How to Increase the Photoshop Undo Tools History (Ctrl+Alt+Z)

Author
Jascha Luca
Publication date
07.06.2017
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All Photoshop users will agree that one of the most used, if not the most used shortcut is Ctrl+ALT+Z, also known as “Step Backwards”.  No doubt you’ve also experienced the frustration of undoing changes, only to be limited by how far back the history goes. If you’re a Photoshop master or a fledgling enthusiast there’s always something new to learn, so this guide will show you how to extend the Step Backwards history (undo) to infinite or pretty close.  

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Whatever you are using Adobe Photoshop for, the one tool you will almost certainly have to use is the Step Backwards/undo tool. This super handy tool allows you to quickly backtrack on any change you have made, you no longer agree with. The only real issue with the tool is its limited history, especially when you are making a lot of small adjustments. Thankfully this setting can be changed, allowing you to increase how far Photoshop will allow you to backtrack.

The only real catch is that the further back you want to go, the more powerful your computer is going to need to be. You will have to find a stable balance if your machine is a little older or lacking Ram.

How to Increase the Step Backwards/Undo Tool History in Photoshop (Ctrl+Alt+Z)

The first thing you are going to have to do is open Photoshop. When you have Photoshop open click on Edit, scroll down to Preferences, then click on Performance.

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Inside the performance menu, you will see tons of options that relate to your computer’s resources. The one you are looking for is called History & Cache. In this section, you will see History States with a default setting of 20. Click the arrow next to the History States number and a slider will open. Use this slider to increase how far back you wish the Step backward tool (Ctrl+Alt+Z) to go.

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Once you have changed the number to your liking, click OK. You won’t even have to restart Photoshop for the changes to take place. The slider maxes out at 1000, so if you need to go back further than that, you might as well restart your project.  

You also need to keep in mind that Photoshop can be quite a ram hungry program so the further back you go the more RAM it will use. Personally, I think setting it around 60 or 70 is reasonable. The main thing to remember is that the step backward history is kept for all images you have open in Photoshop at the time, not just the active one you are working on. So it doesn’t take much for Photoshop to really slow down if your increase the slider too far.

If you are confident your computer can handle the extra Ram usage, feel free to crank that slider all the way to the end.

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