Adobe Bridge File Browser in Adobe Photoshop CS2 and Creative Suite 2

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Introducing the Adobe Bridge

Adobe Bridge
The new Adobe Bridge in Photoshop CS2 replaces the File Browser.
Photoshop's File Browser has been completely rebuilt and renamed Adobe Bridge. Adobe Bridge is an entirely separate application that can be launched independently and becomes the new hub for the Creative Suite. When the file browser was first introduced in Photoshop, I mentioned in my review that I wished it was a separate application, so I am thrilled to see that Adobe has gone in this direction.

The Adobe Bridge can be launched independently, and it is just a button click away from within Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, or GoLive. The screen shot above shows the Adobe Bridge in its default layout, it but is more customizable than the Photoshop CS file browser. With the Adobe Bridge you can view and manage all your image files, including native PSD, AI, INDD, and Adobe PDF files. When previewing PDF files in the Bridge, you can even flip through multiple pages.

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Adobe Bridge Center

Adobe Bridge Center
Adobe Bridge Center.
If you own Creative Suite 2, the Adobe Bridge offers the Bridge Center (shown above). The Bridge Center gives you quick access to file groups, recent folders, recently used files, an RSS reader, tips and tricks, color management settings, Version Cue projects, stock photos, and help. Adobe Bridge now provides access to a new Adobe Stock Photos service which connects users to high-quality stock images. Adobe Stock Photos lets you search a number of stock photo agencies, download comps, and purchase photos when you're ready. The RSS Reader in the Bridge Center comes pre-configured to display recent additions to the Adobe Studio Exchange, but you can customize it with your additional feeds. In my screen shot, you can see that I've added the About Graphics Software home page feed.
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Filmstrip View in the Adobe Bridge

Filmstrip View in the Adobe Bridge
Filmstrip View in the Adobe Bridge.
One of my favorite things about the Bridge is the new filmstrip view so you can see thumbnails and a large preview in the same screen. There is a slider along the bottom of the Window that lets you adjust the thumbnail sizes, and you can go from very tiny thumbnails, to extremely large thumbnail previews. There are also buttons for switching between thumbnails, filmstrip, details, and versions and alternates views.
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Customizing Adobe Bridge

Adobe Bridge - Filmstrip View
Adobe Bridge - Filmstrip View.
In the filmstrip view, you can toggle the thumbnails to show below the preview as shown here, or to the right of the preview as shown in the last page. Through preferences, users can also change the background color shown in the Adobe Bridge. I'm using a medium gray in all my screen shots, but you can adjust this from black to white or any shade of gray.
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Details View in the Adobe Bridge

Details View in Adobe Bridge
Details View in Adobe Bridge.
In details view, you can see a lot more information about each image, and the thumbnails are still scalable. In this screen shot you can see I have several additional panels open — favorites, metadata, and keywords. You can edit directly in the metadata and keywords panels to add information about your images, or you can use the File Info command for adding information.
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Customizing the Adobe Bridge with Workspace Layouts

Lightbox Workspace in Adobe Bridge
Lightbox Workspace in Adobe Bridge.
The panels can be turned on and off individually, and you can also slide the panels out of view when you need to with a one-click toggle. You can also toggle off the extra image information and show thumbnails only, as in this screen shot. This is a preset workspace for Adobe Bridge called Lightbox, which maximizes the viewing area for showing thumbnails. Several pre-configured workspaces are included — Lightbox, File Navigator, Metadata Focus, and Filmstrip Focus. You can also save your workspace layouts as custom presets so you can easily reload your preferred settings for different projects.
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Compact and Ultra-compact Mode of Adobe Bridge

Compact Mode of Adobe Bridge
Compact Mode of Adobe Bridge.
Adobe Bridge can be quickly switched into a compact mode shown here, which floats on top of other windows and supports drag and drop to other applications. By clicking on the icon circled in red, the compact mode switched to ultra-compact mode. In this mode you only have a small toolbar taking up screen space (the area shown outlines in red), but one click slides out the thumbnail tray, so your image previews are always close at hand.
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Ratings, Labels, and Batch Processing in Adobe Bridge

Ratings and Labels in Adobe Bridge
Ratings and Labels in Adobe Bridge.
Users can rate photos from one to five stars, and apply colored labels. Labels can also be assigned a custom name, so you could use red for one project, green for another, and blue for your personal photos. User an also filter what is shown according to ratings and labels. Most batch processing tasks are also available from the Adobe Bridge, so users no longer need to launch Photoshop or another application before running a batch task. Because the Bridge is now a separate application, users can continue working in the Bridge while images are being processed.
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Searching for Images in Adobe Bridge

Searching for Images in Adobe Bridge
Searching for Images in Adobe Bridge.
As you would expect, the Bridge offers a search tool for finding files based on a variety of criteria including file name, file size, keywords, metadata information, ratings, labels, dates, type of document, keyword, comments, and descriptions. Search results can be set to open in a new window, so you don't lose your place in the current window. After a search is preformed, you also have the option to group the results into a collection so you can return to it at any time.
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Slide Show Mode in Adobe Bridge

Slide Show Mode in Adobe Bridge
Slide Show Mode in Adobe Bridge.
Adobe Bridge now offers a slide show view for displaying a group of photos at full screen or in a window. When you first initiate a slide show, the hints screen shown above appears. As you can see there are many options for navigating the photos from the keyboard. You can even set ratings and apply labels from the keyboard in slideshow mode.

Adobe Bridge is included with Adobe Photoshop CS2, Adobe Illustrator CS2, Adobe InDesign CS2, and Adobe GoLive CS2. Adobe Bridge offers additional functionality when installed as a part of Adobe Creative Suite 2.