Join 3,416 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Why are my fonts so tiny in photoshop?
July 16, 2011 1:30 PM   Subscribe

The text, out of nowhere, is TINY when I type in a Photoshop document. The problem is, I know all of the ways to fix this--except, obviously, whatever solution I'm missing. I'm on Mac OSX 10.5.8 and Photoshop CS4 Extended.

I've been using Photoshop CS4 for at least a year. I used Photoshop every day all this past week; this weirdness started yesterday. I have no clue why; I haven't changed a thing.

What I've done to try to fix it so far:

Made sure that the psd is set at 72 dpi, and not something ridiculously large or small.
Made sure that I was viewing the document at 100%.
Reset the character preferences.
Run "verify permissions" on the computer.
Rebooted the computer.
Dragged the Photoshop preferences file onto my desktop and then restarted the program so that it would set fresh preferences, and then reset all of my preferences.
Finally, I uninstalled the program, re-installed it, and tried again.

No joy.

There *is* one really, really strange thing going on. I don't like to have my psd size set by inches; I use pixel measurements when I work. In the "units and rulers" preferences, I've set Rulers to pixels, and type to pixels. I've set "New Document Present Resolutions" to 72 pixels/inch and Screen Resolution to 72 pixels/inch. "Point/Pica Size" is set to "Traditional."

There's something called "Column Size," with which I am not familiar. It's currently set at the default, which is "Width: 180 points" and "Gutter: 12 points." I don't know what a column even is in Photoshop, but I doubt this is the problem.

When I choose my "New Document" preferences, I choose "Preset": Web. "Size" is 640 pixels x 480 pixels. "Resolution" is 72 pixels/inch.

When I choose "new document," and check "image size," it says Document Size: Width 8.889 INCHES and Height 6.667 INCHES. I do not know why it's changing, but this is the most likely explanation for why the fonts appear as tiny as they do, as far as I can figure out.

I have no idea how to fix this, since my presets do not ever mention inches. Like I said, I've saved my preferences and restarted the program. I've reset the character preferences. Reset all preferences entirely. Uninstalled and reinstalled (from my Photoshop CS4 DVDs).

I'm absolutely baffled. Please, someone, help me.
posted by tzikeh to Media & Arts (29 answers total)
 
It sounds like your installation is borked, although I'd at least go into your Photoshop preferences and set Point size to "PostScript" and see if that helps. The reason I think your installation is messed up is because columns and gutters should show up in InDesign, but not in Photoshop.

Also, since CS2 or so, you can't just uninstall Creative Suite or its programs. You have to go to Help>Deactivate (I think you have to do this in each program) and deactivate the program first.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:40 PM on July 16, 2011


How can my installation be borked if it's from the DVD I've used to install it in the past?

There's also a program within the CS4 folder that says "uninstall," which I assume uninstalls the program?

If I want to delete only CS4, do I still have to deactivate every Adobe program I have?
posted by tzikeh at 1:43 PM on July 16, 2011


Column and gutter size is within the Units and Rulers preferences - I don't think your installation is corrupt. This is worth saying - I don't see a mention of font size within your post - is it simply set to a small number?
posted by davebush at 1:47 PM on July 16, 2011


I don't see a mention of font size within your post - is it simply set to a small number?

Font sizes are all the usual sizes that I use. 12, 14, 18 - they're terribly small, not at *all* what they usually appear as, regardless of what font I'm working with.
posted by tzikeh at 1:51 PM on July 16, 2011


screenshot?
posted by misterbrandt at 1:53 PM on July 16, 2011


misterbrandt - what would you like a screenshot of? I'm happy to do it, but let me know what you want included in the screenshot.
posted by tzikeh at 2:13 PM on July 16, 2011


Column and gutter size is within the Units and Rulers preferences - I don't think your installation is corrupt.

Wow. Sorry, my bad. I've used Photoshop for at least 15 years and never noticed that. In my defense, I just set things each document working directly with the rulers.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:13 PM on July 16, 2011


You're viewing the document at "Actual Pixels", right? If you're viewing it at something like 30%, the text would appear tiny.
posted by davebush at 2:15 PM on July 16, 2011


I don't suppose you might have the sub/superscripted text option on by mistake? I did this once on a mock-up and only realised it when I went to code the css. That was a "D'oh!" moment if there ever was one...
posted by romakimmy at 2:18 PM on July 16, 2011


I can confirm that when I open the "Web" preset, everything defaults to inches even though my preferences are set to pixels - so apparently that's normal.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:19 PM on July 16, 2011


You're viewing the document at "Actual Pixels", right? If you're viewing it at something like 30%, the text would appear tiny.

In the bottom left-hand corner of the document it's at 100%. As I said in the post, "Made sure that I was viewing the document at 100%."
posted by tzikeh at 2:25 PM on July 16, 2011


I don't suppose you might have the sub/superscripted text option on by mistake? I did this once on a mock-up and only realised it when I went to code the css. That was a "D'oh!" moment if there ever was one...

I... don't think so? I've never used that, so I wouldn't have changed it--can you tell me where I should look for it, and what it would look like if I were using it by mistake?
posted by tzikeh at 2:26 PM on July 16, 2011


If you use the "web" preset, but make a canvas size that's larger than your screen, the original view that comes up will always be the same size, but the magnification will change (Like 1600 x 1200 comes up at 33% on my laptop -which means fonts are much smaller looking than normal, while the default 640x480 shows at 100% even though the canvas size appearance is the same). Increasing the magnification in the Navigator will let the canvas grow past the monitor size. Could that be happening?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:27 PM on July 16, 2011


Canvas size=640x480.
posted by tzikeh at 2:31 PM on July 16, 2011


Here's something new -- if I'm typing in, say, 30 px, and I hit return to continue typing underneath, the font instantly reverts to something tiny.

What. The. Hell.
posted by tzikeh at 2:39 PM on July 16, 2011


To check if you've switched on superscript or su script you want to look at the Character window. I'm not familiar with Mac and there are several ways to get there but try Window>Character.

Open that widow, pick your Type tool, highlight the type in your document. Now look at the Character window. It should show what font your using and other info. Across the bottom are a series of "T"s that represent various options you can implement - the first T is to make the the type bold. The next one implement a faux italic. The next one makes all caps. The next one is small caps. The next two make superscript and subscript Make sure that none of them are chosen.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:40 PM on July 16, 2011


Benny - nope, nothing is chosen.
posted by tzikeh at 2:41 PM on July 16, 2011


Benny - nope, nothing is chosen

Adobe has made some things in the newer versions really hard to tell if they are selected or not - You can select each T and toggle back and forth with a click just to make double sure. If that's not it, I'm stumped.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:49 PM on July 16, 2011


Toggled each one. Made them smaller when selected, put them back to where they where when de-selected.

I'm ready to cry in frustration. I didn't *change* anything since yesterday!
posted by tzikeh at 2:52 PM on July 16, 2011


Does your Mac have a centralized place to uninstall programs? In Windows there is an option in Add/Remove programs that is an uninstaller for Creative Suite (the whole suite). If you have that option, you can start the uninstaller, it will run some checks and then will give you the option to reinstall individual programs. I would try reinstalling Photoshop that way if you can.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:09 PM on July 16, 2011


Do you have the Character tool properties panel open? There are several options there like vertical or horizontal scaling that could make text appear smaller. You could use the 'reset tool' option of the flyout menu to reset all of them, I think.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:23 PM on July 16, 2011


Rhomboid - from the post, in the list of what I've already done:

Reset the character preferences.
posted by tzikeh at 3:57 PM on July 16, 2011


Okay - something REALLY goofy is going on. I opened up a psd I had from several weeks ago, and looked at a font on it -- what font, what size, what iteration, etc. Then I opened a new document, and typed the same words in the same font with the same settings. It looked exactly the same.

Then I went to the Photoshop main menu to check "preferences" - it was *not* greyed out, but it wouldn't open its sub-menu to let me do anything at all.

To further confuse the situation--experimenting in other applications shows me that this is a larger font issue than just photoshop. The appearance of Times New Roman 12 in both Text Edit and Microsoft Word is way too small.

"Cry in frustration" is now the logical next move.
posted by tzikeh at 4:00 PM on July 16, 2011


Here's something new -- if I'm typing in, say, 30 px, and I hit return to continue typing underneath, the font instantly reverts to something tiny.

What EXACTLY does that mean? If you select all is the font the same size according to the character palette? Is ANYTHING greyed out or have a blank space for the setting? Blank space for setting means where it might say 12pt, now there's nothing once you select all text?

Does this problem happen with any font or a specific font(s)?

Can you boot into another user account and duplicate the problem?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:42 PM on July 16, 2011


I'm using CS5, so there may be small differences, but can you verify that your settings etc. look the same as what I have here:

http://www.tonycliff.com/temp/pshop-text-01.jpg

... just cause I'm double-checking.

You're describing some weird-ass behaviour... to clarify one more thing:

When you uninstalled it, you used the Adobe Uninstall app, right?
posted by TangoCharlie at 4:58 PM on July 16, 2011


After a quick search, it seems that font management in OS X can get a little hairy - Apple stores fonts in a bunch of places, plus it caches some. Apparently the cache can get corrupted and cause problems. There are tools, some free, that can delete the cache. I'm not a Mac guy, but you might want to research font issues on Macs.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:00 PM on July 16, 2011


Further, Photoshop occasionally behaves weird on me and sets the font size smaller than I'd like. As in, I make a new type layer and discover the Type Size is set to 6.42pt or something like that.

However, I can then set that back up to what I want it to be (say, 12pt), and (at least while I'm working in the same document) it won't spontaneously drop back down to 6.42.

Sounds like you're describing an even higher level of unpredictability/volatility?

ON PREVIEW: Oh, I just now read your posts about it not just being Photoshop. Do the issues occur with different fonts in Photoshop? If you can determine whether it's only one font that does this, perhaps you can replace that font and try again. Or, like Benny says, look into the Font Cache stuff (I have no experience with that).
posted by TangoCharlie at 5:04 PM on July 16, 2011


The free tool "Onyx" will delete your Fonts Cache.

See: http://www.tonycliff.com/temp/onyx-fonts.png

Available here: http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/11582/onyx

Straight up about Onyx: I'm a reasonably experienced computer user, and Onyx's prompts scare me. They're supposed to. Make sure you have your work backed up etc. etc. That said, it's never ruined anything for me yet. Just make sure you don't click any buttons if you don't know what they do.
TL;DR: It's a powerful, potentially troublesome tool and will remind you constantly of the fact. If you stick to the instructions, though, you should be fine.
posted by TangoCharlie at 5:12 PM on July 16, 2011


I should have linked to the developer's site. Make sure you get the version that's appropriate for your system version.
posted by TangoCharlie at 5:14 PM on July 16, 2011


« Older How do I go about finding a ro...   |  Making a brilliantly funny Dee... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.