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Why is Duotone greyed out in Photoshop?

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Photoshop is one of the most popular image manipulation programs out there. Along with the rest of the Adobe Suite, it’s a big help for graphics designers and photographers alike. However, it can be quite challenging to use at the start because of the program’s massive number of tools and options. 

This article looks at why duotone is greyed out in Photoshop and what you can do about the situation. 

Also read: How to fix error 6 in Photoshop?

What is duotone, and why is it disabled?

The duotone mode in Photoshop combines a greyscale image with secondary colour (called Spot Colour) to create a two-tone effect, much like the sepia. hence the name duotone. Photoshop’s mode gives users up to four colours to work with, all called Inks.

You can set individual Hue, Saturation and Range values for all four Inks and other colour control options, allowing full control over the colours used.

The important thing to remember is that duotone only works with greyscale images, meaning if you’re working in another colourspace, which you likely will be, the option will be greyed out. 

Just because you’re working with a black and white image doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the greyscale colourspace.

By default, most images are usually in the 8-bit RGB colourspace. For duotone, you need to be in the 8-bit Greyscale colourspace. 

Changing the colourspace will make the duotone effect available.

To change your colourspace in Photoshop, simply head over to Image, followed by Mode and make sure that Greyscale is checked. Check the lower half of the list to ensure that you’re in 8-bit mode as well. 

Once you change the colourspace, Photoshop will ask you whether or not you want to discard colour information. If you don’t intend to bring the image back into the RGB colourspace later, you can choose to discard the colour information. 

Regardless, once the colourspace is changed to greyscale, you can apply the duotone effect without any issues. 

Also read: What causes error 205 in Lightroom and Photoshop?  5 Fixes

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: