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Can't unlock a layer?

Engaged ,
Nov 25, 2013

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hello:                                                                                     Windows 8 64bit - Ps CC

i have an image from a client and it's just one Layer but it's locked and i would like to be able to unlock it and also to add a new layer above it which i am also unable to do.

any ideas why this is?

i know i can re-save it so that i can add a new Layer at least but i am still curious as to why i can't unlock the Layer.

also, i am building a package of images to sell.  I have Locked the Layers but still want the people that (hopefully) buy them to be able to unlock them -

      is this not something i can do? must i leave all Layers unlocked? for the most part i have only done so to keep particular aspects of the images safe from being altered by new users of photoshop etc.

thank you for your time, help and suggestions.

happy holidays

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Trevor.Dennis | Adobe Community Professional

Photoshop can definitely get hung up at time.  I think I have come across it at least three or four times.  What I do I select all the layers > right click > chose Duplicate, and New from the drop down.  It has always worked for me.

Or you could Select all the layers, and right click and make into a Smart Object.  Double click the SO to open it in a new window, and save that new window as a new document.  That one has just occurred to me, and I have not actually tried it.  That is to say I know you can save an SO as a new document, but not f it will free up frozen layers.

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Can't unlock a layer?

Engaged ,
Nov 25, 2013

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hello:                                                                                     Windows 8 64bit - Ps CC

i have an image from a client and it's just one Layer but it's locked and i would like to be able to unlock it and also to add a new layer above it which i am also unable to do.

any ideas why this is?

i know i can re-save it so that i can add a new Layer at least but i am still curious as to why i can't unlock the Layer.

also, i am building a package of images to sell.  I have Locked the Layers but still want the people that (hopefully) buy them to be able to unlock them -

      is this not something i can do? must i leave all Layers unlocked? for the most part i have only done so to keep particular aspects of the images safe from being altered by new users of photoshop etc.

thank you for your time, help and suggestions.

happy holidays

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Trevor.Dennis | Adobe Community Professional

Photoshop can definitely get hung up at time.  I think I have come across it at least three or four times.  What I do I select all the layers > right click > chose Duplicate, and New from the drop down.  It has always worked for me.

Or you could Select all the layers, and right click and make into a Smart Object.  Double click the SO to open it in a new window, and save that new window as a new document.  That one has just occurred to me, and I have not actually tried it.  That is to say I know you can save an SO as a new document, but not f it will free up frozen layers.

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Nov 25, 2013 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Nov 25, 2013

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If it is a background layer it will always be partially locked for the Photoshop Background layer does not support transparency. Therefore Transparency is always locked on the bottom Photoshop Background layer. Also no layer can be moved below it and if its the only layer its visibility can not be turned off.  Photoshop background layer is a special layer. One is nor required in a document and you can convert a background layer to a normal layer and unlock it.

You should be able to add a layer above it not one below it. Try Shift+Ctrl+Alt+N

JJMack

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Nov 25, 2013 0
Engaged ,
Nov 25, 2013

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thank you JJ -

i will try your suggestions tomorrow as i'm quite tired now and turn'n in for the nite. thank you for your time!

i'll be back tomorrow to let you know how things go.

thanx again!

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Nov 25, 2013 0
Engaged ,
Mar 12, 2014

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Hey JJ,

i'm sorry, i forgot about having asked this question.

Thank you for your answer. I appreciate your time.

i still have no idea why my clients image wouldn't unlock or allow me to add a new layer above. it's a mystery.

i just ended up resaving the image which allowed me to add a new layer above it but i still couldn't unlock the layer.

thanx again!! i always appreciate your help.

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Mar 12, 2014 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 12, 2014

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Photoshop can definitely get hung up at time.  I think I have come across it at least three or four times.  What I do I select all the layers > right click > chose Duplicate, and New from the drop down.  It has always worked for me.

Or you could Select all the layers, and right click and make into a Smart Object.  Double click the SO to open it in a new window, and save that new window as a new document.  That one has just occurred to me, and I have not actually tried it.  That is to say I know you can save an SO as a new document, but not f it will free up frozen layers.

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Mar 12, 2014 3
Community Beginner ,
Jul 28, 2014

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you are absolutely right Trevor Dennis.  Just tried everything and only your "convert to smart object" solution worked.

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Jul 28, 2014 1
New Here ,
Feb 07, 2015

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THIS WAS CERTAINLY THE FIX! THANKS!!!

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Feb 07, 2015 1
Community Beginner ,
Jul 28, 2014

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Jmack  this didn't work for me  Trevor's did. 

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Jul 28, 2014 1
Engaged ,
Oct 11, 2014

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Hello JJ,

I am sorry that I removed your answer as the right answer. I just came across this same issue again and recalled having asked about it here in the forum.

Trevor's answer in the one that actually worked for me and apparently others.

I changed the right answer to his b/c I'm afraid people pressed for time may not read this entire thread and miss what seems to be working for folks.

As always I very much appreciate your input! I have been helped by you a lot over the last couple of years!! Cheers!!

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Oct 11, 2014 0
New Here ,
Jul 08, 2014

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I've also ran into this several times, and it usually has something to do with what Mode the image is in. So be sure to check Image > Mode and be sure you're working in an editable mode (usually RGB or CMYK). Switching to one of those modes should allow you to unlock as normal.

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Jul 08, 2014 11
New Here ,
Jan 18, 2016

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You sir, are brilliant. That was exactly my problem, The image mode was indexed  instead of RGB or CMYK. As soon as I switched the mode, I was able to unlock the layer.

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Jan 18, 2016 3
New Here ,
Sep 28, 2020

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That completely fixed my problem. Thanks!

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Sep 28, 2020 0
Enthusiast ,
Jun 17, 2019

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Experienced this issue today for the first time ever, and solved it in a different way.

20 years of PS usage. Never had this problem before.

In my case it was a smart object, so losing the ability to edit its contents would be a showstopper.

My solution was to convert the perma-locked smart object into a linked smart object, which basically allowed me to export the smart object's contents as another document.

I regained access to all the layers inside the locked SO again. I can re-insert it into the original parent doc or do whatever I want with it now.

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Jun 17, 2019 0