How to Copy & Paste a Layer in Photoshop CS4


Adobe Photoshop is one of the world's most renowned graphics editing applications, and anyone who has spent time working in it is familiar with its Layers feature. Layers allow you to edit portions of a Photoshop document independently, as though it was composed of a stack of transparent sheets with part of the overall image printed on each. This feature is powerful, but it also makes working in Photoshop more complex than working with nonlayer-based applications. Even simply copying and pasting a layer can be confusing, as the standard copy-paste procedure does not copy over layer styles and other important information. Fortunately, there is a way around this problem.

  • Open the Photoshop document in which you want to copy and paste a layer.

  • Select the layer you want to copy by clicking on it in the Layers window.

  • Right-click on the layer's name. This opens a contextual menu of items relating specifically to the selected layer.

  • Click the "Duplicate Layer" option from the contextual menu.

  • Name the new version of the layer by entering the new name in the first text field in the window that pops up. Be sure to name it something distinct from the name of the original layer so that they are easy for you to tell apart. Alternately, you can leave it with the default name of "(Original Layer) Copy."

  • Select a destination for the new copy of the layer from the drop-down menu in the window. You can duplicate the layer as a new layer in the same document, use it as a new layer in any other Photoshop document you currently have open or use it as the first layer of a new document. If you duplicate the layer into a new document, you can also name the new document by entering the name into the second text field in the window.

  • Click "OK." Photoshop duplicates the entire layer, including any layer effects or styles, to the destination you specified.

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