P: How did I get a flattened PSD after saving PDF?

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 22, 2011 Sep 22, 2011

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So I'm not going to rage. I really want to. But I won't. I'm using Photoshop CS 5.5 (Windows). I was on the sixth version of a high fidelity Website mockup. The client asked that I provide them the design in PDF format. So from within the .PSD file, I select "Save As" and choose PDF as the format. I complete the PDF wizard and all seemed good.

No. Apparently, when you save as a PDF, it turns the PSD file you actively have open into a PDF? I noticed that the file type changed to PDF from PSD on the tab. "That's stupid," I thought. "I'll just change it back to a PSD, since I've made a few modifications since I saved it last."

You know, in Dreamweaver when you execute a "Save As", it opens the new file in its own tab. Just a thought.

Maybe my next choice was wrong, but it seemed instinctive to me. I decided to "Save As" again, but this time as a PSD file. I still had my layers in tact, so I didn't think there would be a problem.

I close out the file. When I open the PSD file back up just a few minutes ago, it's COMPLETELY FLATTENED. GONE. MY WORK IS GONE. Awesome. Thank you.

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Adobe Employee , Jan 26, 2012 Jan 26, 2012
I think there is some user confusion here. When you have a layered PSD, then choose File>Save As... and select PDF, and UN-check "Preserving Photoshop Edibility" the open file is not flattened at that point. If you go back to the File menu, Save is disabled. You have to choose "Save As..." When you do, the format is set to Photoshop PDF (Note that Save: "Layers" is unchecked with a ! warning symbol): If I change the Format pop-up to "Photoshop" note that Save: "Layers" is stil...

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72 Comments
Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 20, 2018 Feb 20, 2018

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This is user error, plain and simple. When you Save As in pretty much any program, your original file IS NOT SAVED. Its a NEW file, with a new name, possibly in a new format.

The fix is easy. Save first, THEN Save As, then close the NEW file and reopen the old one.

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LEGEND ,
Feb 21, 2018 Feb 21, 2018

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When the program make people do an error because a lack of logic and congruence can we really say it's an user error ???
Save in TIFF with no layers then in PSD. All layers will be safe !
Save in any other format than PDF then in PSD. All layers are safe !
Save a PDF in InDesign or Illustrator then save in native format. Again,
all layers will be safe !

As photoshop uncheck the layers box of the psd save menu when we save in pdf,
and there's no logic to do that, and no one never want to save in psd with no layers,
can we really say this is an user error ???

Ton of people will loose precious works if they don't change this issue.
Adobe must think about those people !!!
At least if they make a caution message the moment we save in psd in this particular situation.

Also, they must make their programs the fastest and unstressed.
Your solution to save take time. When we have a lot of works to do fast,
we really want to save in any format with just a single click ! Really it helps !
It's even faster to re-check the layers box then save in psd. But it's something
we have to do and remember anytime. it's really stressing.

So i really hope they could understand what it change and make an update ! There's no reason to stress the users and make their work more difficult and stressing ! Their job is just the opposite if they want to continue to make the best program !
 

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LEGEND ,
Feb 21, 2018 Feb 21, 2018

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RackMultipart2018022187765wj9z-fa54180e-0e3a-4591-91d5-feb172d79226-1767662821.jpg

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New Here ,
Feb 21, 2018 Feb 21, 2018

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User errors happen because of bad user experience and poor interface design. So, even if (and I say "if" begrudgingly) this is a user error, the fact that many people over the years have felt so passionate about this topic means that it is still a problem that needs to be addressed to improve customer satisfaction.

Either way, it is a problem I hope Adobe examines in more detail soon.

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Guide ,
Feb 21, 2018 Feb 21, 2018

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User errors also happen when people don't take the time to understand how a process works. 

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Adobe Employee ,
Feb 21, 2018 Feb 21, 2018

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I've created a story internally for our engineers to review this experience to see if there's something we can do to prevent this mistake.

Senior Product Manager - Customer Advocacy - Digital Imaging

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LEGEND ,
Aug 24, 2018 Aug 24, 2018

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Nothing new about this ? 
This is very stressing every time i have to save in pdf even if i know the tricks.
Why don't you ear the complains of your users ??? 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 24, 2018 Aug 24, 2018

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Has something along those lined ever gone wrong when you checked »As a copy« when saving the pdf? 

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LEGEND ,
Aug 29, 2018 Aug 29, 2018

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So i must do more works because adobe don't want to do it for all user ? 
Thousand and thousand click, no one would never forget to click, and all layers will be lost again.. 
Don't we use programs to work faster ?)

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 29, 2018 Aug 29, 2018

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If by »do more works« you mean click the pertinent field/s in a dialog window then the question appears nonsensical ... of course you need to specify what Photoshop is to do or how would you expect Photoshop to operate without user input? 

Feel free to employ the automation options Photoshop offers, Scripting in particular might help you streamline this process. 

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LEGEND ,
Aug 30, 2018 Aug 30, 2018

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Good idea thanks, an action works fine. 
I was thinking that saving and loading could sometime make problem in action,
but this works fine. So easy and i was not thinking of it !

But i continue to think that adobe must change the way pdf is saved.
Most people want to always save pdf with no layers, and psd with it.
Why not to make it by default save as copy for pdf ? 

I always try when someone have to works after me on something, to make it the most easy for him. Clear and easy. The problem will continue to occurs for new users but you save me !)

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 30, 2018 Aug 30, 2018

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Actually I meant Scripts in the sense of a JavaScript (or VB or AppleScript) that Photoshop can run and which should provide a little more leeway than Actions. 
But if an Action works satisfactory, so much the better. 

The number of people who have suffered from this issue seems to indicate that Adobe has provided, well, at least an easily misunderstood dialog/interface. 
And it would certainly be good if they found a way to improve it ... but I expect the Photoshop team has a lot of »fish to fry« and only a limited number of »burners«. 

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Explorer ,
Mar 19, 2019 Mar 19, 2019

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Photoshop CC automatically flattens my layered files. I save the psd file, flatten it and 'save as' jpg/tiff whatever I need. When I reopen the psd file, it is flattened. At first I thought I used saved and not "saved as", but I have subsequently done 4 tests with the same outcome. Can someone please help?

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New Here ,
Mar 19, 2019 Mar 19, 2019

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Don't flatten. Just choose JPG and photoshop will automatically save as a copy and the jpg will be of course flattened. 

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LEGEND ,
Mar 19, 2019 Mar 19, 2019

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I only saved my image as a PDF so when I go back to Photoshop I cant edit it. Is there anyway I can still edit all the layers and everything or is it permanently gone?

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LEGEND ,
Mar 19, 2019 Mar 19, 2019

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1. Save a layered document as a pdf WITHOUT LAYERS (common for print)
2. Save the same document as psd, and "layers" are unchecked by default.

This has resulted twice in me losing hours of work by accidentally saving a flattened PSD.

Anytime a PSD is saved it should [by default] include the layers; no matter what I chose to do the last time I saved.

How often would you purposely save a flattened PSD? Never, so why would it EVER be a default?

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LEGEND ,
Mar 19, 2019 Mar 19, 2019

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I often save as a pdf and uncheck the option to preserve photoshop editing capabilities so that I can send the pdf via email easily and it flattens the layers which is fine - lets say I save the file as "test". I still have that save file open in photoshop - then I hit save as and save it as a different file name ie. "test-editable" and check the option for preserve photoshop editing capabilities. 

Then if I open the test-editable doc the layers have all been flattened

But if I go to close photoshop, I get message saying The adobe document C:/users\...\test.pdf has not been saved completely because the current file format does not support all the features of your document.... 

and you would think that doesn't matter because its referring to the file that i unchecked preserve on purpose. 

and if I then hit the yes option to save with layers it will let me save as editable. 

Just seems like a bug that happens if you initially save as and don't preserve the layers then the next time you save as and its not pre-ticked it wot save as an editable file even if you do check the box beside preserve.

This happens every time I save a file and uncheck preserve and then later save as and tick preserve. 

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Explorer ,
Mar 19, 2019 Mar 19, 2019

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You loose all layers when doing the following:
- save a multilayer PSD file as Photoshop PDF without the option Preserve Photoshop Editing Capabilities
- you still see all layers
- save the file as Photoshop PSD
- close the file and open the just saved PSD file -> only one layer exists even though all layers were visible at the time the file was saved!!!!

When saving the PSD, you have to check the [ ] Layers box in the Save As dialog. It's apparently being cleared when the file is being saved as a PDF.

--> The box should not be cleared.
also see the following discussion: http://forums.adobe.com/message/37867...

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LEGEND ,
Apr 22, 2019 Apr 22, 2019

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Hi- as stated above I agree with those outraged by this error that could easily be fixed with a better error message window, or if the Layers [] box was ALWAYS automatically checked when saving a PSD- i think this is the most logical choice. 

As a student, I often save unpreserved PDFs to send via emails to have them printed at my school. However, this allows a user to STILL work as if the layers are there after you save. You could put countless hours into that file, save multiple versions even, but if you've previously saved as a PDF and miss the Layers [] box, you're simply out of luck. As Amadea Erhard notes above, you ONLY see the merged layer effect after you have saved, closed, and reopened the file (that is then unrecoverable in every sense). 

Why is the Adobe engineering team so against having Layers [] automatically checked when saving a PSD file? I see threads that go back 8+ years with people having this issue, and am genuinely wondering if the reluctance is because this is useful in other contexts. It makes more sense to me that users who want to save flattened versions of PSD files will intentionally do so, since PSDs are expected to be manipulated and flattened file formats like PNG and JPEG are readily available for those who want to save flattened versions. I do not think it should be on the user, who is actively saving PSDs but misses a small check box that renders their work ultimately uneditable, but rather be on those intentionally saving flat PSDs to uncheck the box or flatten their image in the Layer>Flatten Image panel. Like if someone wants to save a flattened PSD, can't they just merge layers and then save?

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LEGEND ,
Apr 22, 2019 Apr 22, 2019

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I make many statements such as "It makes the most sense to me" and "this seems most logical" however I know I'm not an engineer of this software. It's likely the fix is much more difficult than I make it out to be. But considering Adobe is such a huge company, and pulls in so much money for their software, I believe it's definitely worth fixing so that its user base is getting the most out of such expensive software? That's why I'm trying to understand the downsides of implementing this function.

I just think it's really sucky to lose so much work over such an easily-missed UI checkbox 😞

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New Here ,
Dec 04, 2019 Dec 04, 2019

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Saving as a PDF window used to have the box checked for "save as copy" by default... now its not. This makes me check it every time manually.... and I forget half the time. I save out a pdf proof... continues working on the file, save etc. then when I come back my psd is flattened.

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LEGEND ,
Feb 26, 2021 Feb 26, 2021

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LATEST

@JeffreyTranberry god bless u

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