Basic troubleshooting steps to fix most issues

This document contains basic troubleshooting steps that should solve most problems you can encounter while using Photoshop. Try all the steps below before posting on the forum for Photoshop-specific issues.

Known issues in Photoshop

Check to see if the issue you're encountering is a known issue in the latest release of Photoshop.

See Known issues in Photoshop.

Get the latest Camera Raw support

The most commonly asked support question is "Photoshop doesn't recognize my new camera's raw files. How to I get Photoshop to open my raw files?"

See Photoshop or Lightroom doesn't support my camera.

Install application updates

You can fix many problems by simply making sure that your Adobe software is up-to-date.

See Keep Photoshop up to date.


Adobe provides technical support and security fixes for the current version and the prior version. Bug fixes are only provided for the current version. See Photoshop - Supported versions for complete details.

Install operating system updates

You can fix many problems by simply making sure your operating system is up-to-date.

Adobe recommends that you perform your own testing on a non-production partition to ensure that brand-new operating systems work well with your current hardware and drivers.

Creative Cloud doesn’t show available updates, or applications are in trial mode

Not seeing the available updates? Are your applications showing as trials?

See Available updates not listed.

I can't activate Photoshop, or applications are in trial mode

Not able to activate Photoshop, or applications are appearing as trials?

See Troubleshooting licensing errors | Creative Cloud.

Install graphics card (GPU) driver updates

If you're experiencing image rendering issues, slow performance, or crashes, the cause could be a defective, unsupported, or incompatible graphics driver.

See GPU and graphics driver troubleshooting steps.

Troubleshoot graphics processor

In some cases, having the latest driver may not cure all problems related to video adapters and drivers.

The quickest and easiest way to determine if the problem is with your video adapter or driver is to disable the Use Graphics Processor preference.

See Disable the GPU to quickly narrow down the issue.

For specific errors, see the following:

Restore preferences

Reverting Photoshop’s preferences to their factory-fresh state can solve many issues (including program errors, strange tool/interface behavior, etc).

See Restore preference files to default.

Troubleshoot plug-ins

Many issues can arise from using incompatible, outdated, or incorrectly installed plug-ins.

See Photoshop plug-ins troubleshooting.

Troubleshoot fonts

Many problems can occur when you use third-party fonts, including crashing or hangs when selecting the Type tool or when making the Character panel active/visible. A bad font or fonts can also cause general performance issues when launching or using Photoshop. Validate and remove duplicate or troublesome fonts to improve stability and text tool performance.

See Troubleshoot fonts.

Photoshop is crashing

If you perform all the steps above and you still encounter a crash, be sure to submit all crash reports. If you submit a crash report for a known issue to Adobe with your email address, we can email you a solution for correcting the problem.

See Interpret a Photoshop crash report.

Photoshop is slow or lags

Unexpected results using a tool

If a tool in Photoshop isn't working properly (for example, the crop tool crops a tiny little gray square, or painting with a brush paints the wrong color or nothing at all), try resetting the tool settings:

Reset Tool in current version of Photoshop

Legacy versions (CS6 and earlier)
  • Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (macOS) the Tool Preset Picker in the Tool options bar and choose Reset Tool to reset the active tool, or choose Reset All Tools to reset all tools to their factory default settings.
Reset Tool option in Photoshop CS6 and earlier

Troubleshoot cursor display or size issues

  • Crosshair: If you see a crosshair (Precise) cursor instead of the normal brush tip or other tool shape, try toggling the Caps Lock key off. 
  • Incorrect Brush size: On macOS, the painted result is smaller than the brush cursor size you see on screen, determine if you have an increased Cursor Size specified in your System Preferences: Accessibility > Display settings
(macOS) Check Cursor Size in System Preferences > Accessibility > Display settings.

Missing tools

If a tool or multiple tools are missing from the Toolbar, try resetting Toolbar customization to the default. To do this, select Edit > Toolbar and click Restore Defaults in the right-hand column.

See Tools missing from the toolbar.


If you've selected a workspace other than Essentials, each of the other workspaces in Photoshop customize the Toolbar to present a different set of tools. Selecting Window > Workspace > Essentials (Default) or Window > Workspace > Reset Essentials can also restore the default Toolbar.

You can also use the Discover panel within Photoshop to search and identify tools. Use the keyboard shortcut Command/Control + F  to get the search dialog box, type the name of the tool you're looking for and select the desired result. Photoshop will highlight and activate the tool in the UI.

See Learn faster with the Photoshop Discover Panel.

Troubleshoot user permissions

If none of the troubleshooting steps above solve your problem, your problem may be related to user permissions. 

Create an admin user account to identify permissions problems. For instructions on creating an admin user account, see the following: 



Be sure to change the New Account pop-up window from Standard to Administrator when creating the user.


After you create the admin user account, log in to the new user and run Photoshop to see if the problem goes away.

Start in safe mode

Sometimes, third-party extensions and other utilities can interfere with Photoshop’s operation.

If you start your computer in safe mode, third-party extensions and utilities are turned off, which can help solve your problem.


  • Starting up in safe mode: On macOS, safe mode disables all third-party extensions and startup items. It runs only required kernel extensions and Apple-installed startup items.


Troubleshoot update errors

Several update errors are caused by missing or modified files required by Photoshop, due to disk clean-up utilities such as CleanMyMac or MacKeeper. Keep your clean-up utilities up to date or discontinue its use.

If you're facing trouble installing Photoshop or Bridge updates, see Fix errors installing Creative Cloud apps.

If you're having trouble installing Camera Raw updates, see Camera Raw plug-in installer.

Collect logs and system info

In the unlikely event of a Photoshop crash or program error, the following sources of information provide vital clues for diagnosing what went wrong:

Additional troubleshooting

Try all the steps above before posting on the forum for Photoshop-specific issues.

If you have a how-to question or question about changes in behavior between Photoshop versions, see the following: 

If you need help with app installation/downloads or your Creative Cloud membership, see the following:

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