How to Reset Preferences in Photoshop

Has this ever happened to you? You’re following along with a Photoshop tutorial, but run up against a brick wall when Photoshop doesn’t respond the way the tutorial says it should. Or you’re going along fine and dandy, but then Photoshop starts responding weirdly.

What do you do?

Hey there! I’m Cara, and I have been frustrated more than once by performance issues with Photoshop. Sometimes this happens because the preferences might have gotten out of whack or something is corrupted. The good news is that there is an easy fix. 

In this article, you’ll find solutions to restore the default settings and reset preferences in Photoshop.

Note: the screenshots below are taken from the Windows version of Adobe Photoshop, if you’re using the Mac version, the navigations may look slightly different.

Caution

Before we get started, I should warn you that resetting the preferences returns everything to the default. That includes custom keyboard shortcuts or workspaces, color settings, and other custom features. 

If you want to conserve any of your custom settings, make a note of what you want to keep so you can easily add them back in. 

The Keyboard Shortcut

This method for resetting preferences in Photoshop is really easy but requires some fast fingers. 

Close Photoshop completely, then reopen it. When you do, hold down Control + Alt + Shift or Command + Option + Shift on a Mac. If you did it right, you’ll get this dialog box.

Choose Yes to delete any user preference changes and restore the defaults.

The Preferences Window

If you’re struggling with the fast fingers, don’t despair. You can also make the change in the menus within Photoshop.

Simply go to Edit in the menu bar and go to Preferences all the way down at the bottom. From the fly-out menu that appears, choose General. You can also just hit Control + K or Command + K on the keyboard for quick access. 

In the menu that appears, click Reset Preferences On Quit

Click OK in the dialog box that pops up. 

The last step, simply quit Photoshop and reopen it. With any luck, your Photoshop performance issues will have disappeared! Add back in any preferences you wanted to keep (and cross your fingers that the problems don’t come back).

Voila! Want to learn more about using Photoshop? Check out more of our articles, such as how to reset tools in Photoshop!

About Cara Koch
Cara fell in love with photography circa 2014 and has been exploring all corners of the imagery world ever since. When she felt limited by Lightroom, she dove headfirst into Photoshop to learn how to create the images she wanted.

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