Photoshop: Pen tool keeps reverting to "Exclude" mode

  • 9
  • Problem
  • Updated 7 years ago
  • Solved
  • (Edited)
I found what I think is a bug in Photoshop CS6. The Pen tool keeps reverting back to the "Exclude" boolean mode every time you select the Pen tool. In previous versions of Photoshop, the boolean mode stayed at whatever mode it was set at when no paths were selected. You can see a video of the Photoshop CS6 behavior at
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Kris Hunt

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Posted 8 years ago

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Noel Carboni

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I can reproduce this on Windows 7 with Photoshop CS6 as well.

I hope for the sake of those who prefer settings to be modal that this wasn't an intentional design change. Photoshop is expected to remember your settings - that's a product-wide thing, and the reason for things like Reset Tool.

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Kris Hunt

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Even if it was intentional, if it was going to revert to something, it would make the most sense to revert to "Combine Shapes". Reverting to "Exclude" is bizarre and incredibly annoying.
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Yup, very frustrating to have to change the pathtool settings everysingle time.

I'm also having problems with CS6 just reverting back to default settings everytime i open it. I keep having to turn off Snap to and a few other things ... Not fun at all.
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Lee Pattison

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My experience with this issue so far is that the 'path operation' reverts to the exclude mode whenever I select another tool and then come back to the pen tool.

Choosing the combine shapes mode with no document open (which I thought might fix the issue) causes PS to crash.
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Jeanne Rubbo, Employee

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Official Response
This was fixed in 13.0.1. Now the Pen tool should remember the last path operation mode that was selected.
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Kris Hunt

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Great; now fix the problem wherein it's impossible to update to 13.0.x without having to delete and reinstall the whole program. That's what I and many others ended up having to do.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Are you on mac or windows? Many update errors are cause by 3rd party tools deleting or modifying required files: