Photoshop: Ability to drag / move layers from one document's layers palette to another.

  • 25
  • Idea
  • Updated 4 years ago
  • Implemented
  • (Edited)
Currently if you want to move a selected layer (or multiple layers) from one open PSD to another, you have to:

1. Select the layer(s) in the Layers palette.
2. Click the Move Tool (if not already active).
3. Make sure the "Auto-Select" feature isn't on.
4. Click within the canvas.
5. Drag to the new PSD.

While that's not a HUGE deal, I am still not sure why we can't just omit steps 2 through 4. We should be able to select the Layers in the palette, and then drag them to the new document (either the new document's canvas area, or the new document's layer palette).

Speaking of the latter, with the way things currently work, when I drag layers from one PSD into another, the layers palette doesn't get updated to the document I'm currently dragging it into. If I have 5 PSDs open and they all look the exact same, but the layer structures are actually different (but I don't remember the file name), I have no way of knowing if I am in the right PSD or not. In short, the layer palette should update to the currect one, depending on what document/tab I am about to drag/release my layers into.
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Jon Fuller

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  • curious.

Posted 8 years ago

  • 25
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Good idea.
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Scott Mahn

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"We should be able to select the Layers in the palette, and then drag them to the new document (either the new document's canvas area, or the new document's layer palette)."

Or the new document's tab.
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PECourtejoie, Champion

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Garconis, unless I'm missing something, if the documents are not tabbed, doing 1, 5 works in CS5 (and CS6 beta).
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Mike Abbott

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I've got to add my vote to this - dragging from the layers palette. Yes it's possible when using free floating windows, but it should be possible when using tabbed windows.

The rather annoying thing is that it was possible (using tabbed windows - on 'PC' at least) back in CS4. It was then removed. That was a major step backwards in the UI. The current behaviour - requiring a drag from the canvas, is particularly unintuitive if you're dragging an 'invisible' layer such as an adjustment layer.

It's something I discussed with John Nack some time ago.

I do hate it when Adobe removes something, then sticks in back in the application a couple of versions down the line and asks us to pay - again.
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Mike Abbott

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Just a note - this is also being raised and requested on the Photshop CS6 beta forums - in a number of different threads
and that's just within the last 12 hours...
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Ryan Boone

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I would love to be able to drag a layer from one open document to another without having to pull a document's tab out of docked position. I know I can arrange multiple windows, but it seems to me this would be a great workflow enhancement. It would work by simply selecting the layer, dragging it to the appropriate tab at the top of the tab window (if the tabs are truncated to the right side of the screen, they would automatically reveal the full title as you mouse over them), once you rest over the tab, that document takes focus on the screen, and then you can place your document. I've wanted this ever since tabs were introduced, I just never put the request in. Thanks guys!

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Dragging from one tab to another.
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Jonas M. Rogne

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I came here today to make sure someone else had posted this! :)

I have long wanted to be able to drag a layer from one document to another, but this cannot be done while they are tabbed. When dragging a layer over a tab it should switch to that document (allowing you to drop the layer where you want it).

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Chris Stocker

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it can now?
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Chris Downie

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I was just about to suggest this myself. I'm constantly moving layers between documents and it would be so much easier if I could drag it to the tab of the target document to bring up that tab and drop it in.

As a side note, my work around has been to do a split view of my two documents, but it's really hard to drag the tabbed document to the "sweet spot" to make that happen. I often miss and it undocks the tab to it's own window. Fixing that would be awesome too.

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Tai Luxon, Employee

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Official Response
The latest update to Photoshop adds the ability to drag layers from the Layers panel to an inactive document's tab in order to activate that document where you can then drop the layers.
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Jon Fuller

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Definitely a great addition. Was hopeful I'd be able to drag it into the other document's layer panel (and choose where its placed within the layer order).
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Dale Flynn

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Thank you all for your help. I've got it sorted!