Save a pdf from photoshop with layers

Explorer ,
Mar 20, 2017 Mar 20, 2017

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Hi there,

I'm creating an illustration and it can have a spot colour on a separate layer. However, the client requires the submitted format to be a pdf with layers, with the spot colour on a separate layer.

I can't figure out how to save a pdf from photoshop and have it save the layers.

I'm on a Mac running Photoshop CS5.

If I do a save as, and choose Photoshop PDF, and then check on Layers, and then save, it pops up with a box that says "The settings you choose in the Save Adobe PDF dialog can override your current settings in the Save As dialog box." Then it opens up the Adobe PDF dialog box, but there is no option to save layers in that window.

I've attached a screenshot. Thank you!

Update: I also tried to just import a layered PSD into InDesign and then re-export to a layered to PDF from InDesign but that didn't work either.

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 8.54.07 PM.png

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correct answers 1 Correct Answer

Adobe Community Professional , Mar 21, 2017 Mar 21, 2017
Acrobat can't interpret Photoshop layers into PDF layers. It can do that with InDesign, AutoCAD, or Visio. I know you tried it by placing your PSD into InDesign, but what they want is for you to save out each Photoshop layer as a separate InDesign layer, then output to PDF. So - what I mean is that it doesn't interpret the Photoshop layers at all, but it does interpret InDesign layers.Perhaps this article'll help? PDF layers, Adobe Acrobat DC I also wish PDF's could understand Photoshop and Illu...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 21, 2017 Mar 21, 2017

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Acrobat can't interpret Photoshop layers into PDF layers. It can do that with InDesign, AutoCAD, or Visio.
I know you tried it by placing your PSD into InDesign, but what they want is for you to save out each Photoshop layer as a separate InDesign layer, then output to PDF. So - what I mean is that it doesn't interpret the Photoshop layers at all, but it does interpret InDesign layers.
Perhaps this article'll help? PDF layers, Adobe Acrobat DC

I also wish PDF's could understand Photoshop and Illustrator layers! Perhaps we should put that in as a feature request at: Feature Request/Bug Report Form

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Explorer ,
Mar 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017

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Thanks S_Gans. This is so helpful to know!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017

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You're so welcome! I'm sorry it wasn't a happier answer, though!

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New Here ,
May 09, 2018 May 09, 2018

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If you have CS5 Illustrator open the psd file in that so that it imports the layers as objects. You can now save as a pdf from Illustrator. For a smaller file size uncheck the 'Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilites'. The pdf can be opened in Adobe Acrobat Reader and the layers selectively viewed.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 09, 2021 Feb 09, 2021

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Thanks S_Gans you are most helpful! Also Philipj70727125!

I'm surprised there seems no simply software made by a 3rd party to effortlessly show/hide layers in pdf files or maybe a compatible pdf2 file?

I'm looking to enhance opportunities with pdf files and this is one feature that I think should be easily accessible, how can it not be a simple patch or new feature?

If I need to I'll investigate your answers: InDesign, AutoCAD, or Visio, then CSS Illustrator.

Someone should develop easy layers in pdf files, I'd like to help with many uses I've designed already.

I hope this is appropriate to suggest / ask and thanks very much to the Adobe community for these forums.

-Teo

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 09, 2021 Feb 09, 2021

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Hi

Both InDesign and Illustrator have a checkbox to include layers while making a PDF. Photoshop does not. Also, FYI, layers were not supported in Acrobat until version 6, so saving to Acrobat 5 (as in your screen shot) or earlier cannot include layers. You can make a feature request to the product developers here:

https://feedback.photoshop.com/

 

According to this post, PS can support up to 8000 layers, depending on your computer specs. I have no idea if there is a maximum number of layers in Acrobat.

https://community.adobe.com/t5/photoshop-elements/file-size-layers/td-p/9035020

 

~ Jane

 

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 09, 2021 Feb 09, 2021

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Hi and thanks all!

 

Arokia I use that, it merges them page after page. Apple's "Preview" software does that too. I hope to find a nice little app like that but can show layers 1-2-3 not 4, but someone will want layer 4, someone only 1-2, pretty much exactly like in the old days with transparent sheets for overhead projecting.

 

Jane that was very helpful and informative! Let me elaborate. A pianist says to me take all the guitar chords off of your score because then I don't think it's a piano score. Other users may want other performance instructions and tips. Why do I have to make 4 or 5 files when the only difference is 1 or 2 layers of information?

 

I have to admit though, I'm the type of person who invents things no one ever thought of. In iTunes I can put an image with the .mp3 file, so I printed the music score to disk using layout so that however many pages of the score is 1 high quality graphic - and attach it to the mp3 disk file as its icon. When I ask apple if people not using iTunes can split the image out, people just (figuratively) make faces and say that's not how it is done.

 

I've always invented Value-Adding techniques to existing features. Shouldn't it be easy for some software guys to make a little app that can use say PDF2 extension and the files it makes work as a normal PDF, but with their app you can also see only the layers you want? Someone can make a bundle of money and we all save time and money by having multiple documents in 1 document.

 

For the time being if I can find software like Illustrator or Visio (I've used both in the past) that will make what I want work for right now and later whomever makes this app hopefully my files can be compatible. Just wishful thinking, and in a sense you are my sounding board  (thanks sorry to ramble!) to get my ideas out, when they are more fine-tuned I should take them to FEATURE REQUESTS as you said Jane, I would think the easiest for all, it should be a built-in Adobe PDF feature (hopefully). Thanks for your time, you all! Thanks to Adobe for these communities.

 

-Teo

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 09, 2021 Feb 09, 2021

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"Just wishful thinking, and in a sense you are my sounding board"

 

You're welcome, @TeoVincent4, I'm happy to "listen". Writing it out helps me get my thoughts together, too.

 

When you do have a layered file in Acrobat, you can hide and show the layers with the layers panel or by creating a button to hide/show layers. What is not as obvious is that you need to right-click the layers to set which ones will show (or hide) on the initial opening of the document.

 

Jane

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