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How to Make Photoshop Run Faster

Published: 09/06/2021

If you are looking for ways to speed up Photoshop, you have landed on the right page. The sluggish speed of your software can be tackled if you learn how to make Photoshop run faster with our recommendations below. 

How to Make Photoshop Run Faster

Using Photoshop as a beginner is more like blind arrow shots. You probably have sources to learn the various processes that the software can do but very little guidance on how to organize and optimize your workflow. You keep on editing images until there comes a time when you feel that the software is running slow.

There can be several reasons behind any unresponsiveness or slow speed of Photoshop. Not abiding by the system requirements, less RAM, or even a bloated cache can be the culprit. Facing interruptions due to the slow speed when you want a speedy performance from the software can be highly annoying.

Read on to know what you can do to run Photoshop faster for a productive and enjoyable workflow.

1. Avoid Copy and Pasting Images

The first recommendation, although it sounds trivial, has a significant impact on memory, and consequently, the speed of the software. If you habitually copy images and paste them on documents in Photoshop, the image gets copied on the clipboard, taking up a chunk of memory. Rather than copy-pasting, drag and drop your images on a document to save memory.

2. Disable PSD File Compression

Compressing PSD files upon saving them makes Photoshop work harder, resulting in a slower speed. It will make a lot of difference if you disable compression on these files. Your files will be larger in size but will be saved quickly. 

Go to the Photoshop menu (on Mac) or Edit menu (on Windows) and click on Preferences. In the File Handling tab of the Preferences dialog, check the option for Disable Compression of PSD Files.

Disabling PSD File Compression in to speed up Photoshop

3. Reset Preferences in Photoshop

Resetting Preferences is one of the ways to solve many issues, including slow speed. It is a straightforward process to do. All you need to do is close Photoshop and press and hold CTRL + ALT + SHIFT (Windows) or CMD + OPTION + SHIFT (on Mac) while relaunching it. 

This action will show a dialog box asking for confirmation for “Delete the Adobe Photoshop Settings File?” Select Yes, and Photoshop will be reset to default settings. 

4. Increase Use of RAM

The default allocation of RAM to Photoshop is 70%. If you go to the Edit / Photoshop menu and choose Preferences > Performance, the memory usage section will show how much RAM Photoshop is using.  Increase it to 80% (even more if you use your computer only for Photoshop). 

You will notice a major difference in speed after doing the above step, as Photoshop will have an easier job running operations with a higher RAM.

Improving Photoshop performance by increasing the use of RAM

5. Use 64-bit Architecture

This step is conditional for a system that supports 64-bit mode. Running Photoshop on a system that has a 64-bit architecture will boost the software’s performance. Even if you work with large files and documents with a lot of layers, Photoshop won’t halt in between. 

A 64-bit architecture plus an increased quota for RAM is an ideal combination for Photoshop to run at lightning speed.

You can check whether the version of Photoshop runs on 32 bit or 64 bit by checking it on the splash screen when you open Photoshop. You will be able to see it adjacent to the application version number.  

6. Select Scratch Disk as Primary

When Photoshop is running, it uses the scratch disk, which is a hard disk or SSD, for temporary storage. The portions of documents and their history panel states are stored in the scratch disk. The hard disk on which your OS is installed is the default primary scratch disk used by Photoshop.

Depending upon the type of work you do in Photoshop, you can see how much 

free space you need on your operating system hard drive. Doing so will prevent Photoshop from becoming sluggish.

If you use it for small retouching jobs, you will be needing 10 GB of scratch disk space. But if your work involves complex, multilayered documents, several filters, and heavy editing, you will require much higher storage space. It will have a significant impact on the software performance.

7. Decrease The File Size

It is highly recommended to decrease file sizes to boost Photoshop’s performance. This step largely depends on how you intend to use your files. However, if they are to be used on the internet, they must not be large. 

Decrease your file size to 3000 pixels by going to the Image menu and selecting Image Size. 

8. Adjust Cache Levels

The cache levels influence the software speed. You have an option to tweak the cache levels depending on the type of images that you use. By default, the cache level is set to 4. 

If you frequently work with multilayered small image files (1200 by 1000 pixels maximum), it is recommended to set the cache level to 1 or 2. However, keep in mind that a higher quality result is not possible with a cache level of 1, as it disables image caching. 

However, if you work with large dimensional files, set your cache levels above 4.

9. Refine GPU Preferences

The GPU settings can be accessed via Performance and 3D sections in the Preferences dialog in Photoshop. Go to the Edit /Photoshop menu, and choose Preferences > Performance. If you are using a Graphic card on your system, its name and model will show under the Detected Graphics Processor section in the Graphics Processor Settings. 

  • Make sure the checkbox for “Use Graphics Processor” is checked. 
  • If the checkbox is greyed out, it is an indication that your graphics card is not supported by Photoshop, hence not detected.

10. Disable Thumbnail Display

Free up your system resources by turning off the thumbnails for layers. This will handle the speed issue up to a great extent as it won’t use any memory to load thumbnail previews. Although it will result in a lack of visual cues that we otherwise get in the layer panel, the speedy performance will be worth it. 

Right click in the Layer panel and click on No Thumbnails to turn off the thumbnail display. 

11. Organize Layers

There are three ways in which the layer organization can help you to optimize Photoshop performance.

Layers are the building blocks of Photoshop workflow. However, it can’t be denied that they have a considerable impact on the speed besides increasing the file size. You can say that a feature that fulfills all your design and manipulation needs is justified to use more memory. 

  • Merge Layers: A quick way to fix the speed issue is to merge layers after you are done working with the layers. Select all the layers in the layer panel by pressing CTRL/CMD + A, right-click on any layer, and select Merge Layers.
  • Flatten Images: Another way to combine the layers and improve Photoshop speed is to select the layers, go to the Layer menu, and choose the Flatten Image option.
  • Smart Objects: Create Smart Objects by right-clicking on layers and choose Convert to Smart Object. Using smart objects will save a lot of disk space besides enhancing your workflow.

Conclusion

Once you have tried these methods, it is recommended to close Photoshop, shut down your system, and restart it. After that, launch Adobe Photoshop CC to see the effects of these methods and enjoy a seamless, speedy experience in Photoshop.

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