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Photoshop Elements >

Troubleshooting >

Brush Tool Is Missing

Reason #1 - The Icon Is Missing

The Brush tool has a blue tip (red arrow).

The Brush tool is part of a tool family.

The other members of the family are the Impressionist Brush tool and the Color Replacement tool (green box).

If you don't see the icon for the Brush tool, go to Tool Options and click on it.


Brush Tool

Reason #2 - The Brush Circle Is Missing

The Brush tool, and many other brushes, display a circle.


Brush Tool Circle

Inexplicably, the circle may become a cross hairs.


Cross Hairs

Or, you not even see cross hairs.

The brush has completely disappeared.



Solution #1

Caps Lock is on.

Press the Caps Lock key to turn it off.

Solution #2

The brush is larger than your monitor.

Reduce the size of the brush.

If the Above Solutions Didn't Help

If the above solutions didn't make the missing tool return, try the following, in the following order.

1) Save any unsaved work, close Photoshop Elements, and restart the program.

2) Restart your computer.

3) Delete the Preferences File.

4) Uninstall and reinstall Photoshop Elements.

Other Brush Problems

If a brush is misbehaving, check the options bar/Tool Options section.

If the opacity setting isn't at 100%, the effect of the brush is lessened.

If there's a Mode menu, open it up.

Most often, you want it to be set to Normal.


Sometimes, it's hard to see where a brush is located.

Press and hold the space bar.

The brush circle changes to the easily seen Hand tool.


When the Space Bar Is Pressed & Held

Release the space bar to use the brush.