Elements: "Could not complete your request because the active layer is empty". Why?

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Colin Loveless

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Posted 7 months ago

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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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Maybe you should tell us what you are trying to do? If you try to make a selection in an empty layer for example, then this error makes sense: there is nothing to select.
(Edited)
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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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Please state your Program and its version as well as what you were trying to do.
That misleading error message has already appeared in Photoshop Elements 14, 15 and 2018 following a Windows 10 (1803) update.
https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop-elements/kb/integer-50-8-required-closest-value-inserted-photoshop...
If that is the case, follow the step by step instruction to edit the registry.


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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Colin, did you try this solution?
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Colin Loveless

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What is an empty layer and how do I fill it?   Manuals useless.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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An empty layer is a layer that does not have any pixels in it. It cannot tell you 'how to fill it', because I don't know why you added a layer and what you want to do with it. It may be a good idea to get a book about Photoshop.
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Colin Loveless

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 I have books and downloads about Photoshop but none mention this problem.   I don't see how there can't be any pixels as the pictures on screen are OK.   My problem is the program won't let me edit them.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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The picture on screen shows you the entire document, so all layers. If you have an image in the background layer, you can easily have an empty layer on top of that. This is how the layer panel would look (Layer 1 is an empty layer in this example):



I'm sorry, but I think this is a futile discussion. As long as you don't explain what you are trying to do and when you get this error, there is little we can do to help you. We would only be guessing.
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Colin Loveless

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I'm sorry you find the discussion futile!   All I am trying to do is edit (lightness, colour, contrast etc) but I am continually told I cannot do this because the active layer is empty.   Is not the active layer that on which my pictures appear?   Apparently not.   So any suggestions please?
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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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What is futile is that you never answer the necessary questions to understand your problem.
If you are asked to tell which software (Photoshop or Elements), the software version, your OS (Win or Mac), its version,  there are good reasons.

For instance, the same message in Elements on Win 10 also appears when you are not working on layers.

" Is not the active layer that on which my pictures appear?   Apparently not.   So any suggestions please?

As explained by Johan Elzenga, the image displayed is the result of all the layers (unless they are deselected), whereas the active layer is the one you are editing. So, more description and still better, a screenshot would help other users to help you.

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Colin Loveless

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I can't seem to find any solution to this problem so I have temporally abandoned Elements 2018 and reverted to my trusty Elements 8 which has less glitches and is more user friendly.   I'm still open to suggestions. 
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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Well, at least we finally know you are using Photoshop Elements. Please read the third message in this thread again about a bogus error that Photoshop Elements can give you...
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David, Official Rep

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Hey Colin,

You might want to watch some tutorials on YouTube about using the application.  Photoshop Elements can be complicated, so watching (rather than reading) a few examples would probably help you a lot.  That should really help you understand the models the application uses, so you can achieve the results you desire.

Hope that helps,
David
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Colin Loveless

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Thank you David.   I'll try that.


Colin
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Martin

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I have exactly the same problem. I'm using Elements 14. I open a file just as I did yesterday but now the layer is supposed to be blank. And, there isn't enough RAM even though over half the RAM on the machine is unused.  The regedit suggestion achieved nothing at all.
The first time I ran the MS trouble shooter the problem corrected itself. The 2nd time it happened it didn't fix it. Any suggestions?
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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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The regedit suggestion achieved nothing at all.
It has to be done exactly. For instance, a simple space before a word, or adding to another Elements version will not work.
The test for the correct editing is to post here the first fifteen lines of the menu Help >> system info from the editor. If the available space for Elements is still minimal, that means the edit was not correct.
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Martin

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So far as I can see it has been done exactly.

I deleted the original edit and tried it again with the same result.

Will uninstalling the program and reinstalling it work?
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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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It's easy to post the beginning of the system info dialog here.
Uninstal and reinstal can't solve the issue. If the Win 10 bug is the culprit, the only two solutions are to go back to a previous Win 10 build (good luck!) or to add the registry edit.
If you really have enough memory there's something specific to your own setup, frequently an issue with your antivirus. Note that a number of users overlooked the fact that if the available RAM is something like 8 MB, it's not 8 GB. I'll believe it when I see it...
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Martin

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I seem to have sorted it.

The need to make the change in the HKEY-CURRENT_USER\Software folder gave me the impression you could make the change from any account on the PC. But the alterations work if you're logged in as an administrator.  Thanks for your help.