• Close unused document windows. If you’re not actively using an image file, close it. Each open file can take up a significant amount of memory, which can quickly lead to slow downs.
• Reduce an images resolution. Working with higher resolution images and files uses more resources. If you’re going to be saving a relatively low quality version of an image anyway, reduce the image resolution to a tolerable level to gain a nice speed boost.
• Purge history and clipboard. Edit > Purge > All. The history feature of Photoshop is useful but it takes up a lot of memory. If you’re not using it, purging the contents of history and clipboard frees up resources.
• Turn off animated zoom. Preferences > General > Animated Zoom > Uncheck.
• Turn off flick panning. Preferences > General > Enabled Flick Panning > Uncheck.
• Set drawing mode to Basic. Preferences > Performance > Graphics Processor Settings > Advanced Settings > Drawing Mode > Basic.
• Disable anti-aliasing on guides and paths. Preferences > Performance > Graphics Processor Settings > Advanced Settings > Anti-alias Guides and Paths > Uncheck.
• Adjust Photoshops memory use. Preferences > Performance > Memory Usage (adjust this based on your physical memory capacity and individual needs, a higher percentage is better).
• Turn off image previews. Preferences > File Handling > File Saving Options > Image Previews > Never Save.
• Use less Video RAM for 3D stuff. Preferences > 3D > Available VRAM for 3D > 30%, this is particularly useful for anyone using a computer with a video card that shares VRAM with primary RAM, such as some MacBook, MacBook Air, and Mac Mini models.
• Watch the efficiency indicator. At the bottom of any open Photoshop window you’ll see an “efficiency” gauge, if this falls below 100% that means you are using the scratch disk (hard drive) for memory and Photoshop will become slower. Solve this by allocating more RAM or by having less open windows.
Make sure you completely quit Photoshop and restart it and you should see a significant difference in performance.
While it may seem like a minor thing it can actually have a big impact on how fast and responsive applications are. For example, every time Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Word or QuarkXPress starts, the application scans your fonts and builds a preview for you. After this, every time you want to change the font the application has to load these previews and display them to you, which in Microsoft Word can takes up to five seconds from the clicking the font menu until it actually displays the font list.
By disabling unnecessary fonts you can speed up applications quite significantly. As an example a quick scan of this computer shows that there are over 450 fonts installed, but typically only 20-30 are ever used. By disabling some of the extra fonts we can reduce the time applications have to spend on managing fonts.
So how do you disable fonts? You can use the application Font Book that comes with your Mac (you find it in Applications). Give it a few seconds to load your fonts then go through the list and disable the ones you don’t use by selecting Disable from the Edit menu. Damaged or duplicate fonts can also slow down your computer so while you are in Font Book select Validate Fonts from the File menu and verify that the fonts you have installed are okay. You can automatically disable duplicates by using the Look for Enabled Duplicates (or Select duplicate fonts on Snow Leopard), followed by Resolve Automatically option (or Resolve Duplicates option in the Edit menu on Snow Leopard). It is also a good idea to enable Automatic font activation in Font Book’s Preferences as it lets OS X re-enable fonts when an application needs it.
It is worth noting that the font caches themselves can become corrupted and cause slowdowns or crashes on your Mac so if you experience problems because of this it is a good idea to force OS X to rebuild the font cache. Cocktail makes this easy: open Cocktail and go to Preferences > Caches > User and select Font Caches. Next time you clear the caches Cocktail will make clear out the font caches too and force OS X to rebuild them.