When I open a .gif image in Photoshop - non animated - it always locks automatically and you cannot unlock it. Aside from that when try try to add text it will make a red block and convert the text to bitmap.

You annoyingly have to copy and paste the document into a new document. Then layer from there.

enter image description here

1 Answer 1


It's due to the Index Color mode. GIF and PNG8 use a locked color palette, therefore the layer gets locked to prevent unsupported changes. It's also why the layer is titled Index.

To unlock it choose Image > Mode > RGB from the menu.

  • Can this be as a default? Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 22:04
  • No. GIF and PNG8 images will always open in Index color mode, that's simply how those images work. When you save a GIF or PNG8, it gets saved to Index mode as well.
    – Scott
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 22:05
  • I'm not an expert by far, but I do use Photoshop nearly every day at work. I cannot for the life of me understand WHY this is necessary? I find it to be a huge pain in the butt to have to unlock or duplicate an image because it always comes into Photoshop locked and unable to manipulate. Shouldn't this be a choice someone makes instead of a default?
    – user22965
    Commented May 1, 2014 at 18:00
  • 1
    You can also simply assign a shortcut (via actions) to change the image mode to RGB and it will unlock the Index layer.
    – Scott
    Commented May 1, 2014 at 20:54
  • 1
    You also don't usually WANT to be editing GIFs. Ideally, you're editing the original PSD rather than the exported GIF.
    – DA01
    Commented May 13, 2014 at 18:18

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