How to Fix Photoshop Not Showing Brush Size

Brush-based tools are an essential part of every Photoshop workflow, so it’s equally essential that they work properly. When any of the brush tools are active, Photoshop normally shows a preview of your current brush size, but sometimes Photoshop doesn’t do what we expect. 

In this article, you will find six easy solutions that might help you fix your brush size display issues!

1. Keyboard shortcuts

The simplest way to make Photoshop show your current brush size is to press the Caps Lock keyboard shortcut. This toggles the cursor between the default mode, which shows brush size, and precision mode, which features a small crosshair for pixel-perfect positioning. 

Some users in the Adobe Photoshop support forums claim to have success fixing the issue by pressing the Windows key + Caps Lock. This isn’t a supported shortcut in Windows or in Photoshop as far as I know, so I think this is just a mistake on their part, and it’s just toggling Caps Lock that does the trick. 

2. Check Additional Keyboards

Many people use Photoshop on their laptops, and some people also use a second keyboard when their laptop is docked or otherwise set up on their desk. 

The Adobe support forums are filled with users who never thought to check the Caps Lock key on their secondary keyboards! 

If pressing the Caps Lock key on the keyboard you’re using doesn’t toggle your cursor mode properly, be sure to check any other keyboards that you may have connected to your computer.

3. Disconnect Docking Stations and Other Hardware

Some users in the support forums also reported that their USB docking stations had caused problems with the Caps Lock toggle or caused other issues with their cursor display.

If you’ve got a drawing tablet or other input device that is capable of sending keystrokes to Photoshop, you can try disconnecting it and restarting Photoshop. 

4. Setting Your Cursor Defaults

If none of the previous solutions worked for you, then it’s possible that your cursor settings are to blame. Considering how important brushes are to Photoshop, Adobe has thoughtfully included a huge range of customization options to meet a range of needs, but some of the possible configurations are very difficult to see. 

It’s hard to change these settings by accident, but stranger things have happened – especially if there is a problem with your preferences file. Fortunately, this doesn’t occur as often as it used to in the pre-Creative Cloud era, but it’s still worth checking. 

On a PC, open the Edit menu, select the Preferences submenu, and click Cursors

On a Mac, open the Photoshop application menu, select the Preferences submenu, and click Cursors.

There are three settings on this page that you should look at, as highlighted in the screenshot above:

  • Make sure that your brush shape is set to Normal Brush Tip or Full Brush Tip.
  • Make sure that the Brush Tip Outline setting is set to an option that’s actually dark enough to see. The default setting is Bold, but you can also choose Extra Bold to make it more visible.
  • Make sure that Show Only Crosshair While Painting is disabled.

Verify those settings, then click the OK button to save any changes. 

5. Troubleshooting Photoshop Bugs 

The Creative Cloud “software as a service” model has a lot of advantages, but it seems like more bugs make it into the production version of Photoshop nowadays. 

Because the developers feel like they can simply release a software patch if when a new bug is identified, they don’t take quite as much time testing each new version before it is released to the public.

In the past, some versions of Photoshop have shipped with bugs relating to the brush and cursor display. Needless to say, this can be very frustrating for all of us who rely on Photoshop, but there are a couple of possible solutions to this problem.

6. Update Photoshop to the Latest Version

First, check to make sure that your Photoshop version is up-to-date. Open the Creative Cloud app, select the Apps tab, and then select the Updates section from the list in the left pane, as shown below.

I just updated Photoshop 2 days ago, but when a new update is released, the button will say Update instead of Open

If Photoshop can be updated, click the Update button and let the Creative Cloud app download and install the new version for you automatically. If the button is labeled Open instead, there are no new updates available. 

Once Photoshop is updated, check to see if the issue with your cursor’s brush size is gone.

How to Roll Back to a Previous Version of Photoshop

If updating Photoshop doesn’t fix your problem, then you can try installing a previous version of Photoshop that was released before the bug appeared. This is usually a last-ditch solution because it can be a bit tedious and time-consuming to download and install, but if there’s an old version you are certain works properly, you can re-install it through the Creative Cloud app.

Select the Apps tab, then select the All Apps section from the list in the left pane, as shown below. 

Locate Photoshop in the list of apps, click the More actions button to display a popup menu, and select Other versions from the list.

You will be presented with a list of previous Photoshop versions that are available to install. It’s quite a list to choose from, even though it only stretches back two major version releases, but that’s often what happens with the ‘software as a service’ model. 

To install a previous version, click the Install link next to the version you want to install. 

A Final Word

That covers all the solutions that you can use when Photoshop is not showing brush sizes! I think I’ve covered them all, but if you have a solution that works that I’ve left out of the list, let me know in the comments below, and I’ll test it out and add it to the list. 

Good luck with your troubleshooting! If you’ve tried everything and you still can’t get it working properly, you may want to consider making a post in the Adobe Photoshop support forums.

About Thomas Boldt
Thomas started his Photoshop career way back in 2000. After exploring Photoshop 5.5 in a high school computer lab, he developed an enduring passion for photography, design, and technology that carried him through a Bachelor of Design degree and into the wild world of tech startups.

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