Photoshop Won’t Save – 5 Reasons Why!

Since Adobe moved to subscription, updates happen when we don’t even realize it. Save and Save As changed with the 2021 update. In this article, we’ll look at how to solve the ‘Save’ issue.

Photoshop won’t Save, as the app needs an update, preferences need to be reset, your scratch disk is full, keyboard shortcuts need adjusting or you’re running Catalina OS on a Mac.

We all have times when we need to get the job finished. Sometimes your computer has other ideas. Let’s look at why this issue occurs and how to fix it.

Photoshop Update

All Adobe Creative Cloud apps are now updated through your Creative Cloud portal. You can select to have these updates on auto-update which is recommended. However, with Auto Update enabled you may not realize that an app has had an update (it usually flashes the message momentarily on your screen). So you open your updated app and certain things have changed.

You may not even realize until you go to complete a certain task and the item is greyed out or no longer available.

This occurred with the May 2021 update when Save As no longer had the same capabilities as before. The formats available were limited to PSD, TIF, and Large Format Document.

There was a bit of a ‘to do’ online about this but what people didn’t realize was that we now had ‘Save a Copy’ with all the usual formats available.

Preferences Need a Reset

Often after an update, there are certain things that have gone a bit glitchy. This is often due to preferences clashing with the latest update.

Your preferences need to be reset to line up with the new update.

Before you reset anything, be aware that any Presets you may have will be lost in the reset. Save your Presets first. Quit Photoshop. On relaunch hold down the following keys

Windows: Ctrl + Alt + Shift

Mac: Cmd + Opt + Shift

Ctrl Alt Shift PC Keyboard
PC Keyboard
Cmd Opt Shift MAC Keyboard
MAC Keyboard

When prompted to, ‘Delete the Settings File’

Delete Preferences for Photoshop

Click Yes.

Or you can Reset preferences through the app.

Windows: Edit – Preferences – General

Photoshop Preferences through the App

Mac: Photoshop Icon – Preferences – General

Click ‘Reset Preferences on Quit’ Tab

Reset Preferences on Quit

Quit Photoshop

Reopen Photoshop.

This should solve the Save glitches after an update.

Scratch Disk Full

We sometimes can’t Save or Save As simply because of a memory problem. Photoshop uses the Scratch Disk to run. This is an allocated section of your System Disk (however, you can attach your Scratch Disk to an external drive).

A scratch disk basically takes on the job of all the temporary tasks, like being able to quickly flick between apps, stopping the lag within an app, allowing you to quickly move around within Photoshop.

If the Scratch Disk is full, very basic tasks cannot complete successfully.

There are a couple of ways to sort your Scratch Disk.

The first is to remove all your temporary files. Do a file search and delete all ending with .tmp.

This will free up space on your machine, possibly quite a lot if it’s not something you regularly do.

I have another article that you may find helpful if you think you’re issues are being caused by Scratch Disk.

When you’ve done this, you can go to Preferences and this time scroll to File Handling and Clipboard.

Auto recovery can be adjusted by moving out the length of time. It can be disabled but I wouldn’t recommend this, as then you have nothing to fall back on.

Also ‘Recent Files to Display’ can be reduced to 10 – 15. These little adjustments will all help increase memory capacity.

Keyboard Shortcuts Need Adjusting

If like me you use a lot of Keyboard Shortcuts then you may need to adjust your Save – Save As and Save a Copy.

Most of the time I don’t even realize how quickly I move around my computer. This is due to the length of years I have spent sitting in front of a screen!

However, sometimes when an update occurs (not always, but usually when a completely new version is released), the shortcuts can become deselected or actually start to do something completely different.

As always, this is a quick fix.

Open Photoshop.

Click on Edit – Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard Shortcuts

Check your Save – Save As – Save a Copy.

These can be altered to the combination that you prefer.

Click Ok.

This is an automatic change. No need for a restart. This will hopefully sort out your ‘Save’ issues.

Running Catalina

Mac OS moves along pretty rapidly. Usually once a year it gets a good overhaul. In 2019 Mac introduced Catalina. Every update is great, progress is always positive and it’s important to keep your machine up to date where possible.

However, Catalina completely clashed with Photoshop. There was only one solution and that was to reinstall an older version of one of them.

But that is not a solution. There were a lot of screamers online about this. And rightly so. It was sorted, eventually and Mac OS has had two new OS since then.

So this was eons ago in terms of software, I know. But what I’m really saying is that clashes happen and no one likes to raise their hand to confirm this.

Both Apple and Adobe are independent of each other. Sometimes glitches and clashes happen.

My advice is if you are having Saving problems or any kind of clashing problems, have tried everything I have suggested, then go online and search for any known clashes with apps and OS. 

In Conclusion

Items being greyed out on your program dropdowns is always for a reason. This is usually due to an update, preferences, or memory shortage. Hopefully one of the above has sorted your problem.

Here are some other posts you might find useful:

How to clear scratch disk without opening Photoshop

Can’t quit Photoshop

Why can’t I type in Photoshop?

Tara Cunningham

My name is Tara. I am a Graphic Designer for the last 25+ years. Designing everything from Wedding stationery to Magazines. I have been using Adobe products since I was in college and know all the tips and tricks that make life a little easier when completing a project. Hopefully you will find the answer to your question on

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