Photoshop: Why does the delete key bring up the Fill dialog in Photoshop CS5, CS6?

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When I use the delete key to delete a selection in a background layer in Photoshop CS5, it brings up the Fill dialog. How do I get back the old behavior where the selection is filed with the background color?
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Photoshop FAQ, Official Rep

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Jeffrey Tranberry, Chief Customer Advocate

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To "Fill" a selection with the background color in Photoshop, use the shortcut cmd + delete (mac) ctrl + delete (win). This works on all layers in all versions of Photoshop.

To bring up the "Fill" dialog and use "Content Aware Fill" when deleting content from floating layers use shift + delete.

To "Fill" a selection with the foreground color in Photoshop, use the shortcut option + delete (mac) alt + delete (win). This works on all layers in all versions of Photoshop.

Additional Information:

In versions of Photoshop prior to CS5, using the [delete] key to delete a selection on a background layer would "Fill" the selection with the background key. In CS5, using the [delete] key to delete a selection on a background layer brings up the "Fill" dialog. This was done to make the new "Content Aware Fill" feature more discoverable.
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Jacob Fennell

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It's a bit frustrating that you can't set the action in the preferences like so many other commands. Is that a potential future ability?
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I don't want to "fill"... I want to delete so that I can see the layer below.
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Leila Noblitt

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I just had the same problem. What I discovered was that my background was not set as a layer. If the initial image is set to Layer 0, you can use the delete button to remove parts of the image. (To maintain transparency around the image, save as a .gif and set the matte to transparent.) Otherwise, Photoshop brings up the "Fill" dialog box. The default fill using ctrl+delete appears to be white. I hope this helps others who are having the same issue.
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anna willoughby

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This is incredibly frustrating. I'm a Web Designer, and use Photoshop every day. Often, I use the delete key to fill the Background layer with the background color on a website comp, because it's really the quickest and easiest way to do it. I appreciate the content aware tool for what it does, but don't think it should have replaced the delete key. I should not have to hit 2 buttons for something I used every day that only required one button press. It's time consuming and really REALLY annoying, moreso since it's affecting something I literally do dozens of times a day minimum. There should be a way to disable this.
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Amanda Collier

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As Leila said, just double-click the background layer, converting it to a new layer and the delete button will no longer bring up the Fill dialog box.

The change frustrated me to till I found the way around it ... especially because it's counterintuitive, why should "delete" now prompt "fill?"
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Matthew Barnes

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Hi, can anyone let me know how to get my CS6 to bring up the Fill dialog box when I press delete on a selection? I want to use content-aware fill, but all it does is erase to background, It's like going back to the dark ages of CS4! Using Shift, Ctrl and Alt when I press delete doesn't cut it either. Thanks.
P.S. I'm on 64 bit Windows 7, if that makes any difference.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
The delete key has stopped bringing up the Fill dialog box in Photoshop CS6?.
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Matthew Barnes

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Hi, can anyone let me know how to get my CS6 to bring up the Fill dialog box when I press delete on a selection? I want to use content-aware fill, but all it does is erase to background, It's like going back to the dark ages of CS4! Using Shift, Ctrl and Alt when I press delete doesn't cut it either. Thanks.
P.S. I'm on 64 bit Windows 7, if that makes any difference.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Where's my Fill dialog box gone when I press delete?.
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Mark Greene

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I solved this by saving the file to a JPG, and then opening it back up again. This will flatten the image, but I was only working with a single layer (Layer 0) anyway. I noticed when it opened back up that it said the layer was now "Background".
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Amanda Collier

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I'm not in CS6, nor am I on a Windows, but in CS5 if the file is FLATTENED, content aware fill dialog box will appear if you hit delete.
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Kim Benson

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I love new features, but changing decades of muscle memory just to show off the new gadget is annoying. I've discovered Content-Aware fill, it's great. I already have keyboard shortcut for the Fill... dialog. But 95% of the time I'm just blowing out my selection with white\background color...on flattened images. It would be nice to still be able to do that the old-fashioned way. Thanks!
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Jonathan Norton

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If you're trying to figure out how to make your Photoshop CS5 delete to a transparency, you have to right click your background and convert it to a layer (Layer 0 is default) then it should work. If not try saving it as a PNG then doing the same thing.

Also, if you just want the fill dialogue to stop showing up when you hit delete, the same method will work. It's an extra step at the beginning of your work session, but it lets you do things the way you're used to doing them and avoid all this frustration.
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Ok.. in CS6, is there a way to get the problem that Matthew Barnes has? I want to press delete and have the selection delete. Sounds like if Matthew is trying to do the reverse, I should be able to set mine to delete selection when I press the delete button. thx if anyone knows!
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Matthew Graham

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Another 45 minutes of my life wasted over a ridiculous behaviour dreamed up by Adobe's User Xasperation specialists. When I press the delete key I'm not launching out on a voyage of discovery. I would like the selected element to go away, so I can get on with my job.
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fruityth1ng

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I came here because an action I made popped up a dialog, rather than just filling with the background color, as we (me and the action) agreed on :)

I solved my problem by setting the fill action to a specific color, which stopped it from asking silly things when part of an action.
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Chris Cox

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Hmm, you probably should write that up separately - that sounds like a bug in the fill dialog scripting implementation.
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Dylan Eddins

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Found a solution make a new layer delete what needs to be deleted and hide the original