DxO Optics Pro can produce stunning picture quality, and it automatically finds the right correction profiles for your photos, so mostly you can just sit back and admire the results. Unless you want to make some adjustments, that is, because that’s when DxO Optics Pro shows a very different side. Here, you must swap to the Customize module, where the standard DxO workspace presents you with a truly bewildering array of expanding panels, switches, sliders and sidebars.

DxO Optics Pro 11 review

DxO’s default workspace has all the tools you need to exploit its excellent RAW conversions and geometric corrections, but it’s extremely daunting, even for those used to working with image-editors. Part of the problem is that many of DxO’s adjustment tools will only make sense after you’ve spent some time with the manual, and the other is that these tools appear to be duplicated between panels – or have such similar-sounding functions that it seems like duplication.

The tools are fine, it’s just that there are so darned many of them. The ones you won’t need from one month to the next are getting in the way of those you want to use all the time – in fact there are so many panels here that you may not realise the tools you need are there at all.

That’s why you should try the workspace customisation feature. It’s quick and simple to do, and it makes the editing tools so much more straightforward later on. And to show how it works, I’m going to create a custom ‘black and white’ workspace solely for creating and enhancing black and white images.

01 Closing palettes

DxO Optics Pro custom workspace

DxO’s tools are arranged in palettes – typically there might be 5-10 different panels in a palette, and the standard workspace stacks six of these palettes in the right sidebar. You can try to reorganise the tools and palettes, but I think it’s simpler to get rid of the whole lot and start from scratch.

It’s both easy to do and oddly satisfying. Just look for the ‘x’ box on the title bar (I’ve circled a couple in this screenshot), click it and the panel is gone. Don’t worry about any useful-looking tools it contained, because you can get those back later.

02 Closing panels

DxO Optics Pro custom workspace

My right sidebar is now completely clear, but I’ve still got the left sidebar and the browser panel at the bottom. I could remove all the palettes in the left sidebar, but the sidebar itself would still stay open; instead, I double-click the ‘hide’ gadget on the edge of the sidebar (circled) to collapse it to the side of the screen.

The browser panel at the bottom works the same way – I can double-click the gadget to hide the panel.

Hiding these panels doesn’t make them go away for good – you can re-open them at any time.

03 Creating a new palette

DxO Optics Pro custom workspace

Now that I’ve freed up some screen space, I can see about displaying just the tools I want. I’m going to add them to a single new palette, which I can create with the View > Palettes > New Palette command. You’re prompted to choose a name – I’ll call mine ‘Black and White’ – and then you’re ready to go.