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Photoshop merged my layers for me, can I recover

New Here ,
Apr 23, 2012 Apr 23, 2012

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I exported a project as a pdf by clicking Save As under the file menu, then I saved the original psd by choosing Save As again and selecting PSD this time.  When I came back to the project today all the layers had been merged into one.  I _never_ merged them myself.  Is there any way I can recover all that work or have I been hosed by this "feature"?

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Adobe Community Professional , Apr 23, 2012 Apr 23, 2012
Hi and welcome to the forum.   The answer to your question depends on whether you have closed the image file in Photosho since you di the Save as.  if not you can step back through History.  If that is the case, then open the History panel from the Window menu.  If you have closed the file between the save as, and noticing the problem, you are out of luck.   It is a good idea to use a different name when saving a PSD file as a JPG or PDF, because there is always the chance you will do a reflex C...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 23, 2012 Apr 23, 2012

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Hi and welcome to the forum.   The answer to your question depends on whether you have closed the image file in Photosho since you di the Save as.  if not you can step back through History.  If that is the case, then open the History panel from the Window menu.  If you have closed the file between the save as, and noticing the problem, you are out of luck.   It is a good idea to use a different name when saving a PSD file as a JPG or PDF, because there is always the chance you will do a reflex Ctrl/Cmd s later on, and overwrite the PSD file.  I have done it myself more than once.

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Explorer ,
Nov 13, 2017 Nov 13, 2017

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I have the same issue. I 'saved as" a jpg (so it had a different extension) and it still went and flattened my file. At first, I thought I might have saved the flattened psd before I saved it as a jpg, but I have done 4 subsequent tests with the same outcome. Photoshop is massively flawed and Adobe pretends that we are all idiots for not knowing how to use it.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 19, 2017 Nov 19, 2017

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I have done 4 subsequent tests with the same outcome.

Please provide screenshots (including the pertinent Panels) to illustrate your claim.

One cannot save a layered file as a jpg so you most likely saved a copy but what did you do with the open, layered file exactly – simply not save on closing despite the dialog/question?

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Explorer ,
Nov 20, 2017 Nov 20, 2017

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I didn't day I saved a layered file as a jpg. It's not possible. I have worked the same way now for 25 years: save my psd before I'm ready to flatten, then flatten and go 'save as' and select jpg. The psd stays in tact as a layered file and I have my flattened jpg to place. Apart from the odd mindless save after flattening, this has always worked.

What would the point be of a screenshot? It is just going to show you one layer while the file extension is .psd.

Just a hint, C Pfaffenbichler: please refrain from using words like 'illustrate your CLAIM'. It is counter-productive to try and make Photoshop users feel like idiots. Like I said, I have been a photoshop user since PS3, so I think by now I have a pretty good idea of how to work the programme. This issue is not due yo my stupidity.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 20, 2017 Nov 20, 2017

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Well, this isn't happening to anyone else (certainly not me).

Of course, the definition of a bug is that it doesn't happen all the time. If it did, it would have been fixed right away.

So I suggest you keep an eye on this, and if you see it again, open the history panel and take a screenshot of that. That would be a useful screenshot.

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New Here ,
Dec 05, 2018 Dec 05, 2018

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It did happen to many, and many times.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 20, 2017 Nov 20, 2017

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save my psd before I'm ready to flatten, then flatten and go 'save as' and select jpg. The psd stays in tact as a layered file

So what did you mean by

I 'saved as" a jpg (so it had a different extension) and it still went and flattened my file.

exactly?

Why do you flatten the image at all? Saving »As a Copy« should take care of all offending features.

What would the point be of a screenshot? It is just going to show you one layer while the file extension is .psd.

You made a claim that I cannot immediately reproduce so step-by-step screenshots with a description what you did exactly might shed some light on what’s going on.

For example if you flattened the file and the Layers Panels indicates as much the asterisk beside the color mode beside the psd-name might indicate that the file has not been saved, in which case if you included other pertinent Panels, like Channels, one might conclude why the jpg has not been »saved as«, but »saved as a copy« despite your flattening.

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Explorer ,
Nov 20, 2017 Nov 20, 2017

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1. I flatten the images to place in Illustrator or Indesign.

You know what, nevermind. I am am going to reinstall photoshop and see if this issue disappears. This thread is wearing me out.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 20, 2017 Nov 20, 2017

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If for example a layered file has additional Channels it cannot be »saved as« a jpg but is »saved as a copy«, same as with Layers.

If you are not willing to provide pertinent information (positing screenshots being one option for doing so, but you could also post a link to a file and a detailed description of the steps to reproduce the issue etc.) then pinpointing the cause of the problem may not be possible for others.

Edit:

1. I flatten the images to place in Illustrator or Indesign.

Saving a jpg »As a Copy« without flattening beforehand should result in a jpg just as well without affecting the open layered psd, psb or tif.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 20, 2017 Nov 20, 2017

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Another possible reason for a flat image not saving as jpg, but saving as a copy could be bit depth, so you could check if the offending images were 16bit or 32bit.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 20, 2017 Nov 20, 2017

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Just a hint, C Pfaffenbichler: please refrain from using words like 'illustrate your CLAIM'. It is counter-productive to try and make Photoshop users feel like idiots. Like I said, I have been a photoshop user since PS3

And a hint for you: It likely does not matter (edit: to the discussion at hand that is) how long you or I have been using Photoshop – in my experience anybody can make mistakes or misunderstand certain things.

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New Here ,
Jan 07, 2020 Jan 07, 2020

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I just had the same problem, it's like the file flattened itself with a black background.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 19, 2017 Nov 19, 2017

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c.p. is right, that's how it works. Saving out a layered file as jpeg makes a copy. So the question is what you did with the still open original PSD.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 20, 2017 Nov 20, 2017

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What would the point be of a screenshot? It is just going to show you one layer while the file extension is .psd.

Let me give an example of how a meaningful screenshot can be helpful:

usefulScreenshot_1.jpg

The areas marked in red in the second version indicate that the image

• is being saved »As a Copy« (see the dialog-window)

• because it is 16bit and has an additional Channel (see the Info Panel, Channels Panel, …).

usefulScreenshot_2.jpg

Edit: Whether the problem in your case/s was something like that one cannot tell so far but so far.

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New Here ,
Jun 09, 2020 Jun 09, 2020

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I also had the same problem which has never happened before..

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 24, 2012 Apr 24, 2012

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Is there any way I can recover all that work or have I been hosed by this "feature"?

You have very probably messed up yourself; as Trevor mentioned others have committed errors on such operations, too, but trying to lay the blame on the application will do you little good. 

If you save a copy off of a file you may want to check »As a Copy« when doing the Save As in the future, that way the open document stays the file it has been before.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 16, 2014 Jul 16, 2014

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I just ran into this, also, during my first couple of hours with Photoshop.  I think Photoshop deserves a fair amount of blame here.  If both experienced users and novices run into this, to me, it sounds like the UI can and should be improved!  If I never flatten and save a PSD, I expect my layers to be there -- whether I saved as PDF before or not.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 16, 2014 Jul 16, 2014

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There is a multiple-step process that leads to the saving of a PSD file without the [ ] Layers checkbox set.

After saving a PDF, the next time you go to save as a PSD, make sure the [ ] Layers checkbox gets re-set.

-Noel

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 16, 2014 Jul 16, 2014

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If I never flatten and save a PSD, I expect my layers to be there -- whether I saved as PDF before or not.

If you save as a pdf but do not save »As a Copy« I think you should not try to blame Adobe.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 16, 2014 Jul 16, 2014

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I care less about blame and more about improving the UI.  In this case, my guess is a fix would require, say, tens of hours for Adobe and would save a large multiple of this in users' time...

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New Here ,
Jan 18, 2018 Jan 18, 2018

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Yea there's no reason for the save settings to magical change unless the user themselves change the settings. Adobe deserves some blame for this. This issue recently happened to me a few times, it's the first in like 10 yrs or so. I saved my work/project as a pdf. file and than saved the project with the layers not merged as a psb.,  but later when i opened the project the layers where merged and now i have to redo the work. There's no reason for settings to magically change. If the user wants something done the user can change the settings.  

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New Here ,
Aug 09, 2019 Aug 09, 2019

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I agree that Photoshop deserves the blame for a horribly designed save as feature.  If I could use a different program I would.  I just lost all of my layers again and I've been using Photoshop for years.  It's such an easy mistake to make primarily because every other program on earth has a logical save as feature.  This is the only program that does this and it's really a crime.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 10, 2019 Aug 10, 2019

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Hi Tracey,

I know it’s too late for that file and I know this is super frustrating, but I have a suggestion - why not form a new habit so it can never happen again?

It’s a really good idea to do that when you need to archive a layered file and also save a flattened version - in this case by saving to a format where layers are not wanted.

Actually this also applies when resizing a "master file" for repro. in print.

Save your psd.

make a copy, ( that’s the vital step)

I recommend you now minimise the original. Or even close it.

Working on the copy (be sure)

there are two routes to take now

either

1: ideally: flatten, resize to suit repro. size, sharpen and save your file as the desired format

or

2: (definitely a second choice) take the simple route and just 'save as' allowing flattening to happen during the save.

See what I am doing? And why?

I overwrote layered originals myself. I'll not do that again I hope.

In terms of the wanted archive original master file (with the layers), it doesn’t matter what I do here as I can’t affect my original psd.

I’m working on a copy and that only took a few seconds to make.

There are reasons that method v1 above is better for image reproduction, but irrespective of that, I can’t damage my layered psd.

There is plainly an issue (significant tripwire) as described by Dave (especially on Windows) in that saving as pdf seems to subsequently uncheck the layers - even when saving as psd! But that’s not the only reason why making a copy before flattening is a good policy to adopt. Resizing or converting to another file type such as CMYK is just one other.

We can blame (perhaps justifiably) Adobe's programmers for the interface and occasionally get hosed or we can take the precaution to adopt a working practice that avoids the tripwire - and others.

I know which I do.

FYI

Contrary to what some contributors here may hope for, there’s no Adobe hero influencing programming decisions who is reading every forum post to see if anyone’s being harmed by the way the programs work. This forum is almost entirely “staffed” by we volunteers.

So we can discuss an issue and we can grumble. Justifiably in this case, but that’s really very unlikely to change anything

i hope this helps

Neil Barstow

colourmanagement

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 03, 2017 Dec 03, 2017

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If the open and active file has Layers or other features that conflict with what the jpg-format allows (16bit, additional Channels, …) then selecting »jpg« as the Format in the Save-dialog automatically triggers »As a Copy« (at least for several versions now) and that creates a new jpg-file without any effect on the open layered file.

So if one had (needlessly) flattened an open layered psd, psb or tif file that is also 16bit or has non-composite Channels before saving the jpg copy the open file is flattened but it is not the jpg!

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