User Guides > ArtRage 4 > Preferences

Application Preferences / Keyboard Shortcuts

ArtRage provides two main areas of customization that are accessed from the Edit menu: Application Preferences and Keyboard Shortcuts.

The Preferences Panel

The Preferences Panel presents a series of categories of settings for various elements of the product. To open the panel use the Preferences Panel item in the Edit menu.

The Preferences Panel contains a series of groups of settings. Click a grey header and its settings will become available. Click again and the group will close.

The menu at the top right allows you to reset your preferences and manage which groups are open.

Some settings require that you restart ArtRage for them to take effect, you will be prompted if you change anything that will require this.


Settings for controlling the look and feel of ArtRage come under the Interface group. These settings are:

Tooltip Delay: Controls how long you must hover over an object before its Tooltip appears.

Play Sounds, Play Animations: Controls whether ArtRage plays sounds and animations for panels and events.

Show Menus In Menu Bar (Mac OS X Only): If this option is turned on the ArtRage menus will appear in the ArtRage menu bar as well as the OS Menu Bar. This can be useful if you are using ArtRage on a second monitor that does not have an OS menu bar on it.

Background Color: Allows you to set the color of the workbench behind the Canvas. This color becomes visible if you move the Canvas. Click to set using a Precise Color Picker, click and hold for a Popup Color Picker.

Control Tint Color: Allows you to set the tint color applied to controls. The color sample can be clicked for a Precise Color Picker or clicked and held for a Popup Color Picker.

The Menu button allows you to store custom tints in the list of available tints below and manage the current tint color.

The list of custom tints presents a series of default ArtRage tints and a set of custom tints that you have defined. Custom tints appear in the list below the standard tints. Click a tint in the list to select it.

Advanced Preferences

Settings that control advanced functionality within the application.

Temporary File Storage: ArtRage allows you to select where temporary files that are used to save memory, such as undo and temporary layer files are stored. Use the control at the top of the Advanced Preferences page to select a location, or reset to default.

The default location is your operating system’s default temporary file location.

IMPORTANT: Do not choose removable media for this location because if the location suddenly becomes unavailable you may lose layer or undo data. External media such as USB media can also cause significant slowdowns in the application.

Multithreading: Allows you to turn on or off support for Multithreading on multiple core processors in ArtRage.

JPEG Quality: Allows you to set the desired quality for exported JPEG images. The higher the value, the higher the quality will be and the larger the file on disk.

Store Backup Files: ArtRage can automatically back up your files as you save them. If you’re working on an important project or have any stability issues this system allows you to keep previous versions available. The slider indicates how many backup files will be stored, from 0 to 26.

When the value of the slider is above 0, whenever you save a file ArtRage first renames the original version of that file on disk, adding ‘_Gen’ to the end of the filename, where is replaced by a letter of the alphabet from A to Z.

Each time you save, any previous generations that were backed up are renamed as well, increasing their letter of the alphabet by one to indicate their age. When the number of backed up files reaches the limit defined by the Store Backup Files Slider, the oldest one is deleted when the new file is saved.

For example, if I have created a new painting and set Store Backup Files to 2:

  1. The first time I save, I name the file ‘Test.ptg’ and that file is saved.
  2. Next time I save, my original file is renamed to ‘Test.ptg_GenA’ and a new Test.ptg is saved with my new data.
  3. Next time I save, my ‘Test.ptgGenA’ file is renamed to ‘Test.ptgGenB’, the file I saved previously is renamed to ‘Test.ptgGenA’ and the new data is saved as Test.ptg.
  4. If I then save again, because my limit is set to 2, the original file I saved, which is now named ‘Test.ptgGenB’ is deleted so that the GenA file can be renamed GenB, the last saved version can be renamed GenA, and the new file can be saved as Test.ptg.

To reload one of the older generations, just make a copy of the file you want and rename the copy to remove the ‘Gen’ from the end of its suffix. You can then load it using ArtRage.

Force Whole Pixel Placement: If this option is turned on ArtRage will limit the placement of items such as text, selections, and transform operations to whole pixel boundaries. Sub pixel placement (if this option is turned off) can be used to place items between pixel boundaries but can result in blurred edges where the edge of an object exists between whole pixels in the document.

If you don’t understand Whole Pixel v. Sub Pixel systems, leave this option turned on.

Input Device

Settings that control how your input device works.

Cmd/Ctrl + Mousewheel = Zoom: Some systems that use a touch interface use mouse wheel events to scroll objects (like the Canvas) rather than zoom them. If this is turned on, the Cmd (Mac OS X) / Ctrl (Windows) key must be held down when the mousewheel is used to zoom the Canvas. Use this if you experience odd zooming behavior while using touch gestures.

Use Realtime Stylus (Windows Only): Realtime Stylus is a Windows service for integrated screen tablet input devices. Some graphics tablets do not interact well with Realtime Stylus so if you find you are experiencing odd behavior such as strokes not recognizing pressure, strokes moving the Canvas rather than painting, or strokes only painting a single dot, try turning this off, your tablet device may not be interacting well with the operating system.

Precise Tablet (Windows Only): Some graphics tablets support a high resolution input mode that creates more precise strokes. Unfortunately some graphics tablets do not support this but incorrectly report that they do, this can cause problems with strokes failing to complete or appearing incorrectly. If you are having problems with your paint strokes try changing this setting.

Use Touch Input (Windows Only): Allows you to turn on or off ArtRage support for the Windows 7 Touch Screen system. If this is on you can use Multitouch gestures on a Windows 7 machine to manipulate various objects in the application.


Settings that control the appearance of your cursor. Select the type of cursor you want to display using the large buttons.

If you have a Precise Cursor selected, the Magnify Precise Cursor option makes it larger and more visible. Some tools that use Outline Cursors display a Precise Cursor by default if your tool size gets very low.

The Opacity slider is available when the cursor is set to Precise, and allows you to control the opacity of the cursor on the screen.

Can’t find your cursor? Make sure Opacity isn’t 0%! You can use the default shortcut keys 2, and 3 to set the cursor to Outline or Tool mode to make it visible in the meantime.


Allows you to set additional folders to be scanned for filters. See the Image Adjustment and Filters section for more information.


Settings that control your panels globally.

Scale, Rotation: Sets the scale or rotation of all panels.

Reset Panel Positions: Resets the position of all panels after restart.

Automatic Updates

Allows you to turn off the automatic online check for updates ArtRage performs weekly.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard Shortcuts in ArtRage can be adjusted to suit your requirements. The Keyboard Shortcuts Panel can be opened from the Edit menu.

The menu at the top right presents load and save options for sets of shortcuts and the ability to reset them or revert them to the previous set. The list below contains groups of similar shortcuts that can be customised, and any key combination currently allocated to them. Click the grey title bar of a group to open or close its contents.  

See Full List of Shortcuts

Editing Shortcuts

Shortcut events can have multiple entries. This can be useful if there is more than one way you wish to access a shortcut. For example ‘Zoom In’ may require Cmd/Ctrl ‘+’ as well as Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + ‘=’ depending on your keyboard layout. Existing shortcut key combinations can be modified, and new ones added.

  1. Add A Key Combination: Point at the name of the shortcut you wish to edit and a ‘+’ button appears. Click it to add a new key combination to that event.
  2. Remove A Key Combination: Point at the key combination you wish to remove and click the ‘x’ button that appears.
  3. Edit A Key Combination: Point at the key combination you wish to edit and click the ‘…’ button that appears.

On Mac OS X changes you make to the shortcuts will not be available until you restart the application.

Entering Key Combinations

If you Add or Edit a key combination you will be presented with an entry dialog. Simply press the key combination you wish to use and it will appear in the dialog. Then click OK to apply it.

If you have chosen a key combination that is already in use you will be prompted to either remove the old one and store this new one, or cancel.

Some characters are reserved and cannot be applied to shortcuts: Tab, Enter, Space, and Escape, among other keys cannot be used in key combinations.