Troubleshooting Text Tool Problems in Photoshop

So I was busily editing away late one night creating an invitation for one of my clients when to my horror all my text disappeared.

Gone. Nada. Nothing. Nix. Invisible.

All. Of. It.

Then I noticed a very strange thing in Photoshop: Instead of showing the colour of my text, the text colour box just showed a question mark.

I changed the colour of my text, but still the problem remained. I changed the font. No better. I deleted the text layer and made a new one. No luck. I shut down the file and created a completely new file. From scratch. All that work done all over again. I shut Photoshop down and restarted my computer. Still no text. Everything I typed just ran away and hid! Well, to be more accurate, it didn’t even bother to show up in the first place.

Panic ensued. I ran a virus check.

No viruses found. Phew. But still no text!

So I did what every good Photoshop user does in such situations: I Googled.

It seems I wasn’t the first person to have this problem, but a solution wasn’t at all easy to find. Most of the forum conversations I looked at rapidly turned into heated criticisms of people’s design tastes and font choices, but offered little by way of solution to the problem, until one quiet little voice at the end of one forum said softly, “Select ‘Reset Character’ in the character palette.”

Unfortunately I can remember neither the forum nor the author of that comment, but I have concluded that things softly spoken are often worth hearing.

Here’s where you’ll find the character palette:

And now the text is visible again!

Happy editing and designing!



Jennifer Taylor runs vividity photography in Sydney, Australia, specialising in child and family portraits. When she started her photography career almost everyone was shooting film, so learning Photoshop has been a fun challenge for her. She’d be thrilled to bits if you were to drop by her blog and leave a little love note.



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  1. 1
    Anna says:

    the character tab is usually found under Window/Character….It’s not always to the left on the info tab…never has been on mine.

    • 1.1
      Jen Taylor says:

      Thanks for the extra info, Anna. As I said in my post, definitely not a PS expert here! I guess the location of the character tab is dependent on what palettes you like to have visible on your workspace. Jen.

  2. 2
    marian wigdorovitz says:

    A beautifully written article, and a precise and useful tip. I usually have problems whenever I want to add a text on an image.
    Thanks a lot for being so didactical, Jen!!!

  3. 3
    Alice C. says:

    That’s awesome! I haven’t had that happen to me before, but it’s good to know the fix if it dpes!

  4. 4
    Ryan Jaime says:

    This is a tip that will stick in my head. Hope it never happens, but if it does, I’m ready!

  5. 5
    Amandajean says:

    I’m glad you were able to find a way to fix it. Thankfully I never had that problem, Only time I ever see the question mark in the color box is if my text is more then one color =)

  6. 6
    Adam says:

    Great tip, thanks. But I would like to also know (not expecting you to look into it … just a comment) but would like to know what caused the problem in the first place. Was it something done in Photoshop where that is the outcome, or is it simply a glitch that Adobe built in a recovery feature? I think it is the later.

  7. 7
    Sally says:

    This has happened to me on several occasions and I had to close our PS and restart it in order for the text to show up. Thank you so much for sharing this tip!It makes things so much easier!

  8. 8

    This tutorial was really helpful for both newbie & advanced user. you’ve done really excellent work. I’ll visit your blog again.

  9. 9
    guest says:

    i really need to learn this stuff

  10. 10
    Jean says:


  11. 11
    Dan says:

    Bingo! Thanks so much for this – I was about to throw my Mac through the window in despair!

  12. 12
    schtals says:

    Window – Character > Text options dropmenu – RESET CHARACTER.

  13. 13
    Jesterman says:

    Thank You!!
    This has been driving me crazy.

  14. 14
    MarcLab says:

    you saved me.

  15. 15
    Kelly says:

    GAH! I almost started crying last night I couldnt figure it out! thank you so much I got it working again!

  16. 16
    udnis says:

    thanks for your info… works for me to. now the question mark is gone and i can use my PShop again

  17. 17
    Howie says:

    You are my hero! This was the exact issue I was having.
    Thank you so much for posting this article!

  18. 18

    Thank you so much – so glad I found your article. There were a million complicated “answers” and this simple thing was the actual thing that worked. Really appreciate it.

  19. 19

    Thanks so much! You are amazing-totally needed this! Now to figure out why my brushes are missing.LOL

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