Recently I started a new class teaching digital design. Photoshop is the first piece of software that we tackle and I asked the class of 20, how many of them had used Photoshop before. Almost every single person had some experience. I also asked the class how many of them had used Adobe Bridge before. The answer was no one had used it and no one had even heard of it.

Adobe Bridge was a new feature in Creative Suite 2. It is very similar to the File Browser which appeared in previous versions of Photoshop. It allows you to search for files visually rather than just using a file name and it helps save time by allowing you to view previews of many different file types. So if you are a designer, illustrator, photographer or anyone who stores lots of images, you should be using Bridge!

Click the Go to Bridge button on the tool options bar to open Adobe Bridge.

An alternative way to open Bridge from Photoshop is to choose File > Browse)

Viewing and editing files in Adobe Bridge

The left and right hand side of the Bridge browser window displays palettes that you can rearrange, resize, and group within Adobe Bridge, using the same techniques as with Photoshop palettes.

Click the Folders tab in the upper left corner of the Bridge browser, then browse to the folder where you are storing your images.

Adobe Bridge displays previews of image files such as those in PSD, TIFF, and JPEG formats as well as Adobe Illustrator vector files, Adobe PDF files, and even MS Office documents. The Bridge preview pane displays thumbnails of your files.

At the bottom of the browser window, you can drag the thumbnail slider to reduce and enlarge the thumbnail previews.

You can also view your files in Filmstrip view;

Or in Metadata view where you can see additional information about each file.

You can select any thumbnail in Bridge by clicking on it once. Once you click on it you’ll see a larger preview appears in the Preview palette on the right hand side.

You can also enlarge the Preview palette by dragging the horizontal and vertical bars that separate it from the other panes of the browser window. The pointer appears as double lines with arrows when positioned over the bars. As you drag the preview palette gets larger.

You can move and adjust your palettes and thumbnails till you find the best arrangement for yourself.

To open any .PSD, .TIF, or .JPG image at any time into Photoshop from within Adobe Bridge, double-click its thumbnail preview. If you have other applications, AI files will automatically open in Illustrator, INDD files will open in InDesign and PDF files will open in Acrobat.

This is the first of several articles that I’m posting on Bridge, there’s more to follow over the next couple of weeks. If you’re using Photoshop CS2 or CS3 I would actively encourage you to use it. It is a huge timesaver when you’re working with lots of images.