Brush tool not working in Photoshop? Here are 11 ways to fix the problem (2023)

For an avid Photoshop user, you know how important the brush tool is. As a digital painter myself, I can't survive a day without it.

However, if this is your first time using Photoshop and its brush tool isn't working, chances are you missed a few steps. For example, you may have forgotten to rasterize the image before trying to edit it.

Brush tool not working in Photoshop? Here are 11 ways to fix the problem (1)

If this message appears, simply click OK and your image will be rasterized.

But if that doesn't solve your problem, don't worry. We've rounded up all the possible troubleshooting methods to try if your brush tool isn't working.

Why doesn't the Brush tool work in Photoshop?

  • Bloq Shift button activated:If the Caps Lock switch is on, the normal circular cursor of the Brush tool changes to a crosshair. When this happens, the brush tool doesn't work.
  • Background application interfering with Photoshop:Using many apps in the background when using Adobe Photoshop is a heavy job for your device. Since Photoshop itself is heavy, adding too many other apps will put a strain on the processor. It will create glitches and also heat up your device.
  • GPU, RAM and other unqualified computing components:Adobe Photoshop minimum requirements must be met to realize its full performance potential. If your device doesn't meet the component ratings, it will be slow or sometimes won't open at all.
  • Brush settings changed without your knowledge:There are various brush settings that can be adjusted in Adobe Photoshop. But with some brush settings changed, the brush tool might also stop working. Sometimes the Brush tool shows harsh or pixelated strokes because of this.
  • The layer is locked:When the layer you are trying to use is locked, it displays a lock sign. See if there is a lock sign on the layers. If yes, then this is why the brush tool is not working for you.
  • Fusion mode:The blend mode also affects how the Brush tool works. Check what mode you set your brush tool to. You'll see different types of brush strokes than usual, which may seem like the Brush tool isn't working.
(Video) 7 Easy Ways To Troubleshoot The Brush Tool In Photoshop

How to fix Brush tool not working in Photoshop?

Photoshop is a heavy application and needs a lot of attention from your processor. But it's not always the fault of the RAM or the GPU. Sometimes other internal problems can interfere with how Photoshop works.

Caps Lock or Off

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Many users are facing this common problem where the brush tool cursor disappears. This happens when you accidentally press the button.caps lock buttonon your keyboard.disable caps lockbutton by pressing it once more. The crosshair cursor should change to a circular cursor when the Brush tool works.

Make sure the layer is locked.

We tend to lock down certain layers for a managed workflow. That way we won't be overwhelmed by the number of layers in our workspace.

When a layer is locked, it cannot be moved, resized, deleted, or even brushed.
Unfortunately, Photoshop doesn't warn us when we try to edit a locked layer.

Just go to the layers section and check if you accidentally selected that layer. You can unlock the layer by selecting the lock button at the top.

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Observation:A background layer is automatically locked when you add a new layer. But like any other layer, you can unlock a background layer and edit it accordingly.

(Video) [Fix] Photoshop brush not working properly

Deselect any selection

When you work on your project in Photoshop, you will use many tools. Sometimes previously selected parts or tools are not deselected because the next part and tools will not be selected. You can easily uncheck by doing the following:

  1. Abra o Adobe Photoshop.
  2. click onselectin the menu bar.
  3. click onUnmark.
    Brush tool not working in Photoshop? Here are 11 ways to fix the problem (4)

Increase brush opacity

If you see smoky brush strokes when you try to use the Brush tool, it is due to the opacity of the brush. The lower the opacity, the smokier it looks. You can increase the opacity to fix this problem.

You can change the opacity level by selecting the Brush Tool and pressing any number from 1 to 9 on your keyboard. Pressing 1 on the keyboard sets the opacity to 10%, 2 to 20%, 3 to 30% and so on. Increase the opacity so you can see the brush strokes.
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Change brush color

There are times when you choose and use colors and forget to change them on the next layer. And if the background color is the same color as the brush, then of course the brush will disappear. Try changing the brush and use it again to see if it worked. This is how you can change the color of the brush:

  1. Select theBrush.
  2. In the right sidebar, click the buttoncolor superior(foreground color)
  3. select anyheart.
    Brush tool not working in Photoshop? Here are 11 ways to fix the problem (6)

Check brush flow

Brush Flow is a pencil-like feature used to darken shadows. If the flow is less, the intensity of the brush will also be less.

You can increase the flow of the brush by first selecting the Brush tool. Then in the top menu bar you will see options like flow and opacity. Click on the flow and change it according to your needs.
Brush tool not working in Photoshop? Here are 11 ways to fix the problem (7)

(Video) Photoshop Brush and layer mask not working properly? Here is how to fix it

reset tools

The Photoshop tool settings can sometimes be confusing. And if you don't know how to do it right. You can simply reset your tools by following the methods:

  1. OpenAdobe Photoshop.
  2. Select thebrush
  3. Right click on thebrushtop bar icon
  4. click onreset tool.
    Brush tool not working in Photoshop? Here are 11 ways to fix the problem (8)

You can also select Reset All Tools to return your messy settings back to default.

Restart your Adobe Photoshop

This is one of the easiest steps you can take to try and fix an unresponsive brush tool. Normally, we close any program and run it again if it doesn't work. Let's try it for Adobe Photoshop too. But be sure to save all your work before closing the program.

for windows

  1. Click no "Xbutton in the upper right corner.
    Brush tool not working in Photoshop? Here are 11 ways to fix the problem (9)
  2. Open the Adobe Photoshop program after a few seconds.

for Mac

  1. click noRed buttonin the top left-hand corner.
    Brush tool not working in Photoshop? Here are 11 ways to fix the problem (10)
  2. Open Photoshop after a few seconds.

Or you can press Alt + F4 to close your program.

(Video) Fix Brush Tool does not work in Photoshop -

Restart your computer

If restarting Adobe Photoshop doesn't work, try restarting your device as well.Restarting your deviceit will correct any errors and temporary problems in your system.

sin mac

  1. click noGarbagelogo in the upper left corner.
  2. click onResume.
    Brush tool not working in Photoshop? Here are 11 ways to fix the problem (11)

no windows

  1. pressure on windows
  2. Click the on/off button
  3. click onResume.
    Brush tool not working in Photoshop? Here are 11 ways to fix the problem (12)

Actualizar Adobe Photoshop

Before proceeding with this step, make sure you havecreative cloudsinstalled on your device. Because you need the creative cloud to make updates to your Adobe apps.

Updating any type of application is very important for good performance. When you keep updates on pause or undetected, bugs and new features get stuck. So make sure to update Adobe Photoshop by following the steps below.

  1. Abra o Adobe Photoshop
  2. click onAidin the menu bar.
  3. click onupdates.
    Brush tool not working in Photoshop? Here are 11 ways to fix the problem (13)

Try using another app

If you are in full focus mode and only using Photoshop, you should definitely try this solution. Try to open any other app on your device like Excel, Word or whatever. Then select any tool or do something with it. Then go back to Photoshop and try using the brush tool. This is a proven way to resolve brush tool issues for many users, so it's worth a try.

(Video) Photoshop Eraser Tool Not Working? How to Fix ANY Not Working Photoshop Tool!


How do you get the brush tool to work in Photoshop? ›

Step 1: Open a document or image in Photoshop. Step 2: Select the Brush tool from the toolbar. It can be located on the left side of the application as you can see in the image above. Step 3: After selecting the tool just hold the left click on your mouse and drag over the image or document.

What is the shortcut to activate brush tool? ›

Brush Tool: Which keyboard shortcut makes the current tool a brush? To select the Brush Tool press the b key.

Why is my Photoshop not letting me draw? ›

If you have any selections on your canvas—even as small as a pixel or two—you will only be able to draw/paint inside of the selection. To deselect any selections on the canvas, hit command D, or go to Select > Deselect. You should then be able to paint anywhere on the canvas.

How do I restore my brush? ›

You can restore any brush with a simple soaking in brush cleaner. Whether it's caked with dried paint or varnish, a crusty paintbrush can be restored to like-new condition.

How do I reset my brush library? ›

Resetting the Brush Palette

Select Edit > Preferences > the Factory Defaults tab, for Reset Brush Palette and Library, tap Reset.

How do you fix a dead brush? ›

Grab a glass cup and fill it about 1-2 inches deep with distilled white vinegar. Heat it in the microwave for 1-1.5 minutes then submerge your nasty paintbrushes into it. Bubble bubble bubble!

Why is my paint brush not working in Photoshop? ›

If a tool is not performing the way you expect, try resetting that tool by right-clicking on its' icon in the Options bar,and choosing "Reset Tool" from the context menu. Also check your foreground/background colors at the bottom of the Toolbox. They should be black/white. Press D to reset it if it isn't.

How do you activate a brush? ›

Here's how:
  1. Open the Brushes panel in Photoshop by going to Window > Brushes.
  2. Click the hamburger menu and select Get More Brushes...
  3. Locate your desired brush pack.
  4. Keep Photoshop open and double-click your brush pack file.
  5. Your new brushes will now be installed in the Brushes panel for you to use.

How do I reset Tools in Photoshop? ›

1. Reset your tools to their default settings. To reset the tools, underneath the top line menu and the word “File,” right click on the tool icon [rectangular marquee tool shown]. Select “Reset All Tools.” This is advisable in the IMC where students may change Photoshop default settings.

How do I fix my Tools in Photoshop? ›

Choose Edit >Toolbar. In the Customize Toolbar dialog, if you see your missing tool in the Extra Tools list in the right column, drag it to the Toolbar list on the left. Click Done.

What is F7 used for in Photoshop? ›

Quickly show and hide the Layers panel easily by pressing F7 on your keypad. This will also show and hide the Channels and Paths panels because they are grouped together.

How do I get to my brush settings? ›

The brush thumbnail in the Tool Options bar reflects the brush changes as you adjust the brush dynamics options. You set brush dynamics options by selecting a brush tool and then clicking Brush Settings (or Advanced, for some tools) from the Tool Options bar.

What does Ctrl L do in Photoshop? ›

In all flavors of Photoshop you can open the 'levels' window by using the keyboard shortcut ctrl+L in windows or cmd L on a Mac.

Why can I not draw? ›

Reason 1 – You Need More Practice

Drawing is a skill and like with any other skill, you can't expect to get better without practicing it. So many people think that drawing is just something that some people can do and others can't. This simply is not true. Anyone can draw, but you have to want it enough to practice it.

What does it mean when you can't draw anymore? ›

You Aren't Practicing Enough Lately

The best and only way to improve at drawing is to practice regularly. If you're not practicing enough, your skills will start to deteriorate. You don't need to spend hours and hours on it every day, but you'll see a decline in your abilities if you don't do anything.

Why does my Photoshop brush only make dots? ›

Also check all the Brush Presets options. If this doesn't solve the problem, reset Photoshop to its default settings: restart Photoshop pressing Alt + Ctrl + Shift Windows or Cmd + Alt + Shift Mac. Resetting the settings did it.

How does brush restorer work? ›

Removes dried paint, varnish and polyurethane from brushes and rollers. Pour into a glass or metal container so that the roller or bristles of the brush are covered. As it may take some time for paint to soften, cover the container with cling film or foil to prevent loss of restorer by evaporation.

How do I enable the brush cursor? ›

How to enable brush cursor in Procreate. Brush cursor is not turned on be default. Go to the Actions Menu > Prefs and toggle on “Brush Cursor”. You will now see an outline of your brush shape as you draw.

How do I open the brush menu? ›

Open the Brush Panel from the toolbar or over the menu Window > Brush. There is also a shortcut (F5). As you can see, the settings are split into several different categories. We covered the Brush Presets in our previous article, so let's start by going through the other categories.

How do you fix brush strokes? ›

All you need to do is spray your paintbrush with a little water before you dip it in the paint can. It will help thin the paint out as you apply it. It is my favorite tip for getting rid of brushstrokes. You can also spray the furniture piece itself with the water bottle and then apply the paint over that.

How do you fix brush markers? ›

When the tip gets mushy or worn or frayed, but there's still ink left in the pen, try pulling out the tip and reversing it. I used my bare hands, but if you don't want to get ink on your fingers, you could use tweezers or needle-nose pliers to gently remove, flip, and reinsert the tip.

How can I restore my paint brushes without brush cleaner? ›

Use mineral spirits or paint thinner to remove oil based paints. Use denatured alcohol for shellacs. Use mineral spirits for varnishes. Use water if your are removing a water based glue.

Why is my magic wand not working in Photoshop? ›

1 Correct answer

Make sure you've clicked on the layer that has the sky on it (make sure it's "highlighted" - kind of a different gray than the other layers), so Photoshop knows that's the layer from which you want to select pixels.

Where is Photoshop brushes folder? ›

Unsaved custom brushes get stored in Users/[user name]/Library/Preferences/Adobe Photoshop [version] Settings/Brushes.

How do I reset Photoshop settings without opening? ›

Press Ctrl-K (PC) or cmd-K (Mac). Click on "Reset Preferences on Quit" in the "General" tab and press OK to confirm. Press OK to close the Preferences window. Restart Photoshop.

How do I reset the tool in Photoshop 2022? ›

To reset all of Photoshops tools at once, select any tool, then right-click on the tool icon in the upper settings bar. In the pop-out menu that appears, choose “Reset All Tools.” This will reset all of the tools in Photoshop back to their default, including the layout of the toolbar.

What should you do if your Tools are not working properly? ›

Set your tool aside and allow it to cool down before attempting to diagnose or fix an issue.
  1. Once the tool is cooled, check to see if any dust or debris has gotten into the tool. ...
  2. If your tool is free of burning debris, you may need to take apart the tool's casing and check for heat damage.
Nov 1, 2016

What are the signs of damaged tool equipment? ›

But working with damaged equipment can cause accidents and injuries, so it's important to pay attention to the condition of your tools.
Visible Wear and Tear
  • Bending parts.
  • Chipping parts.
  • Complete breakage.
  • Dullness.
  • Rust and discoloration.
  • Fraying power cords.
  • Smoke coming from the unit.
Jun 17, 2021

How can you recognize the malfunctioning of Tools? ›

Even when the best tool maintenance is carried out, tools can stop working and need immediate inspection and possibly repair.
Diagnosing Power Tool Problems: 5 Warning Signs and What They...
  • It Won't Start. ...
  • Weakened Power. ...
  • Burning Smell. ...
  • High-Pitched Screeching Noise. ...
  • Sparks and Smoke.
Jul 14, 2021

Why can't I use the Magic Wand tool in Photoshop? ›

Choose the Magic Wand Tool in the Tools palette to the left of your screen, or type “W.” If the Magic Wand Tool isn't visible, it may be hidden behind the Quick Selection Tool. In this case, click and hold on the Quick Selection Tool, and choose the Magic Wand Tool.

Why is brush tool not working for Mask in Photoshop? ›

In Editor, go to Image>Mode and be sure that RGB color is checked. Make sure that you have the ordinary brush tool, not one of the other "brushes" that are available in the brush slot. Open the image.

Why is my brush grayed out in Photoshop? ›

If you hit CTRL+Z, it might be you went back to where you were before you had selected a brush in the first place.

How do I reset the magic wand tool in Photoshop? ›

1. Reset your tools to their default settings. To reset the tools, underneath the top line menu and the word “File,” right click on the tool icon [rectangular marquee tool shown]. Select “Reset All Tools.” This is advisable in the IMC where students may change Photoshop default settings.

How do you activate the magic wand tool? ›

Here's how to use the Magic Wand tool for selections.
  1. Select it: Select the Magic Wand tool in the toolbar, and make sure the layer you want to select is active.
  2. Click it: Click where you want, and a new selection will appear automatically.
  3. Edit it: ...
  4. Change it: ...
  5. Invert it:

Why am I stuck on the hand tool in Photoshop? ›

Try resetting your Photoshop preferences. Press and hold Alt+Control+Shift (Windows) or Option+Command+Shift (Mac OS) immediately after launching Photoshop. You will be prompted to delete the current settings.

How do I reset Photoshop settings back to normal? ›

Resetting your Photoshop Preferences
  1. Step 1: Open The Preferences Dialog Box. ...
  2. Step 2: Choose "Reset Preferences On Quit" ...
  3. Step 3: Click "Yes" To Delete The Preferences When Quitting. ...
  4. Step 4: Close And Relaunch Photoshop.
Jan 18, 2023

How do I get my brush back to point? ›

Place the brush in the boiling water. Rotate the brush in the water for approximately 5 minutes. You should begin to notice that the bristles will start to come back together from the heat and water.


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