Photoshop: Stop "saving a copy" when I say "save as"

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  • Updated 4 months ago
  • (Edited)
When I have a PSD open and I save it as a JPEG, stop "saving a copy" as JPEG and leaving the active file the PSD.I save as JPEG, resize the image a bit, hit ^S to save again ... and it just silently blew away my PSD, unless I notice and undo and re-save to recover it.When you save-as in in Windows, you always expect hitting save again to save to that same file, not the file you originally opened. Photoshop's behavior is broken and dangerous.
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Glenn Maynard

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Posted 2 years ago

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Chris Cox

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Photoshop only saves a copy when you are saving to a file format that cannot contain all the information in your document (like saving a layered document to JPEG).  This is to prevent you from losing the data in your document.
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Glenn Maynard

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It causes data loss rather than preventing it, since it's so nonstandard. If I save-as, then make a lossy edit and hit save, every Windows application saves to the file I just saved as, not to the original file I opened. Photoshop's the only one that will blow away your original file when you do this.

It's also really annoying when you're just trying to make a few edits to a PNG, save to test, make a couple more changes, save again, etc., because it refuses to just save to the file you want like every other application does. You have to reselect the file again and again.

It would be a lot more useful to just show a "this file format will lose data, maybe you want PSD instead" warning on save with a "don't show this again" checkbox.
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Dirk McGirk

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This feature is horrible because you can never save to the file you are working on, only copies, and then you have to go remove the work copy or delete the originals, much too confusing if you are working nonstop on photoshop. No config setting either, seems like every new version of photoshop has something useful removed and something harmful added. I prefer older versions of Photoshop
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Mal Reynolds

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Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I HATE, and that is not too strong a term, HATE this feature because:
  • (a) It interrupts my workflow which I try to automate with the pathetic half-baked joke of a scripting language called Actions; and
  • (b) What Glenn described above is EXACTLY what just happened to me. This stupid, STUPID feature just blew away half an hour's work because I lost focus. To say that it " prevents you from losing the data in your document" is ridiculous. Hey JPGs can't contain alpha channels, well duh. If I am telling Photoshop to SAVE AS JPG, it's a pretty safe bet that I've already factored that issue in.

I have an action that prepares an image to go online:
  • Saves the .psd;
  • Converts the colour space from Adobe RGB to sRGB,
  • Resizes the image;
  • Saves the JPG into my output folder;
  • Shuts down the file.

So when it reaches stage 4 on files where Photoshop's designers think they know better than me what my intention is, it stops. It does not DO WHAT I TOLD IT TO DO and save the current file AS A JPG, INTO my output folder. Instead, it comes to a stop showing the Save As dialog, with the filename and the word "copy" in the filename box, trying to save it into the PSD's own folder.

In other words instead of having a script which just DOES WHAT I TOLD IT TO in clear and unequivocal terms, I have to get rid of the word "copy" from the filename, then manually navigate to my output folder, then remember NOT to save the resized, sRGB file when I get the prompt when the file closure command executes. Because if I don't change the default of Yes to No with that last dialog, then I have LOST everything that Photoshop had to flatten out and change as part of this process; layers, the original size, alpha channels, you name it.

Way to "prevent me from losing my data" Adobe, love your work.
(Edited)
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Boris Schetinkin

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It makes me mad. Crazy feature. There MUST be an option to remove " copy" as default behavior.
(Edited)
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Cristen Gillespie

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Since I don't script, I use Image Processor or Image Processor Pro to batch save layered PSDs as JPEGs. Scripting would probably be better. However, it took me about a minute to create an actions that saved a layered PSD (already saved once, but this is in the action, and not a save as, so no dialog opens), run IP (which I does open, but you can just hit enter if you do this all the time  on single files and have the right size and destination folder already set up), and then closes the PSD file.

The layered PSD file is intact. The JPEG is sized properly and sitting in the folder I designated for it. I don't think that's so onerous that Adobe needs to change the process that does prevent people from replacing their layered PSD file in the document window with a flattened JPEG. If I use Save As, it always replaces the current file with the format I want to save into, so a loss of layers WILL happen if "as a copy" is removed from the process, and will happen often, even to experienced users who have become distracted.

I can remember what it was like when we had to first put our file into a JPEG-ready state before we could save a JPEG at all. This is not only much, much faster, it's safe and reliable, and a second to hit the enter key when the IP window opens is nothing compared to either what we used to go through, or to  discovering sadly that we've been hasty, careless, or ignorant and lost our layered file.
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Mal Reynolds

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"I don't think that's so onerous that Adobe needs to change the process that does prevent people from replacing their layered PSD file in the document window with a flattened JPEG."

Do you want to spend a minute or so thinking about what you just said there? No, actually THINK about it. If you SAVE AS you do NOT "replace" the original file. You get a new file. Or more precisely, you are SUPPOSED to get a new file. You see those things on the end of the file name? They're called file extensions. One is .psd, one is .jpg. If you do Save As, and save it to jpg, you don't do thing one to the original .psd. Nothing. Period.

I really don't care that you interject some third party application into the mix. Good for you. What relevance does this have to the subject at hand?

I care that when I give Photoshop the command to save as jpg, it does NOT do what it is instructed to, which is to create a new file in the format I have specified and leave the original one alone. This is what EVERY well designed application on the planet does.
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Cristen Gillespie

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<<I really don't care that you interject some third party application into the mix. Good for you. What relevance does this have to the subject at hand?>>

Well, I interjected no 3rd party app into the mix, unless you mean IP Pro, which is free,  merely mentioned along with IP, and which is merely a slight extension to Image Processor. IP is part of PS, it's what I used in the action I created, and works as I described.  However, if you think that that moment when you hit the enter key in an action is terrible when you're saving a single file at a time, go ahead and insist that you shouldn't have to.  I should have thought using an action that works with PS features, and eliminates the need to respond to the JPEG nuisance, as well as closes the file for you, might have appealed, but obviously it wasn't enough. Sorry about that.

I doubt very much you will change anything as Adobe has plainly said, and I agree with Adobe, that the As A Copy is for safety in the normal course of things.  Unintentionally flattening a layered file outranks having to deal with As A Copy when it comes to sheer destructiveness. Unless you can get them to totally change the way files are saved, it's what I believe you're stuck with. I only tried to show you how you could cope while you go ahead and continue to argue for Save As to never replace the open document with the one you just asked for.

Of course, while you can fight for Adobe to make Save As not replace the open file with the new format,  recall that every Untitled file uses Save As the first time, and we most definitely DO want it to replace the Untitled file.  So expect some pushback there, as well.
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David Converse

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And of course you have all the people complaining about using Save As to create a pdf and losing their work. With the opposite workflow to Save A Copy.

The thing to do is learn to pay attention to what you are saving so you don't overwrite files.
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Cristen Gillespie

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Yes, I've read that, and am mindful that it's a problem for them. The thing is to learn to pay attention, yes, but everyone can get distracted, hurried, pressured. So the better thing imo is if we can't flatten our layers inadvertently. After all, do you really think we should be able to close our file without saving it because the popup is a nuisance?  We could say that we should be paying attention.

We're not always, and we have been working towards a "non-destructive" workflow from the beginning of time. This kink in the JPEG workflow (which I found can be gotten around with minimal disruption), is just part of the "non-destructive" effort they've put into this.

Maybe Adobe can eliminate the need to stop us with Save A Copy without endangering the workflows of everyone else, but I'm not at all sure it's a serious enough issue for most people that it's worth disrupting other efforts they are making to improve our feature set and working experience.
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Mal Reynolds

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Well I'm sure that you're oh so clever and never have this problem unlike at least three other people in this thread, but regardless of your opinion the REAL "thing to do" is to have software which functions IN THE SAME WAY as pretty much every other program on the planet does. "Save As" means in almost every program, and SHOULD mean in this one, "make this a new document, in the new format". Period. 
Of course, if Adobe would care to pull its finger out and provide us with a REAL automation language, complete with objects, properties and methods instead of taking ever increasing amounts of money for continuing to provide something out of the ark, that may also help, but I'm not counting on that.
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Stephen Newport

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This is and should be standard expectations. When saving across lossless formats, the feature works as you would like. When saving from lossless to lossy, the default is to save as a copy and leave the original open so as not to lose unsaved work. If it were not the case, you would have multiple people on here saying "I just saved a copy before I saved my original file and now I can't go back and recover the original!"
It would not be a smart idea to convert an open document into a lossy compressed file as even an option, as it opens a whole other bag of worms.
What could be a good option is to have a checkbox that says "open copied file upon save" or the likes, similar to "add exported file to Lightroom catalog."
What you're asking is the equivalent of a sound engineer asking Ableton that when he saves as an MP3 to automatically convert his whole composition to an MP3 for further revisions. This would be disastrous.
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Mal Reynolds

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> This is and should be standard expectations

According to you. Not according to pretty much any other computer program ever written aside from some music program that you, personally use and most other people could not care less about.

> When saving from lossless to lossy, the default is to save as a copy and leave the original open so as not to lose unsaved work.

So following this ingenious "logic" to its ultimate conclusion, Photoshop should stop you from doing anything that results in lossiness unless you save as a copy first. Flatten an image? "I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that. Save as a copy first." Convert to a less capable colour profile? "Oh no, you have to save as a copy first".

That would be one way of doing it. Another would be for the program to just do what the user tells it to do. Or, alternatively, use the option that occurred to Microsoft, oh, say 20 years ago and give us the option of having backup files created on a save. But then, if Adobe did that they may have to give us a scripting language that was worth a toss as well, and that doesn't seem likely in the next 20 price increases or so.
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Stephen Newport

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Mal,
I'm not a sound engineer, nor do I have any special knowledge of only a specific piece of composition software. I do have general knowledge of most composition software, though, as well as imaging software. What photoshop does is standard practice. What they might incline themselves to do, however, to avoid confusion from people starting out in the field is to remove compressed image formats from the save dialog altogether, and only allow it under "export."

In Illustrator, for instance, you have the option to export as a JPG, but it would be silly for someone to expect once you export that jpg that the current document you're working on would turn into a jpg(!).

Or in inDesign, exporting as a PDF, would be disastrous if the current, open, document turned "into" a PDF after saving it as such.

Consider garage-band maybe, after working on your multi-instrument midi tracks, recording vocals, adding effects and doing light mastering, you saved it as an MP3.... to consider GarageBand should scrub your whole composition and turn it into an MP3 track is.... well.... not what "any other computer program ever written" would do.

It sounds to me like the confusion could be resolved by turning "save as" into "export" for lossy file formats.
(Edited)