13 Tricks & Tweaks to Speed Up Photoshop CC Performance (2023)

The majority of programs that serves to process photos are highly demanding of your computer resources, and our favorite Photoshop – is the leader as far as “voracity” is concerned. Even if you don't work with huge TIFF files and don't make a complex processing with dozens of layers, nevertheless you can make Photoshop work faster.We have created a list of simple and effective methods that will help to speed up Photoshop performance.

13 Tricks & Tweaks to Speed Up Photoshop CC Performance (1)

1. Memory usage adjustment

As you see, the more memory is allocated for Photoshop, the faster the program operates. In memory settings you can see the memory available for the program, namely not the whole amount of memory, but the free memory that can be allocated precisely for Photoshop. By default, Photoshop uses 70% of available memory.

For the majority of users of 32-bit Photoshop version, 70% is enough for optimal work. If you need more, try to add by 5% and watch the performance indicator (read about it a little bit below). For 32-bit version, the usage of 100% of the available memory can cause problems.

To change the amount of allocated memory go to (Windows) Edit > Preferences > Performance or (Mac OS) Menu Photoshop > Preferences > Performance.

If possible, you should use 64-bit Photoshop version, which allows allocating up to 100% of memory for your work. (2020 UPDATE: See this article for managing performance in Photoshop CC 2020).

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2. Page file

When a program works with an extensive amount of information and this information doesn't fit random access memory (RAM), the program starts to record data into a “page file” on a hard drive. Namely, the file fulfills the role of RAM. The trouble with the page file is that the data recording on hard drive goes on slower than on RAM. Moreover, your operation system also saves its data to the page file, and this loads the hard drive with additional work.

The best option is to use a separate disk as a page file. The ideal variant is to use SSD disks, which are much faster than their HDD prototypes. However, even the usage of general HDD will reload the primary drive, which will be busy only with OC work.

You can choose the hard drive for the page file in the same menu (Windows) Edit > Preferences > Performance or (Mac OS) Menu Photoshop > Preferences > Performance.

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3. History and cache settings

This setup panel is located in menu (Windows) Edit > Preferences > Performance or (Mac OS) Menu Photoshop > Preferences > Performance.

Cache Levels

Photoshop uses cache to display an image quickly. If you work with small or average files, 1280x1024 pixels and many layers (50 and more), set cache levels to 2. If you work with large files, 10 MB and more, set cache levels to 4 and more. The higher value of cache level speeds up the display process.

Cache title size - responds to the volume of data, that photoshop processes at a time. Larger volumes speed up the overall manipulations with an image, for example, sharpening. Smaller volumes work faster when you change small areas of the picture, for instance, work with a brush. For new processors, it's recommended to choose 128 K or 1024 K. For old ones (very old) 132 K or 1032 K.

History States

Each operation saved in the history increases the “page file”. Accordingly, the less data you will be storing in history, the less place Photoshop will take. If you always work with the copy of your layer, it's enough to leave ten last actions in history.

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4. GPU Settings

Photoshop CS4 and CS5 uses the capabilities of your video card to speed up the display of the image. To allow Photoshop get access to the video card resources, it should supportOpenGL standard and have minimum 128 megabytes of memory.

To have the access to your video card resources just place a mark. And to enjoy the maximum of the available opportunities we advise you to update the driver for your video card. After we have finished to setup the basic parameters, we can move to the general advice relating the optimization of the Photoshop performance.

5. Watch the efficiency indicator

The efficiency indicator will show you when Photoshop will deplete the available memory and start to save data to the page file.

To display an indicator, press an arrow under your image and choose Efficiency.

The values below 90-95% indicate that Photoshop uses a page file, and consequently this slows down the system and points out that you should provide more memory in photoshop settings or add RAM to your computer.

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6. Close unused windows

In Photoshop CC windows with documents use more memory than in previous versions. A lot of open documents slows down the work intensely and can lead to the lack of memory notification.

In Mac OS, there is a function "Application frame" (menu Window > Application Frame), it's turned on by default. If you choose to use it, remember it's also using memory.

7. Decrease the amount of patterns and brushes in Photoshop CC

Photoshop brushes, patterns and layer styles significantly overload the system. Besides, each of them overloads little by little and as a result, the system is clogged with junk, that is rarely used.

To see the patterns in Photoshop go to the menu Edit > Preset Manager and choose Preset Type > Patterns или Brushes.

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8. Disable layers and channels preview

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In Layers, Channels and Paths Photoshop shows small thumbnails of the image. Consequently, the more layers you have, the more memory is spending.

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To decrease or turn off the preview,go to Panel Options and Turn off the Preview.

8. Use the images with 8-bit colour depth

Photoshop can work with 8-, 16- and 32- bit images. However, as a rule, for tasks that are not related to professional photo correction and preparation for print, it's enough to work with 8-bit images.

To change your file to 8-bit can be done to Image > Mode > 8 Bits/Channel. This will immediately reduce the file size, and thus reload your computer by half.

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9. Decrease number of fonts to display

(Win) menu Edit > Preferences > Type (Windows) or (Mac OS) menu Photoshop > Preferences > Type and decrease number of fonts to display for example to 5.

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10. Decrease the file size

If you are planning to use your file on the internet and it should not be large, you can safely decrease your files up to 3000 pixels’ length and work on them further.

You can decrease a photo through the menu Image > Image Size.

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11. Data reset

History panel and clipboard stores a significant amount of data. To reset the data go to menu Edit > Purge and choose Undo, Clipboard, Histories, or All. As a result, the data related to Undo, Clipboard, History or all at the same time will be reset. Be attentive, this command can not be canceled.

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13 Tricks & Tweaks to Speed Up Photoshop CC Performance (13)

12. Organize the layers

Layers are the basis of Photoshop work, but they increase the size of the file and the volume of the memory used. If you have made all the necessary manipulations, merge the layers. To do this select the required layers, click on them with the right mouse button and choose Merge Layers.

To combine all the layers, go to menu Layer > Flatten Image.

The creation of Smart Objects will save your place on disk and increase the flow of work. Choose a layer, click on it with the right mouse button and select Convert to Smart Object.

13 Tricks & Tweaks to Speed Up Photoshop CC Performance (14)

13. Don't export an image to the clipboard

If you don't copy data outside the program, disable this function: menu (Windows) Edit > Preferences > General or (Mac OS) Photoshop > Preferences > General > Disable Export Clipboard.

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I hope, these tips will help you to optimize your Photoshop CC performance.

You can also check out our article about how to speed up Lightroom.


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How do I reduce RAM usage in Photoshop? ›

If you want Photoshop to always use less memory, choose Edit > Preferences > Performance (Windows) or Photoshop > Preferences > Performance (macOS) and move the Memory Usage slider to the left. See Adjust memory usage.

How do I make Photoshop less laggy? ›

  1. Increase memory allocation for Photoshop to 80-85%.
  2. Flatten any heavy layers which may be causing problems.
  3. Adjust cache size. Ensure that you choose the right cache preset for the type of document you're working with.
  4. Improve your computer's hardware configuration. For example, add more RAM.
Oct 26, 2021

Why is my Photoshop CC so slow? ›

Increase the Maximum Allowed RAM Usage

You'll find that option under the Performance tab of your Photoshop preferences. You'll see a recommended an ideal range, and it's highly recommended that you don't go over 85% of the memory available on your computer, to leave some memory for other applications.

Is 64GB of RAM too much for Photoshop? ›

Does Photoshop need 64GB of RAM? This depends on the size of your files. As noted above, if you typically work with PSD files larger than 1GB once opened, you'll want at least 64GB of RAM to run Adobe Photoshop smoothly.

How many GB of RAM is good for Photoshop? ›

How much RAM does Photoshop need? The exact amount you need will depend on exactly what you are doing, but based on your document size we recommend a minimum of 16GB of RAM for 500MB documents or smaller, 32GB for 500MB-1GB, and 64GB+ for even larger documents.

Is RAM or CPU more important for Photoshop? ›

Photoshop is CPU-intensive, so upgrading your graphics card doesn't really do that much in terms of performance; while upgrading your RAM doesn't do much directly either, the fact that you have more memory to temporarily store data in (instead of your hard drive or SSD) means Photoshop will perform better with more and ...

Is Photoshop RAM or CPU intensive? ›

Of the three applications we've discussed, the most CPU intensive of all is Photoshop.

What does purging on Photoshop do? ›

To delete all the Photoshop memory off your RAM (from Undo, Clipboard, and History), go to the Edit menu, select Purge and select the item you want to purge. If you select All, it wipe out everything off your RAM.

How do I reduce my CPU RAM usage? ›

Reducing RAM usage
  1. Disable and uninstall memory-intensive applications. ...
  2. Uninstall disabled applications. ...
  3. Uninstall applications that are running but have no rules enabled or otherwise aren't being used. ...
  4. Uninstall Spam Blocker and Phish Blocker if they're not being used. ...
  5. Bypass DNS sessions.

Does RAM speed matter for Photoshop? ›

Photoshop Benchmark Results

While not quite to the same degree as Neat Video, Photoshop can definitely see some benefit from higher frequency RAM with select CPUs.

Does having a lot of brushes slow down Photoshop? ›

Having too many brushes, tools and patterns installed in Photoshop can lead to unexpected brush behavior, mis-matching brush textures and generally sluggish performance.

Is 32GB RAM overkill for photo editing? ›

Therefore ideally, you'd have just a little bit more than the maximum amount of RAM you'd need. As we'll find out, this number starts to top out around 32gb of RAM for most photography editing situations. After a certain point, extra RAM will no longer give you extra performance.

What RAM speed for Photoshop? ›

Most of these options range from 2400MHz to 3600MHz. There is an increase in performance as you increase memory speed but the performance benefit reduces with each increment. For a balance of stability. compatibility and performance, we recommend using DDR4-2400 or DDR4-2666 memory for your photography PC.

Is 128 GB RAM overkill? ›

Is 128GB RAM too much for gaming? The amount of RAM you need will ultimately depend on your workload. Unless you're editing 8K resolution videos or planning to work with multiple RAM-demanding programs simultaneously, 128 GB is overkill for most users as well.

What kind of graphics card do I need for Photoshop? ›

We, therefore, recommend a low to mid-range NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics card for Photoshop in 2022. Testing has shown that high-end cards provide negligible or no Photoshop performance benefits over mid-range cards. Other applications can benefit significantly from more powerful graphics cards.

What is the best computer configuration for Photoshop? ›

We recommend at least a 9th generation Intel i5 or a Ryzen 5 3600. Memory, or RAM is also important so look for a minimum of 8GB (though 16 GB is preferred), and even a dedicated graphics card if your budget can stretch to it.

What CPU is best for photo editing? ›

The following are the two best x64 processors for photo editing with Photoshop and Lightroom: Intel Core i9 13900K and Intel Core i5 13600K. The i9 is the performance king for Photoshop and Lightroom, while the i5 punches above its price.

How many cores do I need for Photoshop? ›

Adobe Photoshop makes excellent use of up to eight cores for many of its most important tasks, but you won't see any huge performance gains once you go over that number. Lightroom is a little different, in that its photo export and preview functions can take advantage of many more cores.

What are the minimum system requirements to run Photoshop? ›

Minimum Photoshop system requirements on Windows
  • 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.

How much RAM do I really need? ›

How much RAM do you need? Generally, we recommend 8GB of RAM for casual computer usage and internet browsing, 16GB for spreadsheets and other office programs, and at least 32GB for gamers and multimedia creators. How you use your computer influences how much RAM you need, so use this as a guideline.

How many GPU cores for Photoshop? ›

If you can afford all the GPU cores then go for it. But in terms of the CPU - Photoshop and Illustrator top out at about 8 cores - after that more cores are not going to help.

What is a Photoshop cache? ›

Your Photoshop cache holds old drafts of your projects and helps your high-resolution images load more quickly. Although Photoshop automatically deletes your cache when you exit the program, it can miss some files.

What to do if scratch disks are full? ›

Free up additional hard drive space by deleting unnecessary files from the scratch disk, or by moving your files off the scratch disk to another storage location. For example, if your assigned scratch disk on your Windows machine is drive C:\, you can simply clean up and delete the files you no longer need.

Why is my Photoshop scratch disk full but not full? ›

Defragment Your Hard Disk

This is because Photoshop requires contiguous, unfragmented free space on the scratch disk drive. If you are getting the "scratch disk is full" error message and your scratch disk drive does show a good amount of free space, you may need to run a disk defragmentation utility.

What causes a high CPU usage? ›

You can expect high CPU utilization when playing some games, running a video-editing or streaming application, performing an antivirus scan, or juggling many browser tabs.

How to clear memory cache? ›

In Chrome
  1. On your computer, open Chrome.
  2. At the top right, click More .
  3. Click More tools. Clear browsing data.
  4. At the top, choose a time range. To delete everything, select All time.
  5. Next to "Cookies and other site data" and "Cached images and files," check the boxes.
  6. Click Clear data.

How do I clear my RAM cache? ›

How to Clear RAM Cache Windows 10/11
  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc shortcut to open the Task Manager window and click on More details to access the full view.
  2. In the Processes tab, click on the Memory header to sort from most to least RAM usage.
  3. Right-click the progress that takes up much RAM, and select End Task.
Sep 23, 2022

Is it better to have Photoshop on HDD or SSD? ›

When Photoshop needs to use its scratch file, the closer the speed of the scratch storage is to the speed of RAM (whch is always faster than storage), the less you should have a slowdown. Because SSDs are much closer to the speed of RAM than hard drives are, the designated Photoshop scratch volume should be an SSD.

Does SSD improve Photoshop Performance? ›

Upgrade to an SSD – If your computer still uses an HDD, making the move to an SSD will make a huge difference in the speed of Photoshop and other applications on your computer.

How much RAM do I need for Adobe CC? ›

Without a minimum amount of RAM, Adobe CC applications won't even load let alone run smoothly. In order to run Adobe Creative Suite, your laptop needs a minimum of 8 GB RAM. In this article, we'll be discussing laptops that have RAM counts as low as 8GB and as high as 32GB.

Why is Photoshop telling me I don't have enough RAM? ›

Here are a few things that can cause a lack of RAM: You installed a pirated or old program version. Incorrect configuration of GPU drivers or they require updating. The RAM value is improperly set in the software settings.

What is a good RAM speed for Photoshop? ›

compatibility and performance, we recommend using DDR4-2400 or DDR4-2666 memory for your photography PC. Beyond this speed, performance benefits are small and there is a chance of impacting long term system stability.

How do I change cache level in Photoshop? ›

The Cache Levels setting can be found inside the Edit > Preferences > Performance menu, right under the History States. It controls the histogram and the time it takes an image to reappear on the screen after an action is applied to it.

How do I clear RAM cache? ›

How to Clear RAM Cache Windows 10/11
  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc shortcut to open the Task Manager window and click on More details to access the full view.
  2. In the Processes tab, click on the Memory header to sort from most to least RAM usage.
  3. Right-click the progress that takes up much RAM, and select End Task.
Sep 23, 2022

Should I upgrade RAM or SSD for Photoshop? ›

RAM upgrading is the better choice. Photoshop needs much of RAM. So, you should upgrade RAM first then SSD.

Is 32GB RAM overkill for Adobe? ›

32GB of RAM is considered high and is generally overkill for most users. For most everyday use and basic tasks such as web browsing, email, and basic office work, 8GB of RAM is more than enough. Even for gaming or video editing, 16GB is typically sufficient.

Is 16GB RAM enough for Adobe? ›

Bottom line - 16GB will do just fine.


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