Brush Smoothing Greyed Out in Photoshop [4 Fixes]

Even the most experienced designers and illustrators can have difficulty keeping a steady hand when creating art, especially if they use a design program like photoshop. Relying on a stylus instead of a brush or pencil can be an adjustment, but some tools can help that transition. One, in particular, can prove very helpful, the brush smoothing tool.

The brush smoothing tool allows you to reduce the choppiness of your brush strokes, smoothing out jagged edges. This effect can save a piece of work, but what happens when you open Photoshop and the brushing smooth is greyed out? Keep reading for ways to fix this issue.

4 Fixes for Brush Smoothing Greyed Out in Photoshop

It can be frustrating when you’ve been using a design program like Photoshop for some time without issue, and then suddenly there are tools greyed out that you need to use. Luckily, simple fixes usually address the problem without going to extremes. Some are so easy; they may have you wondering why you hadn’t thought of them before.

1. Enable the Brush Smoothing Tool

Enabling the brush tool in your tool panel may seem like an obvious fix and one you didn’t consider because you’ve selected and used the tool before. Don’t be quick to dismiss this option. The brush smoothing tool could have been unchecked if you recently did an update to Photoshop. Even if you haven’t recently updated, it’s worth a check.

If you’ve never selected this tool before, go to Windows>Brush Settings. Under “Brushes” toward the bottom of the list, you will see “Smoothing,” select the box, so a checkmark appears, and hit “Ok.”

2. Refresh the Brush Smoothing Tool

Perhaps selecting the tool isn’t your issue, and you need an alternative fix. Before trying anything else, try refreshing the tool. Navigate to the brush tool in the tool panel and right-click. A pop-up will appear that will give you two options, “Reset Tool” or “Reset All Tools.” If you have other tools greyed out that need fixing as well, you can go with the second option. If not, reset the single tool and see if that fixes the issue.

For a bonus fix, you can reset your workspace in Photoshop. Go to Windows> Workspace> Reset Essentials. If you’re not using the default “Essentials” workspace, the workspace you’re currently using that is checked in the “Workspace” menu will have the option to reset.

3. Restart the Photoshop Program

If all else fails, restart Photoshop. Sometimes, an application has technical issues for no foreseeable reason and restarting it is the only thing that sets it right. Be sure to save your work before shutting down the program and restarting it. You can even restart your whole device if there are any issues with other applications going on simultaneously.

Once you restart Photoshop, before moving on to the next fix, try the previous ones first. See if the applications will allow you to reenable the brush smoothing tool in the brush settings or refresh the tool in the tool panel.

4. Uninstall and Reinstall Photoshop

Uninstalling Photoshop would hopefully be the last resort option. If you have tried all the other suggestions and nothing has worked, then uninstalling and reinstalling could be the key to getting your tools back online.

To uninstall, open up your Creative Cloud desktop app. On the “All Apps Page,” select the “More Options” icon next to Photoshop and hit “Uninstall.” If for any reason, the Creative Cloud desktop app fails to uninstall Photoshop correctly, you can always go to your control panel and uninstall the program there.

Creative Cloud is where you will reinstall Photoshop as well. You can either do it in the app or on the website. After installation, you should have access to all your tools in Photoshop.

Honorable Mentions

If Photoshop continues to give you issues with your tools, specifically your brush smoothing tool, it may be a bigger issue than the four fixes in this article. Sometimes it could have to do with a recent update to the application or a technical glitch that has yet to be addressed. If that is the case, you will need other solutions.

Here are a few honorable mention fixes to the greyed-out brush smoothing tool issue:

  • Revert to a previous version of Photoshop if an update caused the issue.
  • Contact Adobe Support for help. IT personnel will likely offer some of the same suggestions in this article, but once they know you’ve done them all, they dig a little deeper to assist you.
  • Forgo Photoshop altogether and use another design application like Illustrator or InDesign. You can also use a design website like


The likeness is that one of these solutions should work for you, and you can always refer back to these suggestions for future use. That way, you can spend less time fixing and more time designing.