What to do if your Photoshop tools start acting strange

I’m sure, like me, there have been times when you’ve been using Photoshop and one of the tools starts doing its own thing and acts completely strange. So what’s a Photoshop user to do when the tools get wierd?

Well the first thing to do is to check in the Options / Control Bar to make sure that the tool isn’t using a setting from the last time you used it. One of the tools where this happens frequently is the Crop Tool. Often we’ll put size settings into the Crop Tool Options, forget about them and then next time we use the Crop Tool it’s making (what seems like) strange constrained shapes.

Crop Tool Photoshop


Sometimes this may not be the case, so what you can do is reset that particular tool (or even all your tools) to their default factory setting. Here’s how you can do that:

Right-click directly onto the downward facing arrow beside the tool icon on the Options Bar. A pop-up menu appears and you can choose to reset just that tool or reset all of your Photoshop tools.


OR (and this is a longwinded way to do the same thing)

  • Click on the downward facing arrow beside the tool
  • Click on the settings button on the drop down menu which appears
  • Choose Reset Tool from the next menu which appears


I hope this helps if you’re searching for a reason why your Photoshop tools are acting up.








  1. Kristy says:

    Thanks good info! Ever run into an issue when a short cut key combo isn’t working properly? My feather ‘Select-Modify-Feather’ (shift +F6) seems to think it should be flipping instead of feathering a selection. I’ve looked through all the keyboard shortcuts to make sure it is not assigned to another action and I’ve tried resetting the Photoshop preferences and it still does not fix it. Thoughts?

  2. Hi Kristy
    I have come across shortcut keys acting up alright, but the fix can vary from case to case. It can depend on whether you’re on mac or pc, the version of Photoshop and even plugins that you have on your computer. I’ve seen things like keyboard language settings and wacom tablets cause shortcuts to stop working but it can be really hard to track down what the problem is. Have a look at this thread on the Adobe Forum – good luck!

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