB color values (1), cursor position (2), layer dimensions (3), position change (4), starting position (5), angle (6), color profile (7), color depth (8), and image dimensions (9).

Tip: You can Control-click the Info bar to add or remove certain properties.

The Info bar also offers quick access to Image Size, Color Profile, and Color Depth settings. Double-click the desired setting in the Info bar to open a dedicated edit sheet.

Show or hide the Info bar

  • Click View > Show (or Hide) Info Bar (from the View menu at the top of your screen).
  • Click in the toolbar, then choose Show (or hide) Info Bar.
  • Press Command ⌘ + Forward Slash / on your keyboard.

Rulers help to accurately arrange and size layers on the canvas. When rulers are turned on, they appear at the top and the left side of the document window. Special markers on both rulers indicate your pointer’s exact position as you move it along the working area.

Rulers almost always come hand in hand with guides — another great tool to help arrange objects on a canvas more precisely. Add guides by clicking and dragging from the ruler on to the canvas.

For more information about guides and rulers, see Use rulers and Use alignment guides.

Show or hide Rulers

  • Choose View > Show (or Hide) Rulers (from the View menu at the top of your screen).
  • Click in the toolbar, then choose Show (or Hide) Rulers.
  • Press Command ⌘ + R on your keyboard.

Pixelmator Pro User Guide