Reset Preferences Easily


Today’s Question: You’ve talked about resetting preferences in Photoshop as a way to resolve unusual problems, and I’m having just such an issue. However, I’m struggling to reset by holding down the Ctrl+Alt+Shift buttons while launching Photoshop. Is there an easier way to reset preferences?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can very easily reset preferences by clicking the “Reset Preferences On Quit” button on the General tab of the Preferences dialog.

More Detail: Resetting the preferences in Photoshop can help resolve odd issues, such as crashes, weird interface displays, or other unusual symptoms. The way I describe it is that whenever you feel that Photoshop isn’t behaving as it is supposed to, there’s a good chance that resetting the preferences will provide a solution.

Until somewhat recently it could be a little challenging to reset preferences in Photoshop. You needed to hold the Ctrl+Alt+Shift keys on Windows or the Command+Option+Shift keys on Macintosh while Photoshop was starting up. On Windows in particular you needed to make sure to press and hold these keys right after launching, not before launching, which added a degree of difficulty.

Fortunately, Adobe added a button for resetting preferences in the Preferences dialog. To get started go to the menu and on Windows choose Edit > Preferences > General or on Macintosh choose Photoshop > Preferences > General. That will take you to the General tab of the Preferences dialog, where you’ll find a button labeled “Reset Preferences On Quit”.

Click that “Reset Preferences On Quit” button and click OK in the confirmation dialog. Then click OK to close the Preferences dialog and quit Photoshop. The preferences will be reset without any further prompting when you next launch Photoshop.

Keep in mind that resetting the preferences will reset all of the settings within the Preferences dialog to their default options and will also reset the color management settings within the Color Settings dialog. Therefore, after resetting preferences you’ll want to be sure to review the settings in both Preferences and Color Settings to configure based on your preferred settings.