There’s nothing worse than having your Photoshop running slow while you wait too long before getting back to work in Photoshop. When this happens, you may be wondering why Photoshop is slow. Ultimately, there are several reasons why this happens.
A common reason why Photoshop is slow is that your computer is using too much RAM. Closing unused applications can give Photoshop more processing power. You can also go to Photoshop (Mac) or File (PC) > Preferences > Performance and increase the RAM usage for Photoshop.
As much as you’d like to blame your computer or Photoshop for causing the problem, the problem is usually an incorrect setting or preference you’ve been using. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there and luckily there are some very simple solutions to avoid wasting hours of work.
Go through this list of possible causes to try and find the right solution for you.
Table of Contents
Common reasons why Photoshop running slow and how to fix it
1. Photoshop just needs a break
After a few hours of image editing in Photoshop, your computer has used up a lot of RAM. This is the memory required to perform any task on your computer, and there is a limit to this memory depending on the capabilities of your laptop.
Since Photoshop needs a lot of RAM to work, sometimes the system can get confused by using too many actions. This is especially true if there are many other tasks running in the background.
Just restart the program to reset that memory and start all over again. You can also restart your computer to make sure that the RAM is also completely reset. Don’t forget to save your work before restarting anything.
2. Home screen not loading properly
When you start Photoshop, it loads and opens on the Start screen, where your recently opened projects are displayed. Sometimes this screen may appear blank or the new document window may crash or show a blank window.
If you want to avoid this or just want faster access to your workspace, turn off the home screen. Then you go directly to the workspace when you open Photoshop.
To do this, select Edit > Preferences > General or use the keyboard shortcut Control + K (Windows) or Command + K (Mac). Then uncheck “Show automatic startup screen” and the next time you open Photoshop, you’ll automatically be taken to the workspace screen.
3. New Document Window Takes Too Long to Load
When creating a new document in Photoshop, the pop-up window is quite large and you don’t always need all the options. This can unnecessarily slow down your workflow. Reducing the size of this window can speed up the process.
Navigate to the same window as in the previous step and select the ‘Use Legacy ‘New Document’ interface. You now have a smaller window that loads much faster than the default window.
4. Insufficient RAM
Because RAM makes everything on your computer work and Photoshop needs a lot of it, it automatically limits the amount of RAM the program can use. This can slow down Photoshop to some extent, and using Photoshop alone can increase your RAM usage.
Navigate to the general preferences window as shown in the first solution. Then select “Performance” on the left side of the window. In the “Memory Usage” section, you can move the slider to increase or decrease the RAM limit. Don’t go beyond 90% as your other computing processes will still require RAM to run properly.
5. Decrease history statuses and increase cache levels
The Solution Performance tab above has two more tricks to speed up your Photoshop performance. By default, the program automatically saves 50 history states, allowing you to undo 50 actions. If you don’t need that many, you can reduce that number.
In the performance window, select the arrow next to “History states” and move the slider to the number you need.
Just below the ‘History states’ are the ‘Cache levels’, which determine how quickly your project will redraw your images as you edit them. If you are working on larger size files, you should increase this setting to speed up your workflow.
The default is 4, which you should increase to 6 for larger files. Select the arrow next to “Cache Levels” and move the slider if necessary.
6. Misconfigured preferences
Photoshop can sometimes lag because preferences are set incorrectly at some point. It can take ages to test every tool and search every configuration to find the problem. You can easily reset Photoshop to its default settings to resolve this issue.
To reset the default settings, navigate to the General Preference’s window with Control + K (Windows) or Command + K (Mac) and select “Reset Preferences on Exit.” When asked if you are sure, select OK. The next time you open Photoshop, start all over again.
7. Photoshop Crashes on Startup
During Photoshop startup, your screen may freeze on the startup screen when you get to ‘Loading Halide Bottlenecks…’ This is usually caused by large preset files or corrupted color profiles. To fix this, you need to update to the latest version of Photoshop via Creative Cloud.
8. Lack of hard drive space
Photoshop requires that you have at least 20% free hard drive space when you run the program. It won’t use all that space with files, but it needs the space to be available when the program is run.
If you find your workflow is slow for no other reason, check how much extra space you have on your hard drive(s). Make more space by deleting files or adding another hard drive to your computer’s configuration.
9. Lack of Resources
If you try to apply a filter and get a warning that Photoshop is out of resources, you can clear it to continue working.
Select Edit > Delete > All to clear everything on the clipboard and history, giving you more resources to work through.
10. External monitor delayed
Multiple operations in Photoshop require your computer to use a lot of energy to perform these operations. Using an external monitor can sometimes cause delays if the computer cannot work with the large monitor.
You can fix this by disconnecting the external monitor or upgrading your computer’s hardware. Alternatively, you can lower the resolution on your external monitor to reduce the load.
11. Files stored on network drives
Editing files or using elements located on network drives can slow down your workflow. Photoshop is also only configured to fix problems with local disks, so it may have trouble locating the problem.
To fix this, copy the necessary files to your local drive before editing them. After you are done editing and saving your work, you can copy the files back to the network drive.
12. Clipboard takes up memory
Photoshop automatically saves copied files to a clipboard so you can paste items into other programs. This feature is not always necessary and can use RAM unnecessarily. You can avoid this by dragging and dropping your items instead of copying and pasting them.
Alternatively, you can disable the clipboard. Navigate to the General Preferences menu using the keyboard shortcut Control + K (Windows) or Command + K (Mac), and uncheck “Export Clipboard”.
Why is Photoshop running slow to save files?
A common problem that many people face when using Photoshop is lag, which occurs when saving files.
The most common reason for slow storage speed is due to large file sizes, which cannot always be avoided. However, you may be saving files that are larger than necessary. A common misconception in editing and design is that the larger the file, the better the quality. However, this is not true.
Smaller file sizes can still provide great quality and allow for scalability when printing photos on a larger scale.
Start making smaller projects; you can do this by deleting all the layers you don’t need or by merging layers you’re no longer working on. You can create these two options by right-clicking on the layers you want to delete or merge and select them from the list.
Another quick trick with layers is to apply a layer mask by right-clicking on the mask and selecting “Apply Layer Mask”. This will reduce the file size.
You can also downsample your images to reduce the file size. To do this, select Image > Image Size or use the keyboard shortcut Control + Alt + I (Windows) or Command + Option + I (Mac).
Then change the resolution by typing the new resolution in the box. For web graphics, 72 PPI (pixels/inch) is best and 300 PPI is good quality for printing graphics.
When saving your file, you can also choose from several file types; your selection determines the export speed. For example, JPEG exports faster than TIFF because it is more compressed. So only use the heaviest file types if necessary.
Save an image for the web
When saving an image for the web, you should only use a quality between 40 and 60, because anything above that is not necessary and will only reduce your export time.
To do this, select File > Export > Save for Web (Legacy) or use the keyboard shortcut Control + Shift + Alt + S (Windows) or Command + Shift + Option + S (Mac). Then slide the quality option to the desired level. This saves a few seconds when saving images from the web.
Other Common Economic Problems
There are a few more reasons why your files may take longer to save and there are some workarounds to resolve this issue.
Increasing Photoshop’s RAM capacity, decreasing history states, and increasing cache levels can speed up your export. See numbers 4 and 5 above to learn how to implement these tricks.
If you save your work as a PSD or PSB file, it may take longer due to the compression process. If you don’t mind having a slightly larger file on your hard drive, you can disable this step.
Select the General Preferences menu with the keyboard shortcut Control + K (Windows) or Command + K (Mac). Then choose ‘File processing’ on the left before selecting ‘Disable compression of PSD and PSB files.
Why is the Brush tool late?
If the brush starts to slow down in Photoshop, it’s usually because the Smoothing setting is set too high. Using the Brush tool, go to the top settings bar and lower the anti-aliasing slider to a lower value. Now your brush will work without delay.
Now a lagging brush in Photoshop can be caused by some issues. Your overall workflow may be lagging, you may have accidentally increased the brush smoothing option, or your computer’s processing is causing problems.
If you’ve tried the steps above to fix a common lag issue, the next step is to check the brush’s smoothing. This option is available to create a smoother brushstroke, and the delay you experience is needed to create a smoother look.
If you don’t want that effect and the slow-motion, reduce the straightening. Once you’ve selected your brush, press B and find the smoothing option in the top options bar and resize it as much as you want.
Another trick you can try, especially if your computer’s processing unit isn’t too big, is to change the drawing mode to basic. Go to the preferences window using the keyboard shortcut Control + K (Windows) or Command + K (Mac). Then select “Performance” on the left.
Select ‘Advanced Settings’ at the top right under ‘Graphics Processor Settings’. Then select Basic from the drop-down menu next to the “Drawing Mode” option. This should help avoid any delay in the brush.
So, here are some common reasons why Photoshop starts running slow and how to fix them. Even if you don’t have a top computer, these tips will help you get Photoshop running smoothly in no time! Please try to support vdtips by sharing this post thanks.