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Adobe Photoshop on Mac and Windows offers several different ways to copy image layers between documents so you don’t need to recreate your hard work from scratch. Here’s how to do it.

How to Copy Layers by Drag-and-Drop

The easiest way to copy a layer from one Photoshop document to another is to drag and drop it between documents. Start by launching both your documents in Photoshop. Notice that each document has its own tab in the Photoshop interface.

Multiple document tabs in the Photoshop interface.

In the menu at the top of the screen or window, click Window > Arrange > 2-up Vertical. This way, both of your documents will appear side by side.

Next, select the tab for the photo that you want to copy a layer from. In the “Layers” panel on the right sidebar of the Photoshop window, drag the layer that you want to copy and drop it onto the second photo on your screen.

Note: If you don’t see the Layers panel, click the Window > Layers option in the menu bar to enable it.

Drag a layer from the "Layers" panel in the Photoshop window

If you click your second photo’s tab, you’ll notice that the layer you copied is now available in it.

A layer has been copied to secondary document in the Photoshop window.

Pretty easy! Drag and drop layers as much as you want between images.

How to Copy Layers via the “Duplicate Layer” Option

Another way to copy a layer from one Photoshop document to another is to use the “Duplicate Layer” option. To do so, first, open both of your documents in Photoshop.

Select the document that you want to copy a layer from by clicking its tab near the top of the Photoshop window. In the “Layers” panel on the right sidebar, right-click the layer that you want to copy and select “Duplicate Layer.”

Select "Duplicate Layer."

In the Duplicate Layer window, click the drop-down menu next to “Document.” Select the name of the destination Photoshop document and click “OK” on the right.

Select a destination document in the "Duplicate Layer" window.

Your duplicated layer is now available in the other Photoshop document.

There are many more tricks like this out there if you take the time to learn more about Photoshop. Even if you don’t use Photoshop for a living, it’s almost always worth the time you put into it. Have fun!

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Mahesh Makvana is a freelance tech writer who specializes in writing how-to guides. He has been writing tech tutorials for over a decade now. He’s written for some of the prominent tech sites including MakeUseOf, MakeTechEasier, and Online Tech Tips.
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