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Layers: Copy, Cut and Paste

May 5, 2009 6:27 PM

Another feature I'm used to that I just can't live without (coming from a Corel PHOTO-PAINT background), is the ability to copy or cut a layer with CTRL+C or CTRL+X. In Photoshop, you first have to CTRL+click the layer to select its transparency then CTRL+C to copy the layer, but I'll tell you why this is not ideal. First off, it's one more step that's totally unnecessary. Secondly, sometimes I want to cut the layer completely, which means store the entire layer to the clipboard and delete it in the same process. That way, I can just paste it right back in my document if I want or I can select a different document and just paste it there. I realize you can drag and drop, but adding this feature wouldn't ruin any existing functionality and it just makes sense!

 

To clarify, my request is that if no mask is selected and somebody hits CTRL+C or CTRL+X that it copies or cuts the entire layer, along with any layer masks attached to it.

 

Thanks for listening

 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 5, 2009 11:13 PM   in reply to sfjedi

    Just a hint: Selecting a Layer’s transparency prior to copying would result in shrinking soft edges, so Select All (command-A) might be a better idea in this case.

     
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    May 6, 2009 6:59 AM   in reply to sfjedi

    Just drag the layer to the New Layer button on your Layers palette. Or give Duplicate Layer a keyboard shortcut you like.

     

    My point: your feature exists in Photoshop already.

     

    My real point: the workflow in PS is not the same as in Photo-paint. Get over it.

     
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    May 6, 2009 8:28 AM   in reply to harry teasley

    Jed - here are some ways in Photoshop to do the same as you want "copy and paste" layers…

     

    1 Using the move tool (V key) Option DRAGGING layers duplicates them - this works both within the document window OR in the layers panel. Simply option dragging a layer up or down in the layers panel gives you a duplicate.

     

    2 Command J at any time duplicates layers

     

    3 Keyboard shortcuts to duplicate layers can be assigned either with the keyboard shortcuts or by using ACTIONS with function keys

     

    4 dragging down to the new layer icon is actually the slowest available way in photoshop to duplicate layers

     

    5 Duplicating layers is available from either the layers panel drop down menu, OR from Layer/Duplicate layer

     

    Copy and paste in Photoshop are more powerful - this clipboard can include pixel content, text, layer styles - its much more complex than Photopaint and hence much more powerful. The simpler ways I've detailed above, are much better ways, get used to them.

     
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    May 6, 2009 4:31 PM   in reply to sfjedi

    sfjedi wrote:

     

    I'm just trying to make it better guys. None of the features I've requested will hurt Photoshop. They can only make it better.

     

    For values of "better" that include "different in ways that will anger every experienced PS user".

     
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    May 6, 2009 7:07 PM   in reply to sfjedi

    I don't want Ctrl-C or Ctrl-X to do something when I'm not expecting them to. Ctrl-C and Ctrl-X work on active selections: that's what I expect, that's what every application I use does. No application I use that uses layers uses Ctrl-C and Ctrl-X to operate on the layer when nothing is actively selected (and that's more than just PS, in case you think I'm being funny).

     

    I would say that Photo-paint is defying common UI convention in this way, and that PS is more predictable. And since you can get the ultimate end you want, either with Duplicate Layer (via any one of a few ways) or by dragging a layer into an open document, you do in fact have what you want, just just don't have your idiosyncratic way of doing it. Learn that your way is not the only good way.

     
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    May 7, 2009 4:44 AM   in reply to sfjedi

    You clearly don't understand the purpose of the forum: it's a place to discuss requests. I haven't asked you to stop posting, or be quiet. I've commented on the general lack of quality of several of your requests, in that the general theme is, "Make it like the thing I already know!" My ability to mask your requests from Adobe must be some sort of strange power I was unaware I had.

     

    By all means, keep talking.

     
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    May 7, 2009 7:06 AM   in reply to sfjedi

    Jed. The thing is this -  what you are asking would actually be a move backwards for Photoshop, not an improvement. As I tried to tell you before, copying and pasting deals with CONTENT, not layer structure elements. This is very fundamental to Photoshop. The clipboard has to be used to hold content, not superficial interface things or layer structure. For good reason, and its the same in most high-end applications because it is best this way.

     

    The layers panel, its ease of use - the ways to duplicate, restructure and organise are extremely well designed at present. Although word on the street has it, that some people are looking to change this.

     

    Practically, the keyboard shortcuts for copy and paste (command C followed by Command V) are more complex than a simple command J or Option drag, anyway. 

     
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    May 7, 2009 12:05 PM   in reply to sfjedi

    select the layer you want to copy, go to Layer->Duplicate and select the document in which you want to paste it

     
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    May 7, 2009 12:43 PM   in reply to sfjedi

    Again Jed, you make a strong argument. I think those are fair points and to be honest, in the end, its a reasonable enough request.

     

    Have to say that I personally am not so sure that copying and pasting entire layer structures, including all attached masks will really work. Because clipboard on high res files could then be enormous, equivalent to entire file sizes. It would mean a major rearrangement of the way that Photoshops clipboard is structured at present I think. But its an idea

     
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    May 7, 2009 1:12 PM   in reply to sfjedi

    Layers are active, not selected. Why would, with nothing selected, Ctrl-C work on layers and not, say, brushes, when the brush palette is open? There's a difference between an active something and a selected something.

     

    You're willing to make this change because you like the behavior. It strikes me as creating inconsistent UI, which is almost always a very bad idea.

     
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    May 7, 2009 2:20 PM   in reply to sfjedi

    "Photoshop uses the word "selection" to define what really is a mask"  - no its a selection. Masks hide, or reveal, and in Photoshop are interchangeable with selections. You do really need to get your head out of Corel Photo-Paint, if you intend to make the swap to Photoshop. In terms of internal logic, Photoshop wins every time, and thats why the concept of clipboarding layer structures is going down so badly. Like Harry says, its not consistent.

     

    As I said, yours is certainly a reasonable suggestion, its just to be honest, not a particularly good one. Because it would create more inconsistencies and problems than it would solve, and not really deliver anything in return. That I think is our point

     
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    May 7, 2009 5:28 PM   in reply to sfjedi

    sfjedi wrote:

    Really? Is that why Photoshop has a "Quick Mask Mode"?

     

    It's a mask! It might ALSO be a selection, but it is most definitely a mask.

    No, it's a selection. There's a special mode to permit it to behave like a mask, for the purposes of manipulating it with painting tools. But it's a selection. Masks are masks.

     

    Layers remain active, even though there's a selection as well. That lets you know there's a difference between an active thing and a selected thing.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 8, 2009 2:37 PM   in reply to sfjedi

    Photoshop basics lesson 101: You obviously haven't even dicovered layer masks Jed? Thats what masking means in Photoshop - as I tried to say before, hiding or revealing.

     

    In Photoshop you can have areas masked and selected at the same time. Masks (either raster or VECTOR masks), can embedded within each other. Selections (and masks of course) can be swapped with each other, and if necessary manipulated completely independant of content. Content can also be raster or vector, and is completely separate to masks.

     
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    May 9, 2009 2:22 PM   in reply to sfjedi

    Yes shift click on your layer mask to disable it. Its still there, just invisible

     
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    May 8, 2009 3:21 PM   in reply to sfjedi

    Perhaps something along these lines might be more in order Jed.

     

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Photoshop-CS4-Bible-Stacy-Cates/dp/0470345179 - a starting point at least

     
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    May 9, 2009 2:41 PM   in reply to sfjedi

    Yep, again there's a photoshop solution that is quicker, and doesn't even require multiple keyboard shortcuts. You tile the documents, and SHIFT drag the layer set, from the correct source document into each. Tiling is easily achieved from the Application frame.

     

    And there's an even better way - potentially CHANGEABLE content like this should ideally be set up as Smart Object. In this way its possible to modify the Smart Object, using a command called "Replace Content…". This Replace Content can be set up to use a separate external file, and is Actionable meaning that in the press of a single key you can update your content file. So a single change to any element of yoru file can then be executed on all your documents with the press of a single key. Its also possible using this method, to have muliple instances  of it in your document.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 30, 2009 6:07 AM   in reply to sfjedi

    Hello, I know it's two weeks since last post. But the discussion was very fascinating to me, because like Jed I'm a user of Photopaint and Photoshop.

     

    Jed is mostly right and Reynolds, Harry ect. would better understand if they ever had worked with Corel Photopaint. [Off topic: Let's compare Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw, the result would be a funny discussion too]

     

    In Photopaint the pixels on a layer are automatically selected if you click on them with the move tool, there's no need of  "marching ants" or Ctrl-Click. Using one of the Photopaint masking tools you will create a mask, with some selection-like qualities. Oh, I remember the days - I often struggled with these and other differences!

     

    Unlike Jed I love the "Ctrl-D" for Deselect far better than the "Ctrl-R" in Photopaint, but I miss the Ctrl-D of Photopaint for "Duplicate" and hate the Ctrl-J of Photoshop, because I almost can't reach the J key with my forefinger. So you have to live with compromises. :-)

     

    miss_marple

     

    PS: If you come from Photoshop or Photopaint and be forced by someone to work with PhotoImpact (previously owned by Ulead, now by Corel) you instantly would go incurably crazy within one hour.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 5, 2009 9:48 PM   in reply to sfjedi

    I have the impression that, in permitting the copy/cut of layers the way you propose, it would create an interface paradox for Photoshop.

     

    The paradox would be: if we allow that to happen, so should we also permit copying/cutting of channels, styles, presets, history states, swatches & etc?

    Weird enough (come to think of it), it works with paths, though.... Well, maybe thats what's stopping them from applying this feature to the layers. Try this: open both palettes, paths and layers. Create an image with a layer and a path. Then select the layer in the palette. Then select a path in the palette. Copy (or Cut). There it goes: the feature you want, but in the wrong palette ;-) Easy does paths.... but then again, paths aren't as troublesome as pixels....

     

    As I see things, basically (in PS and AI, dunno 'bout other apps), items that appear inside the palletes are off-limits for common OS operations like Copy/Cut/Paste. For such operations, you'd use the corresponding palette menu.

     

    I guess it has something to do with keeping the whole UI uniform, without "rebel palettes behaving differently from others" (well, we already have one: paths! Maybe thay don't want another?) And also, it keeps things intuitive and simple. Think about it: If you have so many possible recipients for the contents on the clipboard, visual hinting for the place where you actually want to put it becomes totally troublesome (imagine someone with 3 monitors, 2 of them filled with open PS palletes:

    "Allright, I want to paste this thingie I got in the clipboard.....

    ...

    hummmm......

    (eyes desperately scanning the monitors and neck pain mounting....)

    ...ah! gotcha, here it goes

    <CMD+V>

    Shucks! Dropped in the wrong place?!?!? Argh!

    ....<snif!>..."

     

    THAT would be a hassle. I don't want that. It's not always that I know what's in the clipboard (I remember AI had a feature like that, kind'a "Show Clipboard Contents" - (Hey, it's another request to make'em devs!)

    --------------------

    On a different topic:

    Some while ago, I was struggling to delete some 30+ masks I had in this PS doc of mine. Man, HOW I WISHED to be able to CMD-select all those channels and delete'em all in one whoop. At that time, I got really pissed and wrote a feature request (I guess it was for CS2) about multiple channel deletion in the channels palette. After some ranting I cooled down and started thinking straight, so I figured: if they don't put auxiliary channels on a separate palette, or don't make clear the separation between color channels and auxiliary channels, we're never going to be able to delete multiple channels, 'cos doing that just don't make sense (you can select multiple channels, but can't delete them. Something to do with color channels? Guess it would be weird, but don't know for certain as to why. Would some Photoshop-Guru enlighten us?

    --------------------

    Reading carefully your posts, I understand that you don't like to shuffle windows. So here's a tip, in case the devs won't listen to you:

    Create a new Action and assign a function key (i.e. F2) to it.

    On the Actions Palette, select it and, on the Actions Palette Menu, assign a menu item to the action. Choose "Layer>Duplicate Layer..." Then you can select a layer or a group (works with both), hit F2 and then choose the destination of the duplication among all open documents. You can even create a new doc containing only the duplication's content.

    It's not as you'd like, but quite close to it.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 16, 2010 9:32 AM   in reply to sfjedi

    Hello All,

     

    Related issue.

    I can't copy a layer.

    Any layer from one document.

    I can select the layer, and drag it into another PS doc.

    But I can't "Copy" it. The Copy option on the edit menu is grayed out.

    What's up? How do I get it so that copy is no longer grayed out??

     

    I'm ultimately trying to copy layers into Dreamweaver. But the hold up is being able to copy something from Photoshop, and right now that's seems to be blocked some how.

     

    Thanks,

     

    Bertrum

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 16, 2010 9:38 AM   in reply to Bert Adams

    I guess You must perform Select All (command-A) or any Select for that.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 16, 2010 10:40 AM   in reply to Bert Adams

    Wow, getting email updates for ressurected aluminum zombie threads from beneath the hollow Earth.

     

    Bert, read the thread, and you'll find your issue was covered: it was, in fact, the purpose of the thread. The whole discussion revolves around why things don't behave the way you're expecting them to behave.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 16, 2010 11:39 AM   in reply to harry teasley

    Hello Harry,

     

    OK, I've read this whole post over (Twice), and I can't find the answer to how I'm supposed to be able to copy a layer from Photoshop. I can drag a layer into another Photoshop doc, but can't "Copy" it. (Edit>Copy, Control C, etc).

    Purpose is to copy a layer into Dreamweaver. All the books say this should work. Only problem is that I can't copy a layer from a Photoshop Doc. I can "Select" it by clicking on the layer, (It highlights).

     

    What is the solution to this?

    Why can't a layer be copied?, or what need to happen to this PS doc to make it so layers can be copied??

    Is there some other way that a single layer needs to be selected?

     

    Thanks,

     

    Bert

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 16, 2010 11:55 AM   in reply to Bert Adams

    You need to read more carefully. You'll find several posts that outline the difference between an "active" object and a "selected" object. Layers can be active, but not selected. Their contents can be selected.

     

    This really couldn't be clearer, if you read the thread.

     
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