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Troubleshooting Text Tool Problems in Photoshop


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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.

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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:

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text-tool-blip-3_webready Troubleshooting Text Tool Problems in Photoshop Guest Bloggers Photoshop Tips & Tutorials

And now the text is visible again!

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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.




No Comments

  1. Anna on April 2, 2012 at 9:22 am

    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.

    • Jen Taylor on April 9, 2012 at 2:27 am

      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. marian wigdorovitz on April 2, 2012 at 9:46 am

    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!!!Marian.

  3. Alice C. on April 2, 2012 at 10:25 am

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

  4. Ryan Jaime on April 2, 2012 at 7:36 pm

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

  5. Amandajean on April 3, 2012 at 6:10 am

    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. Adam on April 3, 2012 at 7:13 am

    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.

    • Jen Taylor on April 9, 2012 at 2:22 am

      I’d LOVE to know what caused it. Never did find the root of the problem.

  7. Sally on April 3, 2012 at 11:12 am

    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. Clipping Path on April 4, 2012 at 4:55 am

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

    • Jen Taylor on April 9, 2012 at 2:23 am

      Thanks clipping path. Loads of really great info on this blog. Check out Jodie’s video tutorials. Really worthwhile. Jen.

  9. guest on April 5, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    i really need to learn this stuff

    • Jen Taylor on April 9, 2012 at 2:28 am

      Keep dropping by the MCP actions blog, and you’ll learn all sorts of really useful stuff!

  10. Jean on July 10, 2012 at 6:28 am


  11. Dan on December 19, 2012 at 8:57 am

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

  12. schtals on December 28, 2012 at 6:17 am

    Window – Character > Text options dropmenu – RESET CHARACTER.

  13. Jesterman on January 14, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Thank You!!This has been driving me crazy.

  14. MarcLab on February 1, 2013 at 9:06 am

    you saved me.

  15. Kelly on April 5, 2013 at 4:50 pm

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

  16. udnis on August 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm

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

  17. Howie on January 15, 2014 at 3:28 pm

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

  18. Tricia McDonald on September 24, 2014 at 3:15 am

    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. Mrs Major Hoff on November 17, 2014 at 10:39 am

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

  20. Amber on April 29, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Thank you sooo much! I searched everywhere!! I thought I was going crazy!! 🙂

  21. Hannah on July 20, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    Well, I wondered what I had done to my files”îor if they had all become corrupted”îwhen a client who does a lot of concerts (and therefore frequently needs me to make concert posters by updating the info in them) asked me to make a poster today. Every time I edited the text and switched back to the Move tool, blocks of the text would disappear. When I clicked in to any of these transparent lines with the Text tool, it would all reappear, only to disappear again as soon as I exited Text mode. I was confounded when I saw that exported files were not showing the text either. The placement of the disappearing blocks was pretty random and I could not figure out what was going on. Much Googling ensued, only to find solutions for InDesign but not PS. then I found your article. I read all the way to the end and found that the little quiet voice was the one that would save my bacon too! “…things softly spoken are often worth hearing.” Well said, and more often true than not. Thanks so much for sharing your experience! Now I can send the finished concert poster to my client. Whew!

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