Can You Use a Stylus for Photoshop?

There’s no doubt that the freedom and precision a stylus provides is far superior to the everyday keyboard and mouse, which is why they are the ideal tool for digital art and graphic design. Of course, when it comes to these forms of artistry, few graphics editor software exceed Photoshop, which leads many professionals and hobbyists to wonder if they can pair their stylus with this renowned software.

Stylus accessories can be used for Photoshop as long as they are paired with an appropriate touchscreen device (ex., laptop, tablet, smartphone) that can support both the stylus as well as the Photoshop software. Still, you might have to alter some Photoshop settings for ideal results.

This article will answer commonly asked questions regarding using a stylus for graphic design and digital art in Photoshop. As you read, you’ll learn which devices best support stylus use in Photoshop and how to troubleshoot common issues, such as your stylus failing to connect or respond properly in this software.

What Devices Support Stylus Use in Photoshop?

The first step to determining whether your favorite stylus will work in Photoshop is to ensure the device you intend to use is sufficient.

Styluses can be used on virtually any device that has a touch screen. That being said, Photoshop is a hefty program that requires these devices to meet a fair number of requirements before you can even consider using it (and a connected stylus) for art and graphic design. These specifications include:

  • CPU: Intel or AMD processor with 64-bit support, 2 GHz or faster processor
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • HDD: 4 GB of storage space
  • GPU: DirectX 12 support and 2 GB of memory
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (64-bit) version 1809 or later
  • Screen Resolution: 1280 x 800
  • Internet connection is needed to activate the software

As long as your primary device fulfills these requirements and can support a connection with your stylus of choice (not all styluses work with the same devices), you should have no issues using this accessory in Photoshop.

Which Device is Best?

If you intend to purchase a stylus and a new device for Photoshop (maybe you’re starting up as a professional artist) and you’re unsure which device is best, we highly recommend a tablet or iPad/ iPad Pro over any touchscreen laptop.

There are several tablets specifically made for these tasks that often come with styluses and are well-equipped to handle any Photoshop tasks with ease. Some of the best options include:

While some will include a stylus, it isn’t uncommon for brands to necessitate you to purchase this accessory separately, requiring you to match your stylus with its brand. The most common options for tablet styluses include:

Always ensure your primary device has the requirements to support Photoshop and is compatible with your stylus pen before attempting to use it in this software.

What If My Stylus Isn’t Working In Photoshop?

It isn’t uncommon for even the most experienced digital artists and graphic designers to hook up a new device or stylus and find their drawing accessory isn’t working correctly in Photoshop. Luckily, the issue is usually quickly resolved by tweaking a few Photoshop settings.

The most common reason why a stylus isn’t working in Photoshop is that the “Pressure” setting is turned off. To turn it on, follow the steps listed below:

  1. Open Photoshop and create a new document.
  2. Select the brush tool.
  3. Press the F5 key or “View” on the menu bar and select “Brush Pallet” to open the brush pallet window.
  4. Make sure the box is checked next to “Shape Dynamics.”
  5. Select “Shape Dynamics.”
  6. Open the “Control” drop-down menu and select “Pen Pressure.”

This setting is critical for creating the ideal pressure for your stylus, which affects:

  • Brush size
  • Angle
  • Roundness
  • Scatter
  • Depth
  • Opacity

If altering this setting does not work, we recommend checking that your stylus is connected correctly to your primary device and perhaps reconfiguring and confirming pressure control before restarting Photoshop completely.

Final Thoughts

Artists and graphic designers everywhere will be ecstatic to hear that they can easily use their favorite stylus pen to create exceptional artwork, graphic icons, animations, and so much more in Photoshop. Remember that your devices need to be compatible with each other and capable of supporting Photoshop for ideal results, and the “Pen Pressure” setting must be on for the touchscreen to properly register your stylus.