I'm an old hand with Photoshop Elements and now I have bought a Creative Cloud account for PC and iPad. Some things work the same as PS Elements. I can used the magic wand tool to erase unwanted backgrounds, but when I switched to Eraser that tool would not erase. I saved my work and rebooted, but no different. I drag the Eraser (right-click on) and nothing is erased. If I use the Magic Wand, it selects a portion, but the Delete button does not delete. What am I doing wrong?
Which operating system do you have?
Typically, I make a selection and use the Backspace key to delete contents.
I'm using Windows 10 up-to-date. I was only pressing Delete because that's what you do in PS Elements.
Can you post some screenshot with Layers panel visible? Just drag Eraser, no need for right click which should display context menu to choose brush.
When Photoshop starts behaving strange usually preference reset can help https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/using/preferences.html
Before reset press letter Q on your keyboard to exit quick mask mode (red highlight on layer and quick mask icon in toolbox is also highlighted) and try againg using Eraser although it is not best idea. Better use mask to hide pixels instead of deleting them. When using mask you can enter Quick Mask mode and to paint using Brush, not Eraser.
Came here to say this. Also, should you ever again have a tool that doesn't respond, another possible cause is having accidentally selected something. If you see the marching ants anywhere, that might be the issue (even if you don't see them, check anyway in case the selection is tiny). To make sure that isn't the reason, go Select>Deselect and the eraser (or other tool as the case may be) will work if the marching ants were the problem.
It's not clear if you are having this problem with Photoshop on your PC or on the iPad. What type of file are you working on? Have you unlocked the background so that it can have tranasparency. When you open a jpeg image the image layer is flattened without transparency, until you click on the lock icon to release it.
PS on the PC. I'm working on a PSD file creating from a JPEG. Yes, I unlocked it be double-clicking on the Layer and it switched from Background to Layer 0 (which is the way you do it in PS Elements). Maybe that's wrong?
OK. I made it work, but I don't understand why. I created a new layer and clicked on it. Then I clicked on the original layer (with the image in it) and suddenly the Eraser is working. Is this normal?
See my explanation above, on your screenshot you was in Quick Mask mode (letter Q) that is why Eraser didn't work, it requires mask and Brush tool to paint.
Great help. Thanks everybody. I'm discovering it's a big learning curve from Photoshop Elements (even with years of experience--developing bad habits?). Is there a good step-by-step guide? I find the in-program tutorials lacking in details.