How do I Reset Photoshop to Default Settings?

How do I reset Photoshop preferences and settings to default? During experimentation, you might find yourself changing the default settings of Photoshop. Then later completely forgetting what the baseline setting were. If you have been messing with Photoshop for long enough, you know exactly what I mean. There might also be times when Photoshop begins to behave strangely and a settings and preferences reset to default might become helpful.

Well, the good news is that there is a simple fix that allows you to reset all of your Photoshop settings and preferences back to factory default. The following three methods have been tested to work on Photoshop CS2, CS3, CS4, CS5, CS6 all the way up to Photoshop 2022.

How to Reset Photoshop Settings and Preferences

To reset Photoshop to default while opening Photoshop,

  1. First, hold down all three Ctrl+Alt+Shift buttons.
  2. Now “while keeping those button held,” simply open Photoshop.
  3. As it loads, you should get a prompt asking if you would like to “delete the Photoshop settings file”, Click Yes
How to Reset Photoshop
How to Reset Photoshop Settings and Preferences to Factory Default.

If all went well, you should now have a fresh slate with all of the settings returned to their default.

Note: I have found that this process is kind of finicky and doesn’t always work. I have had the best results pressing Ctrl+Alt+Shift and clicking the shortcut from the start menu in Windows.

Reset Preferences on Quit from Within Photoshop

To Reset Photoshop Preferences while running from Photoshop,

  1. From the menu bar, navigate to Edit -> Preferences -> General
  2. (1) Choose the option to Reset Preferences on Quit.
    (2) Click OK when prompted to reset preferences when quitting.
    (3) Finally, Select OK to close the general preferences window.
    Reset Photoshop Preferences

Now when Photoshop is closed, your preferences will be reset.

Reset Photoshop to Default Settings from Shortcut

To reset Photoshop to default settings if you have a shortcut or image that can be opened with Photoshop,

  1. Press and hold Ctrl+Alt+Shift then;
  2. (right mouse click) a Photoshop shortcut or Image file and select Open.
    reset photoshop settings
  3. Then choose Yes when prompted to delete the Adobe Photoshop Settings File.
    delete adobe photoshop settings file

This concludes my How To Reset Photoshop tutorial. If all went well, you should now be back to running Photoshop with the factory default settings.

Final Note: When working from Windows, I use Photoshop to do most of my graphical work. But when working from Linux, I prefer to use GIMP, which is a great open source equivalent (GNU Image Manipulation Program). Gimp does offer a Windows version as well. Something to consider if you are looking to move away from Photoshop into a Free image editor that can perform much of the same functionality.