Photoshop CC: Automatically flattens my layered files

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  • Updated 7 months ago
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This conversation has been merged. Please reference the main conversation: Photoshop: How did I get a flattened PSD after saving PDF?

Photoshop CC automatically flattens my layered files. I save the psd file, flatten it and 'save as' jpg/tiff whatever I need. When I reopen the psd file, it is flattened. At first I thought I used saved and not "saved as", but I have subsequently done 4 tests with the same outcome. Can someone please help?
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Alison Gouws

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Posted 2 years ago

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Serrada

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Hallo! Simply do not flatten the psd-file before 'saving as' (because in the preferences you have probably some settings that save your file in the background). When saving as 'tif' you can chose whether to flatten the file or not (box 'save image pyramid'). When saving in jpg the file is normally flattened automatically.
Alternative: Go back in history of the "psd" to the non-flattened stage and then save this stage.
Easy! No?
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Alison Gouws

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I discovered this Photoshop issue only after the psd file was closed, so I couldn't go back in history. Also, it never used to do that. This is a new problem after the latest "update". I haven't touched the settings in yonks, so it's not anything I changed on my side.
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Max Johnson, Champion

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@PJ Coller, I appreciate you offering a workaround until a real fix can be added. 

@Adobe, that's not a "simply" solution. Any destructive action that saves over an existing file should require user input. Either manually re-saving, or a dialog that warns that it is auto-saving over top of your current file (not the same as auto-backup.. that's a recovery solution and should not be saving over your working file).

Assuming this happens to more than just Alison, having to remember a work-around every time you save-as in order to preserve your master copy is not acceptable.
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Taylor Rayan Kliesen

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Thank you. I just found this post after running into the same issue.. I lost my entire master file because I had to save as a PDF draft to send to a concept approval in a meeting. So now I have to redo the entire thing because all of my layers are gone and I can't make the updates... 
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Cristen Gillespie

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> I discovered this Photoshop issue only after the psd file was closed, so I couldn't go back in history. Also, it never used to do that. This is a new problem after the latest "update". >

I'm not seeing anything at all different between 2018 and 2017. If I save a file as a PSD, then flatten it and save it as a TIFF and JPEG, I have all 3 files on disk. I can reopen my layered PSD. The file that is currently open is, of course, the JPEG or TIFF, since I had chosen to save the file AS a JPEG or TIFF.

Is it possible youhave a problem with either your OS and 2018, or with corruption somewhere? Is anyone reading this able to replicate the issue?

I don't take that circuitous route to save my flattened files, though. I don't flatten the PSD first. I simply use Save As for JPEG, which always saves a copy, and Save As with Layers disabled (unchecked) in the TIFF dialog so it forces it to save a copy. My PSD is still open, still ready for me to do whatever I want, including Save Save or Save As, if I haven't, and closing it. It just feels a lot more comforting to always know I won't lose my layered file. Using the step back in History routine is for when I totally screw up.<G>
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Rebecca Wong

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I have the same issue. Just opened the psd file as usual and all of my layers were flattened into the background layer when I opened it.
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Cristen Gillespie

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If there are two of you having this problem suddenly and you can replicate it, we should know what OS you're using and are you also using 2018?, as well as your steps to save the file, so Adobe has something to look into. It's not an issue on my Mac running El Capitan.
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Susanne Loomis

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Any solutions? I am having the same problem. I go to save as and when I look my layers are flattened.
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Laura Wahlgren Best

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I also have this problem and it's terrible. It's been like this ever since I started using PSCC a few weeks ago. It kinda makes using PS almost useless if my files are automatically getting flattened every time I use it. I am on a Surface Pro 3
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Trent Schumann

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Same here. When I save as a JPG (even without flattening it before saving) and then save as a PSD, it also flattens the PSD.
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Clinton Avery

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Photoshop just did this to me and more, I "saved as" under a different file name and that new file was flattened and somehow it also saved the current state of the original file as well. I just lost all my layers after hours of painting for class, the way it just saved makes no sense and I did not make a mistake and save over it myself.
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Susanne Loomis

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Doesn't seem like they care if this is corrected.

Clinton Avery - did you close the file after saving? I found that I check everything before closing because you can undo if you need to do that. 
(Edited)
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Mercedes Taylor

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I know this has been on for two months but it recently happened to me and I found a solution. Normally I create all my files in Illustrator but I needed to create something in Photoshop. I used the layers and folders like normal. I saved it as a PSD. Then I saved a copy as a PDF and saved my document again as a PSD so no flattening would occur. Well it still flattened it, even with the layers still present and saving as a PSD.

The problem I found occured when saving as a PDF as the settings are being changed because a PDF doesn't have layers within Acrobat Reader. 

So after you save your file as a PDF or anything that could destroy the layers. Go back in and save it as a PSD, but remember to then check the layers box below the document type to keep all your layers!

I don't know why Adobe doesn't have it to be automatically triggered, or if it is something in my settings that I need to correct.

Anyways I hope this helps someone!
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Donald Jacobsen

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Thank you! This is the answer I was looking for. I thought I had gone crazy and saved without layers, but can confirm what you said about saving PDF then saving PSD. There's a very inconspicuous "Warning" button next to the Save button that I never even noticed untll reading your post.
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Amy Galore

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In 30 years of using Photoshop I have never had this problem. Suddenly I do a save as, with the layers box checked, save as a PSD and when I go to open it all of my layers are gone. This is disastrous . Im surprised to even find other people having this problem as I was sure I had neglected some new setting or something. But reading all these comments I’m not the only one. I save files as jpeg when I desire flattened image. But I always save as PSD for myself so I can go back in and continue work... even just saving a file, not save as, in PSD format is not preserving the layers although the layers box is selected. I have lost hundreds of hours of work. I did not even realize this was happening until today. Furthermore I don’t even think there’s a way to retrieve these layers. So essentially all I have is a bunch of flattened files. Again, this has never happened in 30 years of using Photoshop. What is the solution here? I am running Windows 10 Photoshop CC 2018.
Thanks to all who have posted possible solutions, I do wish someone from Adobe would jump on board here
(Edited)
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Bert Saraco

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I have EXACTLY the same problem. Hours and hours of work are being destroyed through flattening when I save as a PSD. I also found that opening PSD files offers some nasty surprises, like not all of the layers being available as layers. This is awful - I put off paying for CC and THIS is the reward?
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Bruce Niere

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OMG.. I thought I had gone crazy
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Richard Berelson

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Exactly the same problem here, I have used Photoshop for 20 years and this is new with the latest CC update to 2018. Like others, I have lost hours of work as my PSD files are re-opening flattened. Adobe, this is disgraceful.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Are you saving to PDF and not reenabling the "Layers" checkbox? If you're doing something different, a screen recording showing how to reproduce the problem would be helpful.
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Richard Berelson

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That seems to be the thing, but up until this version of Photoshop I was able to save a PDF and then save my PSD without having to check a layers box. Surely a layered PDF is more likely to be wanted saved with its layers so, as previously, the default should be with the layers box checked.
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Susanne Loomis

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Hi
My problem has been with PSD files not PDF files. The others in this thread are having the same issues with PSDs.
(Edited)
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David Converse

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If you flatten and then Save As, your original file is not changed. Save As creates a new file. I am not seeing the issue on either Windows or Mac.
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Maya Encarnación

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Hello,

I am having the same issue. I save countless times in different ways with different settings enabled or disabled and I have not found a way to save a layered photoshop file and be able to open it again with all the layers in tact. This is very sad. Adobe, please care about the quality of your product and help all of us who are having this problem.
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Cristen Gillespie

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> I save countless times in different ways with different settings enabled or disabled and I have not found a way to save a layered photoshop file and be able to open it again with all the layers in tact>

I'm afraid it will be impossible for Adobe to figure out what is going wrong from "different ways with different settings enabled or disabled." That covers too much territory, and has others have said, many of us have never encountered any problem saving a PSD file with layers and being able to open it again. This thread is the first I've ever even heard there was a problem saving a PSD with layers intact.

If you would create a test file that is typical (but small) of your workflow, then record snapshots, step by step, of what you normally do to save that file as a PSD with layers intact, and then show the file reopened without layers intact, perhaps someone can spot the problem.  If you want to repeat that test with other step by step settings enabled or disabled, by all means, but even getting one that produces a file that doesn't save the layers would be a big help to finding the solution.
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Nuala Quinn

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I’m so glad I found this thread! I actually thought I was glazing over. I’m using 2019 Adobe photoshop CC on windows 10.


My usual workflow when saving is the same as most other users here. I save my psd with all the layers intact then save a pdf. My various projects psd’s have been flattened multiple times now. I’ve just done a few tests again with dummy files to check I wasn’t making mistakes and accidentally flattening the artwork before saving .


The file with the .psd extension should not be getting altered or flattened when I save as a .pdf or any other file extension. Simple. I’m not going back after saving the pdf and trying to save as a psd again I just close out.


This has always worked in the past and preserved both files, the last save state of my psd and the new file extension.
(Edited)
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Taylor Rayan Kliesen

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This is definitely still happening... did this yesterday for a work project. I had to save a PDF to send off to a meeting to get the draft approved and get feedback/updates, opened it up this morning to make them and lo and behold, I have to do the entire thing again because PS flattened my entire image. Really frustrated right now!! It looks like this has been going on for over a year. Why hasn't this been fixed?? 
(Edited)

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