P: Don't understand the undo/redo system

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LEGEND ,
Jul 12, 2011 Jul 12, 2011

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Unlike most modern apps, Photoshop only has a single "undo". If you press command-z a second time, Photoshop will redo the change instead of continuing to undo. Not even Illustrator or InDesign works this way at this point.

To work around this issue, I customize my keyboard shortcuts to use "step backward" (command-z) and "step forward" (command-shift-z). For the most part this works great and I've been very happy with it.

But it brings up a new problem: if I change the selected layer, then press command-z ("step backward") then the layer change is undone as well. This is a constant frustration for me, and it seems there's no solution to get both the behaviors I want.

To me, there are two possible ways to fix this problem:
• Adopt a standard undo/redo system with multiple levels of undo/redo
• Make layer selection a separate step in the history

Personally I don't care that much, I'd be happy with either. But adopting a standard undo/redo system makes more sense to me, for consistency amongst the CS apps (as well as other apps). Perhaps it could be an option if there's disagreement over what works best for people.

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correct answers 2 Correct answers

Adobe Employee , Jun 15, 2015 Jun 15, 2015
See: https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/using/undo-history.html In Photoshop CC (2015) update, step backwards shouldn't change the layer selection.

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Adobe Employee , Aug 12, 2011 Aug 12, 2011
Try this script as a workaround for the behavior where step backward changes the selected layer (remap the step backward keyboard shortcut to the script): http://www.polycount.com/forum/showpo...

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Participant ,
Jul 12, 2011 Jul 12, 2011

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It certainly seems like multiple undos on Command-Z (Ctrl-Z) with redo on Command-Shift-Z is the norm these days, unlike 10 years ago. I'd be all for seeing this in Photoshop as well, to bring it in line with Illustrator, InDesign and most modern apps.

I don't know if there's any technical issues with including layer selection as a history state, but that seems to make sense as well.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 14, 2011 Jul 14, 2011

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You're touching on two separate issues:
1. The keyboard shortcuts used for undo/redo
2. Layer selection changing upon undo

1. Photoshop's unusual Cmd-Z mapping is due to the fact that the app lets you toggle across multiple history states in one keypress.

For example, you might do something, then click 10 steps back in the History panel. Let's say you then hit Cmd-Z. Would you expect Photoshop to undo the most recent operation (getting you back to where you'd been prior to the last click), or to go to the 11th-back history state (that is, to go further back in time)? I'd expect PS to do what it does now: it undoes the click instead of digging me deeper.

I'm not sure it's possible to preserve the current (and to my mind correct) behavior while also making Cmd-Z work in the more common way (which is also correct). Of course PS could ask customers to make a choice via a dialog, but that's just a recipe for blank stares.

2. I can't think of a good reason for the current behavior. It seems like a rough edge that didn't get polished when PS added multiple layer selection. It's worth asking the team whether it can be changed.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 15, 2011 Jul 15, 2011

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Thanks for the response John. I'm not sure I agree with you on 1 but you do present a good case where the current behavior makes sense for some people.

Sounds good on issue 2 though, I'd be very happy if that was changed. If there's some disagreement, perhaps an option could be added in the "History Options" section of the History palette. There's already an option "Make Layer Visibility Changes Undoable". Adding a "Make Layer Selection Changes Undoable" option could be one way to address this.

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Adobe Employee ,
Jul 16, 2011 Jul 16, 2011

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You can try this script as a workaround (remap the step backward keyboard shortcut to the script):

http://www.polycount.com/forum/showpo...

Senior Product Manager - Customer Advocacy - Digital Imaging

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LEGEND ,
Jul 19, 2011 Jul 19, 2011

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Very helpful, thank you!

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Contributor ,
Aug 12, 2011 Aug 12, 2011

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Right now selecting a different layer doesn't show up in History.

The common issue with this looks like that:

You change current layer from A to B. You make a stroke. You hitg 'Step Backward'. Photoshop undoes stroke AND selects layer A. You continue to work on layer A thinking you're actually on layer B.

This thing bugs _lot_ of people.

Can you please consider to add an option to make layer selects undoable?

It could be the same History option like with 'layer visibility' right now: turning this on allows you to undo layer visibility changes.

Please please please

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Adobe Employee ,
Aug 12, 2011 Aug 12, 2011

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Try this script as a workaround for the behavior where step backward changes the selected layer (remap the step backward keyboard shortcut to the script):

http://www.polycount.com/forum/showpo...

Senior Product Manager - Customer Advocacy - Digital Imaging

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Participant ,
Aug 14, 2011 Aug 14, 2011

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Often when I undo a step in Photoshop, a different layer is selected from the layer I was working on. How can I turn off this super-annoying feature?

It even happens after I've done several steps on the current layer but only undo one step. WHY would it jump to a layer from 3 steps ago?

Brett Gilmour
Brett Gilmour Photography

Corporate photographer based in Calgary, Canada and Oviedo, Spain. Making portraits, architectural, industrial and advertising photography for national and global brands.

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LEGEND ,
Aug 15, 2011 Aug 15, 2011

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I also would like to voice my opinion of hating it when Photoshop changes the active layer. I decide which layer I want to paint in, dammit!

Thanks a lot for the script, but would it really be so hard to make a "don't switch layers automatically EVER!"-tick in the preferences menu?

edit:
AWESOME!
The script works perfectly! I can't stay mad, this thing did everything I wanted. Thank you Jeffrey!

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Explorer ,
Sep 20, 2011 Sep 20, 2011

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Please make Photoshop's "step backward" command maintain current layer selection (like the "undo" command's behavior). So that when using the "step backward" to undo something it doesn't unnecessarily select a different layer . The current "step backward" layer change issue is inconvenient because it causes unnexpected layer selection change.

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Explorer ,
Sep 20, 2011 Sep 20, 2011

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i really hope adobe officially fixes this in the next version!

but in the meantime, someone make a script you can use to workaround the issue...
http://www.polycount.com/forum/showth...

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 12, 2011 Nov 12, 2011

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Say you have 2 layers in a Photoshop document:
[] layerA
[] layerB

And you have layerB selected:

[] layerA
[] layerB < selected

Then you select layerA:

[] layerA < selected
[] layerB

Then you paint a brush stroke on LayerA

[] layerA < selected, now with one brush stroke
[] layerB

Then you undo that brush stroke. (CTL+Z)
What you get is:

[] layerA < brush stroke removed
[] layerB < selected,

It undoes not only the brush stroke but the layer selection operation.
What I'd prefer would be to end up with:

[] layerA < selected, with brush stroke removed.
[] layerB

I can't tell you how many times I've been working on an image with multiple layers, selected a new layer, painted something that I didn't like, undone that operation, and then discovered sometime later that I've been painting on the wrong layer for a while because of this behavior.

It's not a huge deal of course, and there are plenty of workarounds, but the behavior seems a bit strange and unintuitive. Lesser programs could not be bothered with such minor issues, but Photoshop, and the near pinnacle of perfection that the program represents, might have the motivation to address this tiny blemish on it's smoothly polished interface.

It's like a chip in the paint of a car. For an ordinary car, this wouldn't matter, but Photoshop is a Lamborghini, and it needs to shine.

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LEGEND ,
Nov 12, 2011 Nov 12, 2011

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Dear Adobe Gripes #15685 & #12793

"Why does the "Step backward" command also switch back to the layer that
was previously selected? It forces me to make dummy strokes before
painting on a new layer so I don't accidentally switch back."

"Please stop photoshop going back to the previous layer when undo, it gets tiresome having to reselect the layer over and over again when experimenting with changes."

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Explorer ,
Nov 15, 2011 Nov 15, 2011

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If you are working on a layer and you select another layer and perform an action there and then you hit "Undo", Photoshop doesn't just undo the last action but "takes you" to the previously selected layer too.

So, if you have made say a brush stroke and you want to just undo it and try again, you have to take the extra time and reselect the layer.

Anyone else with the same "problem"?

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Explorer ,
Nov 17, 2011 Nov 17, 2011

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will this make it into CS6?

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New Here ,
May 27, 2012 May 27, 2012

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Hi Jeffery,

Any instructions on how to install and use the script you provided?

Thanks.

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Explorer ,
May 27, 2012 May 27, 2012

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did this make it into CS6?

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Contributor ,
May 27, 2012 May 27, 2012

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Allen, it didn't.

Gene, copy the .jsx to scripts folder of PS (for Mac: /Applications/Adobe Photoshop CS6/Presets/Scripts, I guess for win it's almost the same), restart PS, navigate to Edit > Keyboard shortcuts and Menus, find the script under File > Scripts > StepBackwardSmart and assign the key of your choice.

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New Here ,
May 28, 2012 May 28, 2012

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Hi Sergey,

Thanks for the reply. I copied the code provided in the link to Windows notepad and saved it as a text file. Then I renamed it to a .jsx extension. Is this the correct way to do it?

When you say "assign the key of your choice", are you referring to the keyboard (like a shortcut key)? If so, does that mean every time I want to run the script (i.e. stop undo from reverting to the previous layer) I have to remember to push the key?

Thanks again

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Contributor ,
May 28, 2012 May 28, 2012

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Hey Gene,

Well I guess the fastest way would be just right-click on the .jsx file on polycount's web page and hit 'Save As..' and save it to your PS's Scripts folder, but saving through Notepad'd work too.

The script doesn't just stop undo from jumping on layers, it basically replaces 'Step Backward' functionality: it does the same plus remembers the layer you've been on. So the logical choice for a shortcut key would be the same key you've previously had for PS's 'Step Backward' command: for me that was cmd+Z

Sergey.

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New Here ,
May 29, 2012 May 29, 2012

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Hi Sergey,

That would have been easier :)

I don't think this script is going to work for me because I don't use the shortcut key to undo. I use the history tab because I usually go back several steps and it's easier for me to just select the history level I want to revert to.

This issue is a bad decision by Adobe. It wasn't a problem with PS2 (I upgraded to PS5). It's is an irritating "feature" that should be changed or at least given the option of disabling. I see from all the threads, here and elsewhere, that I'm not alone. It seems like Adobe is starting to behave like Microsoft. They take something that was working fine and make it worse and then refuse to fix it, no matter how many people complain.

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Explorer ,
May 30, 2012 May 30, 2012

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CS6 and we are still complaining about this topic. I got in to an extended thread on this a few years back which ended up with us all being patronised by an Adobe employee about the difference between undo and history states. I constantly face the problem outlined by numerous posters above. The latest infuriating example 10 mins ago had me trawling for solutions in the hope that CS6 might bring one. I am very grateful for the scripts posted but am a bit nervous about implementing them and think it's a bit nuts that Photoshop don't sort this problem themselves. Maybe if we emphasise that 'undoing' is not the same as 'mistake correction' it might be a more effective argument. I typically throw down a mark then instantly change my mind, undo, and throw down another one.. I might keep doing that until it looks right. I have no idea how often as I don't pay attention to it any more than I paid attention to how often I dipped my brush in water when painting with real materials back in the day. It's part of my process. But if I happen to have made a new layer and then made a mark (which is as common an event as dipping a brush in paint) and then hit the 'undo' then ....well you all know the rest. Just spent ten mins painting on the background layer without realising it. Not a big deal- I try to work with as little layers as possible anyway- but irritating. And a swarm of little irritations ends up being a massive annoyance. And don't get me started on brush folders... I waste so much time trying to find custom brushes - but hey, we've got darker IU in CS6; it was worth the wait!

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Community Beginner ,
May 30, 2012 May 30, 2012

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Nothing changed between cs2 and cs5.

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Contributor ,
May 30, 2012 May 30, 2012

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That's funny... I don't know what you all are talking about, since switching layers, painting a mark and hitting undo (or step backward) does not switch layers for me. I'm using CS4.

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Community Beginner ,
May 30, 2012 May 30, 2012

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That's because they don't understand how photoshop works.

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