Photoshop: How do I replace one instance of a duplicated Linked Smart Object?

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I have a .psd which contains a linked file, positioned and styled. What I want to do is duplicate that layer and replace the linked file, making two layers with the same position and style but with different linked files. But replacing or relinking the file in one layer replaces the file in both layers.

Apologies if I'm missing something obvious, but I've tried every combination of ways to copy or duplicate the layer, but can't seem to work out how to do it so that only one instance is replaced. I'm pretty sure there was a way to do this, something to do with new layer via copy command, but I can't find how now.

Failing a solution, I'd be grateful for suggestions of alternative workflow. I want to avoid having to use linked or embedded smart objects.
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Philip King

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Posted 3 months ago

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Jaroslav Bereza

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There should be two ways how to duplicate SO. Once create new instance and second create new independent smart object and then you can relink content.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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Don't copy the layer. What you need to use is 'Layer - Smart Object - New Smart Object via Copy'. That will create an independent copy.
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Philip King

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Thanks again, but that leaves me with two layers which are now smart objects, which is what I'm trying to avoid. Unless I'm missing someting there's no easy way to turn smart objects back into regular layers with links back to the original linked file.
(Edited)
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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So what's so special about a smart object compared to a linked file that you want to avoid?
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Philip King

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Editing a smart object opens it as a new file in a new window, which makes it difficult to see how the work looks as a whole. It also takes time, which matters when there are dozens of files to work through.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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Doesn't editing a linked file do the same? It opens the original file...

What kinds of edits are we talking about? If you want to use the same layer styles, then you can place the new linked file above the existing one and then copy the layer styles from the existing layer and paste it onto the new one.
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Philip King

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I'm going to leave this here. It seems the answer to my question is no. Job done, thanks for trying to help.
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Max Johnson, Champion

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The short answer is no. I ended up writing a script to do it for me the long way...

Embed linked object
New smart object via copy
Convert to linked on both to make two linked again
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Philip King

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Thanks. Does your method link back to the original file?

As an aside, neither InDesign nor Illustrator suffer this problem, in each case there is the option to relink just one instance of a duplicated placed object.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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No, “Convert to linked” will save out the object as a new file.
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Philip King

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Okay, thanks.
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Max Johnson, Champion

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Convert to linked will let you link one back to the original since it lets you browse and save... just save on top of the original file since it's the same.
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Philip King

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True, but requires navigating back to the original file, which takes time on top of the time needed to link the duplicate to the new asset. I think I'm better off ignoring duplication entirely and instead just place the new asset and reproduce the scale etc. manually.