Planet Photoshop

The Reappearing/Disappearing Brush Tip

This one gets more people because it’s a feature that acts like a bug. Has this ever happened to you? You’re working in Photoshop, you’re using the Brush tool (B), and everything seems fine. But a little later in your session, you get the Brush tool again, and it no longer displays the size of the currently selected brush tip. Instead, it displays a little crosshair cursor. So you go to the Preferences menu and choose Display & Cursors, and sure enough, you’ve got Normal Brush Tip chosen as your preference, but for some strange reason, it’s not showing your brush size; it’s showing that stupid crosshair. Here’s the problem: Check your Caps Lock key. It’s turned on, and turning it on changes your Brush cursor from displaying brush size to displaying the crosshair. This is actually a feature to be used when you need to see the precise center of your brush. The problem is it’s assigned to the Caps Lock key, so every time you turn on Caps Lock when you’re working with type, you just temporarily switched your Brush cursor (or any cursor for that matter). Does Adobe need to find a better key for this feature/bug? You betcha! Will it happen? Not as far as I know.

Posted by Corey Barker

Corey is an education and curriculum developer for KelbyOne. He is a graduate of the Ringling School of Art & Design in Sarasota, FL, with a degree in Illustration. Over the years, Corey has worked as a graphic artist in a variety of disciplines such as illustration, commercial design, large format printing, motion graphics, web design and photography. His expertise in Photoshop and Illustrator have earned him numerous awards in illustration, graphic design and photography. Using Photoshop since version 2, his expertise and creativity have evolved exponentially with every new version, which makes Corey an invaluable addition to the KelbyOne team.

32 comments on “The Reappearing/Disappearing Brush Tip

  1. Thanks so much this has puzzled me for months now. The Caps Lock key is too close to the shift key which I often use so I think Adobe should change it to something else. But at least now I know the cause of the problem so it shouldn’t really matter.


  2. Thank you so so much. Every time this crosshair thing has happened – and its been happening for long time – its driven me nuts opening and closing the programme, looking here there and everywhere trying to figure out why it has happened. Thank you!

  3. I kept rebooting thinking it was a video card or driver problem. That was driving me nuts! Thanks buddy!

  4. Thanks for solving this 13 year mystery. I’ve spent hours trying to fix this bug over the last decade. Adobe support has never figured it out when I’ve called them.

    So happy you posted this, thank you.

    Brett Gilmour

  5. i wish it WAS the caps lock! I even wish it was the cursor settings! Absolutely nothing i try gets rid of this silly 3-piece cursor that i can hardly see let alone guide to click onto what i want it to! I want my normal every-day arrow pointer back!!!! =(

    • Funny… I never had this problem until today. I found that all of my PSE preferences had reset themselves to the defaults. AND I don’t have a cursor for my brushes EXCEPT WHEN THE CAPSLOCK IS ON!! It’s quite bizarre.