Why can I not Copy and Paste in Photoshop?

  • 1
  • Idea
  • Updated 2 years ago
There are a few fundamental differences that Photoshop has from the other software that Adobe provides. I got so frustrated with the counterintuitive user experience that I started using Illustrator almost exclusively. (Forgive me for being dramatic. I just want you to know the parts of this software that do not make sense or are frustrating to deal with.)
  • How come you can't 'Command-C': COPY and/or 'Command-P': PASTE something in Photoshop?

    Why must I 'right click+duplicate' each layer? Why is the language completely different from all other software in the world.

    I'm sure that there is a history in regards to how it got to where it is now, but to be honest - whatever that reason might be - it's stupid. 
  • When you go to 'File' > 'Export' > 'Save for Web (Legacy)' - A new box pops up...

    The 'Save As...' button and the 'Done' button NEED TO BE SWITCHED!

    I might be wrong about this, but dang... 
  • Can 'Command-Z' just remain as Undo....forever? Why does it switch back and forth between Undo and Redo?
Thank you for listening to me. I hope this is helpful. If anything it was a tad therapeutic. Thank you.
Photo of NL


  • 1 Post
  • 0 Reply Likes
  • frustrated

Posted 2 years ago

  • 1
Photo of Creative Catalyst

Creative Catalyst

  • 91 Posts
  • 32 Reply Likes
There is a very good reason copy and paste doesn't function the same in PS as it does in other programs. It's not "stupid". It's functional. When performing more advanced techniques and working with larger documents, this becomes very apparent.

That being said, if you do want to copy the contents of a layer, you can copy and paste using the traditional Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V keyboard shortcuts. However, you must tell Photoshop what you want to copy. Therefore, you must make a selection. If you want to copy all of the pixels of a layer, simple Select All or Ctrl+A to create a selection of all of the pixels on the canvas. Then press Ctrl+C and V to copy/paste.

However, I find it much easier to just use the Ctrl+J keyboard shortcut to duplicate layers.

As for the Ctrl+Z issue, there is a big difference between Undo and Step-Back. Undo simply undoes the last action, so if you press Ctrl+Z twice, the first time it undoes whatever action was last, and the second time it undoes the undo since that was the next last action. To go back several actions, simple use the Ctrl+Alt+Z keyboard shortcut. 
Photo of Cristen Gillespie

Cristen Gillespie

  • 1538 Posts
  • 474 Reply Likes
> Thank you for listening to me. I hope this is helpful. If anything it was a tad therapeutic. Thank you.>

You know what? I often feel the same as you, only I most often feel why aren't those apps working the way Photoshop does? <BG>  Was the Cmd-P inadvertent on your part, or is there an app that actually uses Cmd/Ctrl-P for Paste instead of Print? You have to select something to copy it pretty much in any app, including AI. But again, as Creative Catalyst says, Cmd-J is very quick for copying all the contents of one layer to a new layer—the command even makes the layer for you. Unfortunately, I keep trying to use it in other apps. That's how much sense it makes that all apps should behave that way.

I know it's frustrating when you're used to shortcuts from other apps, but you do get to create your own custom shortcuts. For example, like you, I don't want the toggle Undo function very often, where it only undoes one thing and then redoes it. Sometimes that's great, but not that often for me. 

So I made Step Backward in History Cmd-Z, Step Forwards Cmd-Shift-Z, and had Undo be simply F1. Why is that different from other apps, you ask? Not just to confuse you. The History panel is vastly superior to clicking Cmd-Z over and over and over for multiple undos. So Undo became a mere toggle. I've begged for a history panel in AI, but so far, they've managed not to listen to me.

The thing is, you need to learn what the shortcuts in PS do, then customize them to suit you. I use Cmd-Shift-A to deselect, as I would in AI, instead of Cmd-D, which is something altogether different in both AI and ID. It was easier for me to keep it all straight going from one app to another.  I tried for years to live with the difference between the apps, and got as frustrated as you as I constantly used the wrong shortcut in one app or another, until someone kindly suggested I fix the problem by choosing one and customizing my apps to coordinate between them. This works for a lot of the shortcuts that seem to make no sense the way they are.  Adobe gave us the means to fix it for ourselves without screwing up everyone else who doesn't agree with us.  '-}

At least when another Adobe app lets us customize our shortcuts at all—looking at you, Lightroom and Bridge.<sigh>