Photoshop Filter Gallery Greyed Out? [SOLVED]

with 8 Comments

Among the many features that set Photoshop apart from other photo editors is its wide range of filters. From changing an image’s colors to enhancing its quality, filters can do it all. Filter Gallery was designed so that you can easily see how the filter will look when applied to your image and to easily find the filter you are looking for. But, there are times when the Photoshop Filter Gallery is not working and appears grayed out.

photoshop filter gallery grayed out

Photoshop Filter Gallery Greyed Out?

To fix the Photoshop filter gallery, check your image is in 8-bits/channel (menu: Mode -> 8 bits/channel), that it is in RGB color mode (menu: Mode -> RGB Color) and that you have unlocked the layer that you are trying to edit (keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+/).

Why is the Photoshop Filter Gallery Grayed Out?

There are three potential reasons why the Filter Gallery is not working:

  1. Because your image is in 16bit or 32bit channels.
  2. You have an image that is in CMYK color mode.
  3. You have locked the selected layer that you are trying to edit. 
filter gallery grayed out
filter gallery grayed out locked layer

So, with this article, I am going to help you solve the issue with the Filter Gallery. It is not a complicated process. There are only a few steps to it, so let’s go through them.

How Do I Get the Filter Gallery to Work?

In order to get your Filter Gallery to work, first you need to change/enable some settings. And keep in mind that you can use it in a couple of modes only. 

In What Modes Can You Use the Filter Gallery?

You can use the Filter Gallery only if you have an image in RGB color mode, When it is 8bit and when the layer you try to edit is unlocked. I will teach you to do that in the following examples.

Method 1: Change Your Image to 8bit Channel

In order to change the image setting to 8bit channel, you first need to open the Image Menu at the top of the screen. From there choose Mode, then select the 8bit option. Once you choose the 8bit option, the screen will refresh and you will have access to the Filter Gallery

change image to 8bit

Method 2: Change Your Image from CMYK to RGB Color Mode

If this doesn’t work, then the next thing you can do so that you can use the Filter Gallery is to change the color mode of the image. 

You can do this by going back to the Image menu, select Mode again, and from there choose RGB Color. 

change to rgb color

These are the most common reasons whey the filter gallery is grayed out, so once you have chosen the RGB Color mode, the Filter Gallery should be available. 

filter gallery

Method 3: Unlock a Layer in Photoshop

Even if your image modes are correct, you cannot use the Filter Gallery if the layer you want to edit is locked. Locked layers can be identified by a padlock symbol on the right-side of the layer, as in the screenshot below.

Step 1: First, you need to select the layer you want to edit. 

unlock layer photoshop

Step 2a: Then click on the Lock Icon above the layer in the Layers Panel

unlock layer button

Step 2b: Or you can unlock it by clicking on the lock icon on the layer itself. 

unlock icon

Once you unlock the layer, you will then be able to use the Filter Gallery.


If your filter gallery is grayed out, it can be fixed by:

  • Setting the image to 8 bits/channel mode
  • Changing the color mode to RGB
  • Unlocking the layer

If you have tried these three solutions and your filter gallery is still unavailable, let me know in the comments and I’ll do what I can to help you fix it.

Read More:

How to remove the white background in Photoshop

How to free crop in Photoshop

How to import an image into Photoshop

How to remove lens flare in Photoshop

Is your Photoshop Eraser not working?

Follow Andjela Cvetkovikj:

I’m a professional photographer and experienced content writer who enjoys sharing engaging and informative content.

8 Responses

  1. Haster
    | Reply

    Did all these things… still greyed out.
    It’s a large file. Could that be the reason?
    Tiff, psd, psb – tried it all. No result 🙁

    • Tim Daniels
      | Reply

      I’ve just tried it with a 1.8 GB file and the Filter Gallery works fine.
      Are you using the latest version of Photoshop and does the Filter Gallery work with other files?

  2. Anne Brooks
    | Reply

    Hi, so do I always need to stay in 8 bit? I’ve always had it at 16 bit. On the other hand I’ve never used the filter gallery. Should I keep it at 8 bit or change it back to 16 bit when I’m finished with the image? Thanks

    • Tim Daniels
      | Reply

      You can change back to 16 bit if you want to apply more adjustment layers, but switching to 8 bit for the filter gallery means that you lose some of the information in your image which you won’t get back by changing back to 16 bit.
      So, you might be better off staying in 8 bit, unless you are doing a lot of further adjustments that would benefit from being in 16 bit.

  3. anonymous
    | Reply

    Hey, I followed all of your recommendations, but it still does not work. I don’t know what to do. I also tried closing and reinstalling the app, but it’s still not working.

    • Tim Daniels
      | Reply

      Are you using the latest version of Photoshop?
      Has the filter gallery ever worked or has it always been greyed out?

  4. Lexi
    | Reply

    “Could not complete the Filter Gallery command because the selected area is empty.”
    I’ve followed all other directions, Filetr Gallery is not greyed out, but this is the message I get!

    • Tim Daniels
      | Reply

      You’re seeing this because you either have an empty layer selected when you click ‘Filter Gallery’ or you have made a very small selection.
      Try clicking on another layer and press Ctrl+d to drop any selections.

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