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Escape key not working under Windows? Finger Photoshop

26th January 2013

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Repair girl
The repair girl hard at work as ever.

Does your keyboard's Escape key intermittently stop working? Is it driving you mad trying to figure out what's doing it? Well, finger Photoshop if you are using version CS5 or less.

This is an old annoyance that is semi-relevant again with Adobe's end-of-life CS2 download essentially making Photoshop CS2 "free". (It's not, but read between the lines and go from there.) Versions of Photoshop less than CS5 do indeed lock-up the Escape key for other application when running.

Fortunately there is a work-around.

While Photoshop is active pressing either Shift + Esc (or just as likely on some systems Win + Esc instead) in other programs will send the Escape key to that program.

If the key combination is too much, other solutions include running a program such as AutoHotkey with a script to send the key combination when the Escape key is pressed or even an executable program running to do the same: How to Fix Photoshop Breaking the Escape Key in Windows (

I hope that helps if you are running a version of Photoshop older than CS5 and are tearing your hair out wondering why your Escape key is kaput.

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Tags: Photoshop.


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