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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Community Beginner ,
Nov 07, 2013 Nov 07, 2013

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What version of PS are you using? I believe the latest versions of Photoshop (CS6+) have modified the Save As PDF wizard to prevent the PSD file from being converted into a flattened PDF file. But the issue still exists on CS5.5 and lower.

I know how you feel. I wanted to kick a puppy (or a developer) when I created this thread.

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LEGEND ,
Nov 07, 2013 Nov 07, 2013

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Hey Mason- Since you're the originator of this thread, I appreciate you saying hello. Yeah, it was 5.5. I was mind-crushingly frustrated last night. I am usually meticulous about saving many copies of work, and got sloppy last night. But even so, with some of the protections that ARE there, for this to be allowed... sheesh...

But lessons learned... Fixed or not in CS6, I will probably NEVER again save as PDF without first creating a new PSD expressly for the purpose of saving as PDFs.

And lastly, all venting and frustration aside, this is really brilliant software, and I'm grateful to the developers and community members who contribute to my ability to make a living doing something creative. 🙂

Peace!

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 28, 2013 Dec 28, 2013

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RB I am having the EXACT same issue word for word and it has NOTHING to do with user error or at least not in regards to "Layers" being unchecked. Mine is, was, and always will be checked. I've been using Photoshop for about 10 years now, doing this same exact action in the past has never yielded this problem even with different installs of CS6, but now on this new install of it I am getting this problem.
After some testing it is clear that it has to do with saving a psd as a pdf and unchecking "preserve editing capabilities" then wanting to resave the file as a PSD again. This is frustrating to say the least. I'm glad it happened on something I can recreate within half an hour but saddened to see there is no fix or a way of restoring a previous copy.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 06, 2014 Jun 06, 2014

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Jeffrey, how comes that a setting a user set for a given file format is applied to another one?
Wasn't there a setting to have "copy" added when "as a copy" is selected?
I'm posting here because another user complained of lost work on twitter because of this sequence of events.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 06, 2014 Jun 06, 2014

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The french user posted a step by step. Seems that there is no more warning icon next to the layers checkbox. http://imgur.com/a/OjhSI
Also, in this step of events, if one unchecks "layers" when saving the PDF, copy gets added to the filename. NOT for a PSD, or not when layers gets unchecked by the fact that the preserve editing abitilites is unchecked when saving to another file format.

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LEGEND ,
Feb 23, 2015 Feb 23, 2015

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I actually ran into this tonight with Photoshop CC, and I was really confused - This hasn't happened to me before.

Jeffrey, this response at least makes sense to me, as I opened my recently saved PSD and had no idea why this was happening.

My question is this: Could the Save window call out the fact that layers were not going to be saved through a dialog box? A warning in the dialog is simply not enough for someone who is a full workday in on their project and misses the warning button (which I later found) at the bottom of the Save window. Just thinking of UX here. The project that this happened for me on is minuscule, but I could see this impacting deadlines or causing some serious repercussions to timelines if missed.

Just a note: I don't mean to contest the great minds at Adobe, just simply trying to open a discussion regarding potential user error.

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LEGEND ,
Mar 18, 2015 Mar 18, 2015

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Just wanted to chime in and say even though it is not a bug, it is very easy for the end user to mistakenly save a PSD without layers as the result of saving a PDF of an open document (without editing abilities). I for one think it would be a good idea to somehow notify the user. A dialog with a "don't tell me again" checkbox in it or something to that effect. This problem used to get me all the time if I wasn't looking out for it. 10 year PS user here for what it's worth.

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 26, 2015 Mar 26, 2015

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This is ridiculous. When I save as PNG, JPG, etc, I get a separate file than my PSD and the PSD remains open.

But when I save a PDF it closes my PSD? Naturally many people would assume that it actually *changed* the PSD, given the save behavior of most other file types.

I've lost a lot of work to this in the past and came here hoping to find it was just user error. Really it is just bad UI design on the part of Adobe.

The question is "answered" and not solved.

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New Here ,
Jun 12, 2015 Jun 12, 2015

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100% agree with all frustrated users. Yes, it is a user error but c'mon adobe, give us a break. It's simply too late once we realize your save as a pdf with/without layers has it's own set of rules as so eloquently said by SidainMSJones above.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 12, 2015 Jun 12, 2015

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Hi there,

I have experienced something that is very weird in Photoshop CC yesterday, I understand this is how it always works but I consider it a huge problem.

I was working on a PSD with multiple layers and I wanted to save it both as a PSD and also as a PDF file to send it to the client. I first saved my document as a PDF unchecking the box to keep the layers, assuming that this setting is only for the PDF output filter. I unchecked it because that will shrink the document to a reasonable size of 10 Mb instead of 100 Mb. After that I saved it also as a PSD, at that time, all the layers were still visible in the document I was working in.

When I later re-openened the PSD file, to my horror all the layers were gone there as well!

At Adobe they said it is just the way the software works , but i think this is really dangerous for the user, I lost a lot of changes I made in the different layers because of this.

If a user would want to merge all layers into one, he/she could do so with 1 mouseclick, but I definately didnt expect this when I saved the document as a PDF.

After all, when I save the document as a JPG and after that as a PSD, I dont lose all my layers do I?

This just doesnt make any sense! If anyone can explain to me why this is better than just saving the PDF without layers and keeping the project intact, I'd like to hear that...

Marcel

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LEGEND ,
Aug 03, 2015 Aug 03, 2015

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In early automobiles, the gas peddle wasn't always on the right side. (I don't know if that true, but suppose it was.) Well, of course, people would press the accelerator when they wanted to stop and some three dimensional objected would get flattened.

People complained and one self righteous person said, "just look at the peddles before you hit the breaks. It's that simple." Nevertheless, things kept getting flatten until one day a major car manufacturer, I think it was Ford, decided to do what we call today: "fix the user interface." They studied the problem and decided to always have the gas peddle on the right side.

Adobe telling us to make sure one of the check boxes is checked is like Henry Ford telling Model T owners to look at the peddles before slamming on the breaks. Henry fixed the problem and Adobe can too.

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 14, 2015 Oct 14, 2015

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Hi,
I've been using PS for 8 years now and this has to be the most frustrating thing that happens with the program - the psd Ive been working on is flattened. I was saving out my document as a .pdf, and the mistake I think I made was unchecking "Preserve Photopshop editing capabilities". I thought this option would allow the pdf to be reopened and editable in PS; thinking that this would increase the size of the pdf I unchecked the option. Now I have a pdf and a flattened psd. Awesome.
Why is saving pdf different from saving out a jpeg or png? Why would I want to flatten my psd?
Great user experience.
Dylan

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New Here ,
Oct 14, 2015 Oct 14, 2015

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After losing too many art files I've spent the time to learn that when you are saving your work as a pdf, you need to check the box as a copy on the same screen as where you choose to save as a pdf. It will be fine.

This is stupid & needs to be changed. When I'm working on multiple projects, a co-worker asks a question or my phone rings it's too easy to make a mistake.

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 14, 2015 Oct 14, 2015

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Hey Christine,
Thanks for your reply- it's nice to hear I'm not the only one! It gave me me quite the emotional rollcoster when I open my psd!
I will never forget to check that box again, cheers

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New Here ,
Oct 14, 2015 Oct 14, 2015

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I'm thinking when you hit 'save as' pdf you didn't select the 'as a copy' box. See attachment... pdf_inline-ffb968a6-612a-4655-b6ba-c44babe35e9d-1681082954.JPG

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LEGEND ,
Apr 04, 2016 Apr 04, 2016

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This is the Norman Door of Save.

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LEGEND ,
May 19, 2016 May 19, 2016

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I am a powerhouse Photoshop user for over 15 years.  I purchased my Creative Suite CS5 for $2,600.  I would never ever assume SAVE AS PDF would replace my PSD file.  I would assume my PSD layered file is safe.  Someone should kill the developer that change this from the previous version of Photoshop.  CHANGE IT BACK.  IF IT ISN'T BROKEN, WHY THE F!$&%$ FIX IT! 

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New Here ,
Nov 08, 2016 Nov 08, 2016

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This bug just cost me hours of work : ( . I have a file with multiple artboards in Photoshop. Saved the PSD, then wanted to save a copy as PDF, did that. Then I continued my work. When I finished, I saved the PSD file again, on top of what I had saved before, and closed my file thinking: I'm Done! on the next. Unluckily for me, That PSD files (as well as the PDF), got flattened without my knowledge. I lost all my layers, all of my work pretty much. Happened two times on two seperate files.

So it seems like when you have a file with multiple Artboards, and save as a PDF mid-way, and save as PSD after that, that PSD gets flattened.

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LEGEND ,
May 13, 2017 May 13, 2017

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I've been working on developing my resume in Photoshop for the past couple days and finally finished it.  It was a very populated document with a lot of layers, organized with folders and looking pretty!

Once complete, I saved the .PSD.  Afterwards, I decided to Save As a Photoshop PDF, set for Smallest File Size.  Now I got my finished PDF!

But wait, I realized I needed to make a couple edits post .PDF, so I go back to Photoshop, layers are still all there 🙂  So I make my edits and Save As a .PSD.  I decided to close Photoshop before exporting another .PDF because I had other activities in line.

Upon my return of opening the original PSD... all my layers are gone now.

I have recreated this weird loss of layers twice more to verify my order of operations.  This is totally lame!

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LEGEND ,
Feb 20, 2018 Feb 20, 2018

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Problem: I save a PSD file with layers. Next I Flatten Layers, change the Image Size and save as a PDF. I close the file. When I reopen the PSD file, all my Layers are gone.

Help
Jazzstronaut@yahoo.com

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New Here ,
Feb 20, 2018 Feb 20, 2018

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Objective: Need to accurately reflect updated workspace upon save of a "non-editable" PDF.

For example:
We have two files.
Non-layered PDF: "file.pdf"
Layered PSD: "file.psd"
ScreenShot20150224at12.02.02PM-a73396fc-ecae-44db-8fec-7f573073184e-1956106283.png

We "Save As" the open PSD document.
ScreenShot20150224at12.02.12PM-672ac4ab-6db2-4616-9d44-73d382bb7ff2-261652410.png

We save as a PDF instead of PSD
ScreenShot20150224at12.02.33PM-a7d796ce-eea9-4fa5-9d89-60967f1f0168-335194388.png

After pressing "save" The dialog options are displayed with "Preserve Photoshop Editing Capabilities" selected by default.
ScreenShot20150224at12.02.54PM-6d039f61-a100-418f-b0ea-68e321cab17a-408737151.png

I do not want others to have access to editable content in Photoshop, so i disable this.
ScreenShot20150224at12.03.01PM-f3667b60-fc6b-4a4b-8f43-7bcfdd6dc37e-927483536.png

Upon saving, I return to the Photoshop Interface.
ScreenShot20150224at12.03.09PM-6750a0a3-0923-4343-b63c-19cba449abe0-1463536599.png

Notice that the file has changed from "file.psd" to "file.pdf". Currently this saved file cannot contain these layers because they have been disabled when it was saved. The layers currently show however as if this was being edited.

This is the cause of all problems. How can a file that is not able to be edited by photoshop show a workable file with layers in Photoshop?

My suggestion would be:
Upon save of a file that does not have "Photoshop Editable Capabilities", display the file as if it were opened after save. As in, display the flat PDF that the faile currently exists as and not as in its PSD editable state.

This has caused many people issues, and a quick search will show horror storys of people saving flattened versions of PSDs because of this problem. Here is why this is extremely important:

I am still in my PDF that displays layers (even though apparently the file I am in cannot contain "Photoshop editable" layers).

I make a change to a layer (since I still have layers to work on apparently).
ScreenShot20150224at12.03.40PM-9b1f0ad8-32a6-460e-9319-dffb2a4d22cc-579377793.png

Now I wish to save my changes to my original "file.psd" document. Since I am in "file.pdf" currently I use the "Save As" option.
ScreenShot20150224at12.03.50PM-fcc456a1-a06c-4208-b5ec-3d2f72e1d9d1-1638381123.png

I make the change from PDF to PSD as my file type. Notice that the warning mentioned at the bottom describes as requiring to be saved as a copy. The user at this point blows this off since they won't be saving it as a copy of the PDF. They will be saving it as the PSD.
ScreenShot20150224at12.04.02PM-00f4bcd1-4fd7-4ebc-af10-8d034ab40b66-32873388.png

Since I want to update the original file "file.psd", I remove the word and space " copy" from the filename.
ScreenShot20150224at12.04.19PM-5295831e-b605-4b0d-9698-1bf8925f7d90-1715859155.png

Herein lies the problem...
Consider this: The file I am currently working in is a PDF without photoshop editing capabilities, however, it somehow still contains workable layers in the user interface.

Since that was present, I made changes and am about to save as a PSD. If saving as a PSD and I have layers present, naturally I am going to automatically think I will be saving with layers. the only indication otherwise is a tiny alert icon present next to a checkmark that says "Layers"

I, the user, never unchecked or checked the "Layers" check box in the "Save As" dialog box. I unchecked the "Preserve Photoshop Editing Capabilities", but never touched the option in "Save As". This is thought because the file I am in still has the layers from before since they were never flattened in the workable document.

Naturally this would mean, that it is in its default state and nothing should be concerned. Further, the warning talks about "Save as copy", which the user already blew off since they are saving over the old file in a different file type.

In addition, the Layers check box "!" indication here is extremely easy to not notice when saving back and forth between PDF and PSD files, and it is not clear what it means.

The only notice that is displayed when the user saves is the warning to override the PSD file, of which it is accepted.
ScreenShot20150224at12.04.50PM-6fbe887c-ab82-4c58-a364-2acc86974432-1694943207.png

When the user then saves, the file displayed is still "file.pdf" with layers.
ScreenShot20150224at12.05.02PM-5426c8b6-1b24-41a7-a117-fc14465e5dad-928797336.png

Since the user saved over the PSD version with the updated changes, they close the file. The file then warns that the PDF does not conform to what is being displayed in the editor. The user selects "Do not save" because they have already saved the PSD and PDF files to the specifications that they wanted at the time. In the user's mind, the PDF is flat, and the PSD is layered.
ScreenShot20150224at12.05.16PM-f6ffcc0c-bf39-4134-b4a0-54d43e97ce04-1416437292.png

After exiting the file (and possibly Photoshop), the user then returns to the PSD document, "file.psd", only to find that countless hours (possibly more) of work have been lost due to a simple check box that was changed without the user making the change, and a tiny yellow "!" mark that made no sense anyway.

All of this can be avoided by:

When the user saves a file into the PDF format and un-checks "Preserve Photoshop Editing Capabilities"... upon the save being completed, the PDF in the user interface editor should be displaying the PDF in the state it is currently in -- that state is a flattened PDF, NOT a fully editable document.

Not changing the editor to reflect this state change, causes major issues for people.

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New Here ,
Feb 20, 2018 Feb 20, 2018

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Try this: start with a layered psd...
"save as", choose PDF, save
now your working file in photoshop still has layers.
Choose to save as again and go back to a PSD. close your file.
When you open it... it is flattened.

If I choose "save as a copy" - this is the fix... HOWEVER for 12 years this box has been checked by default. and I didn't have to manually check it every time... so I forget and I end up with a flattened psd.

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LEGEND ,
Feb 20, 2018 Feb 20, 2018

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You must absolutely fix this problem if you want your program to be professional...

If we save a file in PDF,  every thing seams fine, every layers are there
and are editable. There's no message of caution if we try now to save it again in PSD.......

But when we reopen the PSD file, every layers is gone. The image is flattened and
hours of works are lost !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This situation happens a lot in production, to save in pdf for the boss or client, then in psd,
then in pdf... ...

Please change this before people suicide by your fault !

 

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LEGEND ,
Feb 20, 2018 Feb 20, 2018

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I totally agree with KenJyi Yos !

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New Here ,
Feb 20, 2018 Feb 20, 2018

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For the record, this post above was from 2014 and was merged by someone in 2018. In 2022, I'll likely post my next comment about this still being an issue.

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