How To Turn Off Grayscale In Photoshop?

Are you new to the world of photo editing? Do you need help with simple tasks which consume your time more than it should? Is turning off grayscale in Photoshop one of those things? Then this article is for you! Fortunately, you can rapidly exit the grayscale mode by following simple steps.

There’s a strong probability that Photoshop is locked in the grayscale color mode when your image is stuck in black and white. To fix this, select Image > Mode > RGB color in Photoshop to exit the grayscale color mode and enter the regular RGB color mode. 

By doing this, you can use your entire palette of colors again without making any long-term adjustments to your current project. Although you can use this color mode to detect exposure values, it could be more useful for editing pictures. 

Read this article to untangle this problem step-by-step with additional troubleshooting tips!

What Is Grayscale Mode In Photoshop?

Before discussing the problem and its solutions, let’s briefly discuss what the term ‘Grayscale’ means. All colors are specified by a specific shade of gray when using the grayscale color mode in Photoshop. This mode creates images using a variety of shades of gray. 

A typical 8-bit image can have up to 256 distinct grayscale values. A grayscale image’s pixels have a brightness value between 0 (black) and 255 (white).

When you want to concentrate solely on the tonality inside a picture you’re working on, using this color mode can be helpful.

Why Does Photoshop Gets Stuck In Grayscale Mode?

Several possibilities could result in your Photoshop getting stuck in grayscale mode. A few of them have been explained below.

Photoshop Document Created In Grayscale Mode

If you generated a new file in Photoshop while keeping word processing text, or something similar, active on your clipboard, that could be one possibility why you might unknowingly be working in grayscale mode.

This frequently causes Photoshop or Photoshop Elements to desire to create a grayscale image. Thus, by default it will create a file with grayscale as the default color mode rather than RGB, which is the usual preselected color mode.

Another possibility why Photoshop selected the grayscale color mode by default for a particular project is if you previously worked on a file in that color mode.

When you want to avoid working in grayscale for your new project, the application tends to remember your most recent settings and preferences, which might be frustrating.

Color Channel Selected

There is a Color Channel Panel in Photoshop. You can view the color information used to create your image. The RGB channel is the composite channel at the top of the Color Channel Panel. It is what is automatically chosen and displays to you how your image appears with all channels on.

Your image will display in black and white if only one channel is enabled, such as Red, Green, or Blue.

Adjustment Layer Desaturating Your Photo

One possible reason your image gets stuck in grayscale mode is that you likely unintentionally created a Hue & Saturation Adjustment Layer in your layer panel with the Saturation slider set to -100.

In such a scenario, remove this Adjustment Layer or return the Saturation to 0.

Layer Mask

Your color picker is affected by your Layer Mask since it is selected. Using black or white, a layer mask enables non-destructive hiding or revealing of specific layer components. The layer can be hidden using black and revealed with white.

The only colors in your color picker while selecting the layer mask are black, white, and gray. If your color picker just allows you to choose between black and white, verify if your layer mask is selected.

Alternate Troubleshooting Options

We have already explained one way of solving this issue. But that’s not the only way. Here are a few alternate ways to turn off your grayscale mode in Photoshop:

Grayscale To RGB Or CMYK

A simple way to get free of the grayscale zone is simply converting your work from grayscale to RGB or CMYK. The Photoshop RGB Color Mode employs three color channels to display all the colors in your project. These are red, green, and blue (RGB).

The RGB color is the most popular mode, and Photoshop’s default option. Locate the Image tab and hover your mouse to the Mode option. Click on the RGB Color option to quickly return to the RGB mode if this was previously set to Grayscale.

The CMYK color mode is another standard color option used with files in Photoshop. Thanks to this option, you can get more realistic colors while printing, which works with the four-color CMYK printing process. 

Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black inks are used in this method to create more than 16,000 different color combinations. When printing a picture, it is recommended that you change it to the CMYK color space.

By selecting Image, hovering your mouse over to the Mode option and selecting CMYK Color in this situation, you can change your image’s mode to CMYK.

New Document Settings To RGB Or CMYK

Make a new file in the RGB or CMYK Color Mode as another means of escaping the grip of Grayscale. But, this is only helpful if you do not already have a project dealing with this issue.

Use the primary method if a project is stuck in grayscale because this method only works for new projects.

Check the Color Mode area in the pop-up window after selecting File > New. Check whether the file is set to Grayscale. If it is, choose RGB or CMYK from the dropdown menu to create your new document in one of those color schemes.

Watch this video tutorial to watch a tutorial of turning off grayscale in Photoshop:


As you just read, getting stuck in a grayscale mode while editing files in Photoshop is not a big issue. It can happen due to any of the reasons mentioned above. It doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with your software. So, stay calm and follow the steps. Have fun editing in Photoshop!