Adobe Bridge Compact Mode – big things in small packages

Working with Adobe Bridge can be intrusive or annoying, as it takes up the full screen and you have to switch back and forth between Bridge and Photoshop, or Bridge and your other CS applications. You can make the Bridge window smaller, but you still have to switch back and forth, and the small Bridge window doesn’t show content the way you might like.

Not to worry! Apparently the Adobe developers noticed the same thing, and in Bridge CS4, they have introduced a solution: Compact Mode. Switching to Compact Mode in Bridge shrinks the window, but does oh, so much more. In compact mode, the side panels are hidden, and the interface becomes much more streamlined.

You can switch Bridge over to Compact Mode by clicking the icon in the upper right corner of the Bridge Window.


Once in Compact Mode, the first thing you may notice is the absence of side panels and menus. You have a minimal interface, but one in which you can work with thumbnails. This mode was made for Drag and Drop! In fact, you may notice that the compact mode Bridge window “floats” over all windows in the workspace. So, in effect, it becomes almost like a panel in the CS application workspace.


Bridge’s Compact mode features some rudimentary navigation features, including Recent Files functionality and Breadcrumbs, but it does support “Folder Cruising” as we discussed in an earlier tutorial! There is also a Window menu in the upper right corner that controls, among other things, the “Always on Top” feature. There’s also a small Search bar to aid in locating files.


Other than that, it is all thumbnails, with a slider at the bottom to change the size of the thumbs. Just drag and drop into your InDesign document to place files, or into Photoshop to open. The window stays on top, so you can continue to browse and open files as needed.


Is Compact Mode still taking up too much of your screen? How about “Ultra Compact Mode?” That’s right, click the icon next to Compact Mode (It reminds me of a window blind), and Bridge shrinks up into nothing more than a floating bar with one row of icons. From there, you can move it around on the screen into a convenient location, pop open to Compact Mode when needed (click the window blind icon again), or pop open to full screen mode (click the compact mode icon as before).



With Bridge’s Compact Mode (and Ultra Compact Mode), big capabilities do come in small packages!

This Post Has One Comment

Leave a Reply

Close Menu