I seem to have changed the default setting in photoshop somehow which means that the background is always white, instead of grey. I don't mean the background layer of the image, I mean the area of the screen surrounding the canvas.

My whole background is white and I can't tell where the edges are. ie. I don't know whether parts of my image are inside or outside of the canvas.

It comes back if I chose full screen mode with the menu bar.


2 Answers 2


If you have an image opened, you can right click the background canvas and change the color that way. The default options in Photoshop CS5 are Black and Gray, but you can also define a custom color if you'd like.

To fix this through the menus, go to the Interface section in the Photoshop preferences. There are separate background canvas settings for standard, full-screen, and full-screen-with-menu interface modes.

In your case, you've inadvertently modified the standard setting, but full-screen is still the default gray color. That is why it's gray when you when you switch to full-screen mode.

  • \$\begingroup\$ That's the one, thanks. The interface preferences was what I was after. \$\endgroup\$
    – matt burns
    Feb 24, 2012 at 17:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Here's a little tip: space+f on the keyboard will cycle through the color options. \$\endgroup\$
    – jsejcksn
    Oct 20, 2016 at 2:24

Pick a color with the paint bucket selected, and shift-click the canvas area.

If you want the default grey, select R: 204 G: 204 B: 204 from your color pallet.

  • \$\begingroup\$ If you left-click using the paint bucket in the canvas area, you should get a context menu that allows you to select the default grey (as well as black or a custom colour). \$\endgroup\$
    – user2719
    Feb 24, 2012 at 14:19

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