PHOTOSHOP - Undo doesn't undo 'edit contents' of externally linked smart object file

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  • Problem
  • Updated 3 years ago
  • Not a Problem
  • (Edited)
If I double click a linked smart object to edit it, edit it and close it, then undo, the edits I made to the linked smart object won't be undone.

I realise this is an implementation choice, but personally I'd prefer it if undoing 'edit contents' of a linked object did undo any edits I had made.
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showerheadsuk

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Posted 3 years ago

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Chris Cox

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That's not an implementation choice, that's forced by the fact that you used an external link.

You have a parent document A, which references another file on disk B. You modify B and close it -- Photoshop has no record of the previous state of file B. Then you undo the update of file B in parent file A, which undoes the visible changes in A, but cannot change file B.

If the child document were embedded, then Photoshop would have a record of the previous state of the file, and be able to revert back to that previous state.

But because you chose to use an external link, Photoshop cannot revert that external file, because it has no idea what the previous state of the file was.
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showerheadsuk

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But Photoshop could have a record of the previous state of file B.

I guess the way it works at the moment is that when you open document A, it fetches document B and generates a raster image of it, inserts this into document A in place of document B.

What could happen instead is that when you open document A, it fetches document B and embeds it as a smart object (or just stores a copy of it somewhere). When document B is edited, document B is fetched freshly, as it is now using linked objects. When document A is saved, it is saved with only the links, as it is now.

The difference would be that while document A is opened, there is also the embedded / copied version(s) of document B that it can go back to when stepping back in the history.
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Chris Cox

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No, it could not realistically have a record of an externally linked file.
You could edit external files in any application, not just Photoshop. And Photoshop cannot keep around previous versions of every file it has ever edited. (because you could open the parent later).

Undoing an update in the parent document cannot and should not change the external file on disk.

And while you can choose to embed a file that is currently linked -- Photoshop should not do that automatically because it would break many common workflows (as well as drive designers insane by not behaving in any sane fashion).
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showerheadsuk

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I'm not suggesting it keep around copies of linked files forever, only while the parent document is open. It would be like a hybrid of the current linked and embedded options.

When you first open the file, it fetches the linked files and embeds them. It could also continue to poll / listen for events to detect if the original linked files are modified. Then when you close the file, it only saves the links in the file, and writes out the embedded objects to the original files (assuming they have been changed).