Photoshop: How do I drag and drop a layer from a PSD document to another open PSD file?

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It would be better if we could just click and drag a layer from a PSD file to copy it to another open PSD file in Photoshop.

At least we should be able to see a "copy" option on the right click menu on a layer without having to : 1.make a selection of the layer, 2.copy the selection, 3.go to the
other PSD file, 4.create a new layer and 5.paste the selection copied

better, no ?
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Ghassen Louhaichi

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Posted 8 years ago

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Chris Cox

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You can select the layer in the layers palette and drag it to another open document.

You don't have to make a selection, copy, paste, or create the layer in the other document.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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As Chris points out, this feature already exists.
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Ghassen Louhaichi

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No, I really tried and not once, normally PSD files are open in tabs rather than windows (I'm talking about CS5) so the only way to click and drag a layer from a PSD file to another is that this one is open in a window. But when I click and drag a layer from a tab to a tab nothing happens. I hope you understood me Jeffery.
And we can't deny that there is no "copy" option on the layer right click menu.
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Kim Letkeman

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To work with tabs, try it this way:

1) Select the tab where the layer exists that you want to drag
2) Select the layer to make it active
3) CTRL-A, CTRL-C to select the entire layer's content
4) Hold shift down
5) Drag the *document window* to the tab where you want the layer copied
6) The new tab will move to the top of the z-order and become visible
7) Continue dragging the content into the document window
8) Release the mouse button

Because you used the shift key, the layer drops right into the appropriate spot in the hierarchy and because you selected the whole layer, everything remains correctly aligned.

It's only a couple of extra steps, but the basic gesture is almost exactly what you want.
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Ghassen Louhaichi

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thanks anyway !!!
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amanda ostrom

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Very Good Tip. I found out in Mac, you don't need to CTRL-A or CTRL-C (Command in Mac).
Be sure Move Tool is selected.
Then just Select the Layers you wish to copy.
Click on any part of the window and Drag to the Tab you wish to copy on,
hold and wait until this doc shows (one or two seconds, depends on the computer),
then drag back to window and release mouse.
Layer is copied in the center of new doc.
If you wish to copy the layer in the same spot as the original doc, then drag holding Shift key.
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Scott Mahn

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You can drag from the layers pallet, or from the document itself it's a pixel layer and it's active you can just hold the CMD key and drag straight from the document.
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ChristinaV

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Is there any way to drag and drop a layer and keep it in the same position as it was in the original document?
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Two ways:

If the documents (the source document and the document the layer is being dragged to) are of the same pixel dimensions, holding down the shift key will retain the same position. If they're not the same size, shift will center the layer in the target document.

In that case, you can make a selection, copy, and then choose Edit > Paste Special > Paste in Place. Paste in Place retains the position of the copied pixels.
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ChristinaV

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Thanks!
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Kim Letkeman

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BUT: The most obvious way to accomplish this is to drag a layer to the tab of another open document, and that does not work in CS5. The actual document must be visible, which means they must be tiles, something I never do. Further, when I select the layer, there is no copy / paste menu item available in either the layer or the edit menus, so I am unable to copy, click the tab for the other document, and paste.

I did verify that the feature works as described, but because of these work flow quirks it is neither discoverable nor convenient. Tabs are drop targets in almost all other applications.
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Julian Kussman

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This is why I turned off tabs immediately
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Kim Letkeman

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Well, the clutter is brutal when documents are not in tabs. So I would not do that. I can always drag a document out into the wild to accomplish the drag and drop, but frankly that's no solution to a fundamental user interface bug.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Kim, it's true, you can't drag from the Layers panel to non-active document tab (which we hope to improve in the next version).

You can use the Move Tool to drag from one tabbed document to another:

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Kim Letkeman

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Now that's a clever trick. Doesn't really help with alignment I suppose, but very useful nonetheless. Thanks!
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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There are a couple of tricks with alignment. If the documents are the same width and height, holding the shift key will keep the position of the layers. If they aren't the same size, shift will center the layers.

We've had people ask for the ability to ask for the ability to copy and paste layers (as objects - which would more or less mean putting a temp PSD file on the clipboard). I suppose one could image the Edit>Paste Special>Paste In Place command would store the position in that case as well.
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Kim Letkeman

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Yup ... the move tool with shift works perfectly for what I like to do. Thanks!
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Cool. Thanks for the feedback.
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Sean Phillips

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That Move tool trick is very cool, so thanks for that! But being able to drag layers to a tab would be even better. I look for this feature many times every week!
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Sean, add it as a request. ;)
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PECourtejoie, Champion

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About the right-click menu on a layer, the option already exists it is not called copy, but "duplicate layer..." (you do need to right-click on the layer name in the layer panel, and you'll then be able to select the second document)
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Vicky Grice

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Photoshop: How do I click and drag images from one doc to another doc?.

Why can't I click and drag an image from one photoshop CS6 document to another photoshop document? I used to be able to do this, but something changed and I don't know how to fix this.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Official Response
While you can't drag from the Layers panel to non-active document tab (which is something we hope to improve in the future - add your vote here), you can use the Move Tool to drag from one tabbed document to another. Here's how:

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Photoshop FAQ, Official Rep

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Photoshop: How do I drag a layer from one document to another?.

I use tabbed documents. How do I drag and drop layers from one document to the other?