Photoshop: Support Copy and Paste Layers

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  • Idea
  • Updated 2 years ago
  • Implemented
  • (Edited)
I am a user interface designer and have PSDs with over 300 layers, inside different folders.
Sometimes I need to copy a layer, say a button, from one folder onto another. But between those there are 100 layers/folders. The only way I can do it now is to alt-drag the layer past hundreds of layers and try to find the folder I need to drop it into. It's very inconvenient.
All I would like to have is the ability to copy and paste layers. So I would select layer, CMD+C, then select the folder I want to paste that into and hit CMD+V.

Is this doable with AppleScript? If so, can anyone write one applescript for copy and another one for paste? I can then use Keyboard Maestro to trigger it.

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Posted 9 years ago

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Marc Edwards

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I have the exact same issue.

I don't think this is easily solvable with scripting, but I could be wrong. I find using groups (folders) can help shorten the distance you have to move layers, but only in some cases.

So your suggestion is: if nothing is selected on the canvas, use command-x, c, v to cut, copy and paste layers? I like it.

Sort of related: I use command-J to dupe single layers, but it doesn't work for groups or when more than one layer is selected. If we had cut, copy and paste for layers, it'd be great if it worked on single layers, multiple layers and groups.

Command-J to dupe anything:
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David Jensen

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This can easily be scripted. You couldn't use CMD-C or CMD-V, though.
I'll see what I can put together.
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David Jensen

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Here are some quick copy and paste scripts. Just select the layers you want to copy, run the first script, select the layer you want to paste above, and run the second script.

It won't work if you copy, adjust layer order, then paste. Also, it currently doesn't allow you to do more than one paste if you paste below the layers that were copied (edit: you can just run the first script again immediately after the first)

I got most of the code from
Copy Layers
Paste Layers
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Haim Azoulay

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There is a solution but only for copy\paste layers from one document to another.
This is not intuitive at all! but as far as it goes, I guess photoshop stuff didn't pulled this through yet.

The solution :

A. Select the layers you want to copy
B. Right Click and choose : "Duplicate layers"
C. At the pop up window - Under "Destination" select the document you want to duplicate to and hit "OK"

The layers will be pasted at the top of the layer panel in the desired document.

Hope it helped you guys..
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Photoshop Team,
Please integrate this feature into CS6. This is needed badly. All other alternatives are not intuitive, especially the "duplicate layers" feature.
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Ambient Hack

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Add ctrl-c & ctrl-v support for layers and layer groups in Layers panel

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Add ctrl-c & ctrl-v support for layers and layer groups in Layers panel.


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Would be great! Also concerning the working with different files.

If one could copy layers in one file and paste it in another would be great. Works enough convenient with the move tool but could be even more intuitive with copy/paste.

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I suggested this exact feature back in 2009 and it stirred up a heated debate.

Anyway, it's nice to hear others in the community seek the same feature.
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Francois Di Paolo

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In PS you can cut, copy and paste pixel data between documents, but not layers, folders or smart objects.

This creates an annoying workflow where you have to drag the smart object between documents, which is even more cumbersome if you work within tabs.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Photoshop: Enable copying and pasting of layers and smart objects via the clipboard..
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Anything to assist in organizing the Layers Panels is great!

The ability to quickly relocate layers and layer groups elsewhere in the Layers Panel quickly and efficiently would be a very welcome benefit.

When you're working in a doc with tons of layers, the Layers Panel just becomes your whole world. Keeping it under control can be difficult.

Like many here, I've wanted this for a LONG time.

---> If you want this feature please voice your opinion here, and click the big +1 button in 1st post so it gets more attention.


Here's a little out of the box thinking for you:

First of all, imagine this - the Layers Panel is a big looooong filing drawer. Ya know, the type with the little racks that have numerous filing folders that can slide back and forth. And each sliding folder has nested files and folders (or layers and layer groups) inside each of them, multiple levels deep perhaps. How does a secretary relocate a file or folder? She simply plucks one out and puts in another slot. Simple. Because she can see BOTH the file she wants to move and also where she's going to put it.
---- Now how great would it be if you could see all files/folders simultaneously and could therefore designate a layer to move and also designate where you want it to move TO, at the same time?
---- Here's one idea: Layers Panel Unfold Mode - you select your layers to move then somehow enter a mode where your Layers Panel is "unfolded" into multiple columns displaying it's whole contents at once, on your screen. You can easily drag layers anywhere you want. If your display isn't large enough to display your entire Layers Panel's content you may be able to drag your cursor into the far left or right and make the unfolded Layers Panel pan left or right until you see what where you want to go. Then maybe hit Escape to exit this special unfolded Layers Panel mode.
And hovering a layer over a collapsed layer group for one second ought to expand it (vice versa to collapse an expanded layer group).

I'd use it.
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Harel Weingarten

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Photoshop: Copy and Paste multiply layers,including styles, between documents.
And also a copy and paste support, between ALL CS software.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Photoshop: Copy and Paste multiply layers,including styles, between documents..
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Sandeep Thakur

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No Scripting can do better than Adobe...

Adobe Please implement this feature in Photoshop.... This will make life so much easier.....
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Would be great to be able to copy cut layers within the layers palette vs. moving them. When you work with multiple folders within one document this process becomes super tedious.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Copy or Copy Cut Layers for moving layers around easier.
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Ryan Allen

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
I wish you could copy layers to the clipboard.

I would love if Photoshop allowed you to copy / paste a layer. I know you can duplicate a layer and even duplicate one into another file, but every time I need to move a layer across files I always find myself wishing I could quickly command + C (to the clipboard) and command + V it, rather than using the slow mouse controls.
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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Copy Layers in Photoshop to Clipboard.

I like the way Photoshop can duplicate layers to another open document.
But once in a while, I want to copy a layer to the clipboard, just like other apps can copy a selection to the clipboard.

Why ain't this possible?

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It's painful how much ROI this feature request poses, yet it doesn't happen. Heck, it's nearly a JDI feature!

What I mean is how useful it would be VS the effort to implement it.
The functionality to make it happen is already in - You can already duplicate a layer to other docs and you can even ALT+DRAG a layer in the Layers Panel to copy and move it somewhere else at the same time, but you have to manually drag it up or down and force the Layers Panel to auto-scroll while holding the mouse and hovering awkwardly over where you want to go. Very sluggish and frustrating.

Implement copy/cut and pasting of layers.
See my implementation idea, 5 posts ago; one year ago.
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Mako Tako

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I would also go a +1 for this feature.

We need a copy/cut/paste feature like Fireworks and Illustrator for layers panel where a user can copy/cut/paste layers by just selecting a layer or multiple layers (layers can contain anything like text, live shape, a bitmap image etc etc).

Com'on Adobe PS people ... this is 2014 ... Do something about this feature.
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Jason Corder

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++++1 on getting copy/paste layers/groups/smart objects easily between documents with keyboard commands(and paste above the selected layer/group/smart object for that matter) - this would be a HUGE help for us UI artists who have to deal with moving/organizing 300+ layers all the time in Photoshop.

Copying/Pasting groups/layers between documents and or pasting them right above the selected layer has been available in Fireworks since forever.

Fireworks is now owned by Adobe so why can't this functionality be migrated over into Photoshop? It's now 2015 Adobe, just copy/paste the code between apps, right? ;)
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Alexander Tazh

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Yeah, I want the copy/paste functionality mostly for copying/pasting layers and groups between DIFFERENT documents. Current workflow of dragging them from one document to another is pain.
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Maido Hollo

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The question is there for quite a while I can see, I really can't understand why hasn't it already happened, that I could copy and paste layers in layer panel (above selected layer). It would make the workflow so much less annoying....can't be that hard?
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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Allow Copy/Paste of Layers.

I'm not alone in wanting the ability to copy and paste layer information; however, I have an idea that should work without killing anyone else's workflow.

Just let me right-click on a layer in the layers panel and have an option to "Copy To Clipboard." The layer could also be a layer group, which is why "Copy To Clipboard" covers both scenarios. This should copy all layer information with adjustment layers, layer masks—everything under the tree structure of the layer group, including that which exceeds document bounds!

It would also be great if a keyboard shortcut could be mapped to this functionality.

If this is still an unacceptable feature, can we at least mark the layer as a source layer, in some way? So that we can "Paste from source layer" or something to this effect?

Even better if the source layer or copied layer could be pasted into other applications, which is why the clipboard method is most appealing to me.

Really, I don't like the source layer method so much, as it prevents the ability to "Cut". I'm just trying to compromise here. We need something!
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Official Response
Copy and Paste Layers is now supported in Photoshop CC. Details here: