We have a brand new look! Take a tour with us and explore the latest updates on Adobe Support Community.
Sometimes while working on an image, I want to use components of another image. I drag the PSD file onto the desk top. It appears in the layers side panel, but I don't know how to expand/extract the individual images (layers) it contains. Is this not possible? I've a ttached an image. Can I expand the first file to see the layers?
PS. I'm using Elements 20
I opened the attachment but it is so tiny that the details remain cryptic. It's best to insert an image into the reply box here on the forum via the "Insert Image" icon at the top.
If you have successfully dragged or copied/pasted an image above the background layer, activate the move tool and try to grab the corner handles in the bounding box to expand it --- pull out from the corner.
If this is not what you need, please explain more artfully.
I created the image just to illustrate the problem/question. The top file in the layers section is a psd file and I want to expand the layers for use in the image. Hopefully that explains it. Thanks for reaching out.
What you are showing in the layer palette is a 'smart' layer. To simplify, a copy of the referenced file is stored in the current file, and it is displayed in the layer according to your choices to resize, move or tilt the layer. In particular, in the editing process, if you do those changes, the result is that those changes can be undone or modified without any quality loss because they are always calculated from the full original. The difference with a normal pixel layer is that if you downsize the layer and have to upsize it later, you don't lose quality and resolution.
It seems that what you are after is to use 'smart objects', which are more sophisticated and only available in Photoshop.
With Elements, you have to work at the same time with both your current file and the referenced file to be able to modify the referenced file while editing your current file.
For Elements advanced users mastering the smart objects of Photoshop, I advise the very affordable add-on Elements+ which offers scripts to recover parts of the smart objects features.
Thanks for the help. I thought it had to be more complicated than some sort of key command. I had intended to ask about the PSE add on so I'm glad you mentioned that. Seems a good value for only 12 dollars.
Not sure if this is the only technique to do this (highly unlikely), but this is the way I'd do it:
1. Open both .psd files in the Photoshop Elements Editor.
2. From the Photo Bin, click on the first .psd.
3. Highlight the layers in the first .psd that you want to use in the second .psd. Use Ctrl+click (or Cmd+click on macOS) to select multiple layers.
4. From the main menu choose Layers > Duplicate Layer(s)...
5. In the Duplicate Set (or Duplicate Layer if just one layer selected) dialog window use the drop-down menu under Destination to choose the name of the second .psd, and click OK.
6. Open the second .psd from the Photo Bin, and the layers that you selected should now be there in the Layers panel.
Here's the relevant part in the Photoshop Elements User Guide:
Thank you, I'll have to read through this carefully and give it a go.