Photoshop: Ability to search for layers in the layer panel

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  • Idea
  • Updated 3 years ago
  • Implemented
  • (Edited)
Problem Description — It’s quite common for Photoshop documents to contain a lot of layers. I have some documents here with well over 1000 layers, and I don’t think I’m alone (I have groups for each state of the iOS app usually). It’d be great to be able to filter the layers palette. I realise the complications this might add: Should users be able to edit layers in the search results? If so, how do you handle events like reordering layers? It might be easy to just drop back to the normal (non-search results) view as soon as they do anything, but select the top layer from the search results, or the layer they clicked in the search results.

Workaround — Scrolling through layers and groups until the desired layer is found. Or, right clicking in the canvas and selecting the correct layer from the list of layers under the mouse cursor.

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Marc Edwards

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  • happy

Posted 8 years ago

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Matt Kelsh

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Searching layers is a definite step in the right direction. I'm surprised it wasn't implemented years ago.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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What happens when you have a hundred layers filtered down to 3 layers using a search and you change the z-order of one of the current layers?
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Marc Edwards

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Oh yeah, there's significant issues to be addressed. I realise this opens up many, very complex situations that would be hard to cater for.

The best solution I can think of is that the search state is very temporary. So if you searched for something, then clicked on the layer in the Layers palette, the layer would be selected and the search would be closed. Doing other layer-related things (like hitting the keyboard shortcut for changing layer order) might have to close the search as return to the normal Layer palette state, too.

Or maybe there's a smarter solution.

What we're talking about is more filtering than searching (similar to iTunes). So it's more "hide the non-results" rather than "show the results".

--- Here's your example ---

The full list of layers:
- Button's text
- Icon
- Button
- Background

If you searched for "Butt", then you'd be left with:
- Button's text
- Button

And if you dragged "Button's text" below "Button", the layers could be moved so that "Button's text" is just below "Button", which is what the user asked for. The new full list of layers:
- Icon
- Button
- Button's text
- Background

This works if they're in groups, too. Full list:
- Group
- - Button's text
- - Icon
- Button
- Background

Search for "Butt" (search results wouldn't ever show groups):
- Button's text
- Button

Drag "Button's text" below "Button", then cancel search.
- Group
- - Button's text
- - Button
- - Icon
- Background

I've considered reordering to be "place under the layer above", but it could also be defined as "place on top of layer below".

Or... certain features could just be disabled when in the search state. No reordering, but allow for opening the Layer Styles or showing/hiding.

I realise it's not an easy request! This isn't a new problem though. iTunes does it, as do other apps. You can have a static playlist in iTunes, filter it, reorder while filtering, then remove the filter.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Hey Marc, Thanks. I didn't mean to bust your chops. I just wanted an example to show to users that illustrates that what seems like a simple request can bring up complicated questions. You're right, they can be overcome - but need care consideration.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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By the way, I like the idea, too. :)
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Marc Edwards

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No chops were busted :)

I really enjoy thinking about these things. And yep, modal features like this can be a royal pain to build and test.
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Gabriel Totoliciu

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A simple solution for reordering the layers while filtered:

Let's say you have these layers and groups, after the filter is applied:

Buttons (group)
Home Button
Next Button
Previous Button
Refresh Button

Reordering the refresh button is tricky especially if it is placed between Home and Next, because you can't be sure if the user wanted it right below Home or right above Next (because other layers might exist between them when the filter is off).

A simple solution would be to show an arrow that indicates where exactly the Refresh Button will go.
For example, dragging the "Refresh Button" layer right above "Next Button" would show something like this

Home Button
-----------------------------
Next B^^^utton

(the ^^^) is the arrow I was talking about.

Dragging it right below the "Home Button" would show something like this

Home vvv Button
-----------------------------
Next Button

This way it clearly indicates where the layer goes.

There's also a problem with the "Buttons" group that needs to be addressed.

Dragging the "Refresh Button" layer below "Previous Button" should place the "Refresh Button" in the "Buttons" group.

Another nice thing would be to have a small [x] button inside the search text input, because the user might want to do more actions while the filter is enabled.

Pressing the [x] button would disable the filter.
The search would look something like this

[Search [x]]

Another nice feature would be to be able to choose if you want the filter to temporarily hide the non-results. This way, the user will be able to see his filtered layers similar to the "Layer Comps" palette.

And another nice thing to have is to be able to display
- Only the layers
- The group hierarchy of the filtered layers
- Only the parent groups for the filtered layers (this one needs attention to groups that have "children" and "nephew" results)

I'm sure that this feature has other implications, but it would really help out a lot of power users.
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Gabriel Totoliciu

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And I'm sure that it's natural to understand that dragging a group while showing filtered results will actually move all the group and its contents.
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Pablo Santo

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Great improvement would be to add filter textbox on top of the layers palete that would filter out every unmatched layer. One could than name his layers with some prefixes and quickly switch between different sets to focus on current task. Filtered out layers should be automatically locked to prevent unwanted changes.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Layers filter.
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Hlusta

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That's exactly what I need! :)
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roman weiser

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Great topic Marc!
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Judson Collier

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Hey folks,

Jeff Tranberry sent this link to me in an email. Wrote up a blog post recently with a an additional idea of taking search, but adding in parameters. I work with 200+ layer photoshop documents often, and being able to search by things such as color coding, if a layer is locked or not, by the type of the layer (text, shape, adjustment layer), etc would be great.

I feel like this is a really important addition that would making surfing through layers a breeze, and an incentive for designers to start taking use of color coding, a feature that I feel is underused and underrated.
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Michael

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Yes, please Adobe!! It should be possible to search within layers. I often have more than hundreds of layers. The one thing I often use is to use the right mouse click on the photoshop file to choose the layer I need. BUT... it would be better to have a small search box to have a more powerful function to choose layers.
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Genoism

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I wholesomely support this idea...i was just about to post it until i saw this. This would really save me a LOT of time. I'm very organized in my layer naming but sometimes it just gets SO large that it would be far easier to search for something if i could search for group names at the very least.
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Linda Manthey

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Eek! Finding related layers in a folder-filled .psd is like finding a needle – or a multitude of them – in a haystack! Here's an item on my wish list...color coding for layers.

Since I often make edits to many related items in different folders, it would be great to have a function that would select a number of layers by color (or other tag/label of some kind) and make the global edits simultaneously.

Example: I'm creating several Web navigation tabs. I would like to change the font for all the tabs, but I have to open all the associated folders, and then click on each font layer to edit them at the same time. If they were all tagged "orange," I could make a selection of all orange layers with an automated command, and presto, they're all selected and ready for changes - without all that folder-expanding and clicking! Even if the auto function was absent, at least I could SEE them readily in order to shift-click select them.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Automated layer selection - bring on the colors!.
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Nathan Bentley

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Love this idea - whilst some of the better designers we work with are well organised, we often inherit PSDs with just a mass of badly labelled, ungrouped layers, so searching via label or attribute would be a great help.

As for the re-ordering issue, a really simple solution would be for the results to switch back to the full layer view upon selection of one of the results. You tap in your search query, thinning a few hundred layers down to a handful, and once you click on the one you're after, the view reverts back to all layers, with your chosen layer highlighted and in the middle of the layer window (or top/bottom depending on fit).
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Photoshop FAQ, Official Rep

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Dear Adobe Gripes #15006, #10722 & #4085

"Please add a search function for layer names. I want to be able to find a layer by typing its name."

"Searchable layers palette"

"Could you PLEASE make a layer spotlight search in Photoshop just like After Effects has effects spotlight search?"
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sijeesh Balakrishnan

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shall we have a Layer Search Option on Layer Window where we can search a Particular layer. I used to do so many experiments when i design that makes my layers goes in crazy numbers. It will be great if Photoshop have this feature.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Layer Search Option on Layer Window.
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rttupaz

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- Allowing you to search the Layers window by keyword.
- Saving a "slice" layer so you can save slices with certain layers or folders
- Saving a "guide" layer so you can save guides with certain layers or folders

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Some features I'd really like to see after using Photoshop for YEARS.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Please do a search before posting new topics and add comments/vote on those topics. Here are the topics for your other requests:

http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

It also helps to put each request in separate posts if you do need to create a new topic so people can comment and vote on each request separately.

Thanks.
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Chris Page

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would be nice. i've had a few files with over 100 layer... never 1000 though.

Would like to see this as a collapsible portion in the Layers pallet. Much like the align pallet has more then one size.
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Denis Korovkin

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I really miss this feature. Usually i select layers via ctrl-click, but if layer is hidden — then it's almost lost forever, even though i gave it a name.
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Gabriel Totoliciu

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Hey, congrats for the layer search in CS6. It's awesome :D
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Michael

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Great job done!! I love this new feature... Awesome!!!
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Denis Korovkin

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Yeaaah, i'm happy now!
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Official Response
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I'm happy to say that this feature is in Photoshop CS6:



Try the beta here: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/ph...

If you have ideas for improvements/refinements for Layer Search, please create new topics for individual ideas. Thank you.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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If you have ideas for improvements/refinements for Layer Search. Please create new topics for individual ideas. Thank you.
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asi givati

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Hey There !
My Name is Asi Givati
asigivati@gmail.com
i just wanna suggest you for the next ver of photoshop or whatever, to make a search button for layers name.
im working with many layers all the time, and this kind of search button can be very useful for me and for everyone!
i made a example to show you what i mean, it should look like that:
http://i47.tinypic.com/14kgm6h.jpg
thanks for your time

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
a great idea for you !.
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yylove66@hotmail.com

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Adobe Photoshop,简称“PS”,是一个由Adobe Systems开发和发行的图像处理软件。Photoshop主要处理以像素所构成的数字图像。使用其众多的编修与绘图工具,可以更有效的进行图片编辑工作。2003年,Adobe将Adobe Photoshop 8更名为Adobe Photoshop CS。因此,最新版本Adobe Photoshop CS6是Adobe Photoshop中的第13个主要版本。

历经了无数版本PS现在越来越人性化 可扩展功能也越来越多

在这里我有一个小小的建议 希望PS的下一个版本更够实现

我希望 PS在下一个版本会出现图层名称关键字搜索功能

因为在作图的过程中应用了大量的图层虽然很久以前就有了图层分组功能

但是感觉如果能加入 图层名称搜索这个功能 将会更方便

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Photoshop: add layer searching.
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andrei.busuioc

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Photoshop layer search.

Hi, i usually work pretty tidy with Photoshop, trying to name my layers and effects. Given there are probably many people who do that, i believe that a great idea is to be able to filter layer by using a search filter where you can manually input the name of the layer and get it singled out.