Photoshop CC 2014: Floating windows stay on top of other applications on MacOS 10.10

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Photoshop project windows block all other application windows..

I primarily use Photoshop for Mac for my work. I will have many PS floating project files open at the same time (not uncommon to have 25+) as well as many other application windows open.

In past versions of PS, I could have other application windows (eg. Preview, Safari, Quicktime, etc.) open and in front of PS project windows that were not currently being used. This was immensely helpful for my workflow as I could view content/reference from another application in a window alongside my active PS project window and maximize my screen real estate, while I work.

I recently upgraded to PS CC. I find that whenever I have Photoshop as the active application, EVERY photoshop project window I have open, active or not, trumps every other open application window. This has stymied my workflow and made things very frustrating as I cannot see reference that is displayed in another application window.

It is a bit difficult to explain this behavior correctly. Is there a solution to allow other application windows to sit in front of PS project windows while PS is active?

Photoshop: 2014.2.1
OSX: Yosemite 10.10.1

Note: This conversation was created from a reply on: Photoshop: How do I remove window bar and grey background on Mac in CS6? (Applica....
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Jared Purrington

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Posted 4 years ago

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Chris Cox

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I can't reproduce this in MacOS 10.7, 10.8 or 10.9. I currently don't have a system with 10.10 (because it isn't stable enough for me to use).
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Jared Purrington

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Hi Chris, Jeff,
Has this issue had any updates?

I've used CS5 running on different versions of OSX, including Yosemite, and it has always allowed other application windows to sit on top of inactive PS image windows while PS is the active program, so it seems that this is a change and functionality problem within PS CC. I would really like to see this issue addressed, as it is a huge thorn in the side of my workflow, and I am really surprised that I haven't seen much mention of it.
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Chris Cox

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No updates yet.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Sorry, no news at this time. The engineer responsible for this has been in touch with Apple - but no news I can share at this time.
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Terry Wilson

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I agree that this is a great hindrance to workflow. I'm on a Mac and have the same gripe. Chris, I think you misunderstand the problem.

Let's say you have a bunch of source image files open, and one new one using elements from some of the others. And you need to make the new image match up to a website's colors and whatnot. So after dragging some elements into the new file, now you're ready to work in the new file and a safari page, but you still want the other 5 files open in case you want to add some other stuff; haven't finalized your design yet, whatever. And you have a couple of other files open just because you aren't finished with them. So at this point, you want to fiddle with just the safari window and your one new design. Click over to safari, fine. Now click a portion of your new design... Acckkkk! All of the PS windows stick together and come to the top obscuring safari and any chance of sampling colors or otherwise referring to the web page.
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Jared Purrington

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This interface function (We'll call it - Multi-Application Window Overlapping) worked up until I started using PS CC, and it's removal completely changes how I have to work in PS. Multi-application window overlapping works on CS5 running on Yosemite. It is not an operating system issue. It is a Photoshop issue.

Whether this functionality changed in CS6, I don't know (I only used CS5 before CC). But I would find it highly unlikely that I would be the only one that would notice this fairly major UX change.

I've taken a picture using CS5 running on Yosemite to explain:


See those photoshop file windows in the back behind the other app windows? This comes in very useful when I have 50+ photoshop files open and need to have content from another app available/visible while I work in Photoshop, but in CC the moment I click on one PS file window from different application, it shoves EVERY photoshop file I have open in front of my other application windows. Does this make sense? Is there a solution to restore this functionality?
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Jared Purrington

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Is there a response to this issue from someone at Adobe?
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Hi Jared, it's something we have to work with Apple together on.
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Jared Purrington

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Thank you for the reply, Jeff.

-Is this something that is being actively addressed for an update for CCPS?

-Why was this functionality not carried over to CCPS from earlier versions of CSPS? (Again, the ability to have other application windows on top of inactive PS file windows while PS is the active application still works in Creative Suite on Yosemite.)
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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From what I understand its not a problem unique to CC but a difference in API. It likely requires work on both the Apple side and the Photoshop side. That's about all I can share at this time.
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Terry Wilson

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If it's an Apple issue, it's kind of funny that only Photoshop (and I imagine any other Adobe product) exhibits this behavior.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Unfortunately, we can't discuss specifics with partner compatibility issues. Rest assured we're working with our partners to try and provide a solution. We appreciate your patience.

We will update this thread with the solution once it's available.
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Kevin Bolduan

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This bad behavior appears to be unique to Photoshop within the main CC apps. I just tried InDesign CC and Illustrator CC and did not run into the same issue. For those looking to reproduce this, here's what to do:

1. Open Photoshop CC. Make sure Window > Application Frame is turned off.

2. Create two new documents and be sure they're in separate windows, not just separate tabs, and move them a bit on your screen so they're not overlapping, i.e. covering a good amount of your screen real estate.

3. Switch to any other application (let's say Safari) and move the Safari window around so that one of the PS windows is peeking out from behind it and it's pretty much covering the other PS window.

4. Click on that peeking PS window and you'll see that immediately BOTH of the PS windows come to the front, covering the Safari window.

In all other applications on a Mac (I'm still on Mavericks but from this thread it sounds like it's a problem in Yosemite as well) only the window you clicked on would come to the front.

Looking forward to a fix for PSCC.
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Jared Purrington

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Photoshop CC blocking all other open windows on OSX.

Note: This is NOT about the application frame. I have the application frame turned off.

I originally posted about this almost a year ago.

In previous versions of CS any open PS files that were not the active file would fall behind other program windows in the order they had been selected. This is IMMENSELY helpful for an artist like me in the film industry that has to constantly be looking at reference and videos while I work.

Example from PS CS5:


In CC when PS is active, every open project in PS comes forward over any other open application window. This has been incredibly frustrating to my workflow for someone who can literally have 40+ PS projects open at a time. If I have to look at a video file for reference as I work, I have to strategically collage all my windows so the video file can peak through all my PS files. I would honestly rather go back to using CS5, where this wasn't an issue. I've been told it is an issue that has to be resolved with Apple. Please resolve it. I get frustrated every time I use PS CC, which is every day.

Photoshop: 2015.0.1
OSX: 10.10.4
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Jared Purrington

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Doe this being merged back to this post mean it will be, *cough, cough—Covered up and not seen?
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Chris Cox

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You already had a topic on the issue, and there was no need to create a new topic.
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Jared Purrington

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I understand. It's just been almost a year, since my original post and it is frustrating since I use PS every day. Do you know if this is being addressed?
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Chris Cox

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See Jeff's previous replies.
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ellen lampl

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THANK YOU, I have had the same problem since moving to CC.
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Tim

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Would like to follow up on this after 4 years as this is still an issue that affects workflow every day.

No other major software suites seem to exhibit this behaviour on either MacOS or Windows, so it's a wonder why Adobe fails to honour the normal, expected behaviour of application windows.

Is there an update on any resolution for this?