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Creating a Copy to Work on in Photoshop

Sometimes I like to save an image and continue to work on it. There’s a lot of ways Photoshop allows you to do that but we’ll have a look at just a couple of them here. What we’re after is to be able to work on a new version of our image without having to save and reopen an image.

Opening a New Copy of the Image With Options


Choosing duplicate from the Image menu brings up this dialogue box;


This allows us to give a name to our new document. By default Photoshop puts the current image name, in this case ‘Light_House’ and adds ‘Copy’.

We have the option here of selection the Duplicate Merged Layers Only check box. If we do then Photoshop will merge all the layers in the new document. It does this behind the scenes so doesn’t affect our original image.

Opening a New Copy of the Image Without Options


I like having my History palette nice and handy, grouped with Layers, Channels and Paths, so this button is always easy to find too.

This button again creates a new document but flattens and renames the new image behind the scenes. Interestingly, the new document name is taken from the current History state. So, in our example above the new document is called ‘Layer Via Copy’. (Sadly there’s no way to interrupt the process with the my beloved Alt key)

Is this The Best Way To Work?

There;s some pitfalls. Neither your original image nor its copy are saved during the process and it’s very easy to forget to save the first image. Should there be a problem with your computer you could loose both images.

If you’re after having different versions of an image then Snapshots are the way to go really, creating various versions of an image within the document. For experimenting, or having a version outside the document, that maybe you don’t want going to the client, either of the above can really help.

About Eric Renno (434 Articles)
Eric’s background in video editing with Adobe Premier led to his interest, and then obsession, with Photoshop. Starting TipSquirrel.com as a hobby he is proud to have gathered together and be a part of The Photoshop Nuts. Known as only “TipSquirrel” for two years, Eric ‘went public’ when he was a finalist in The Next Adobe Photoshop Evangelist competition. He’s also been a finalist in Deke’s Techniques Photoshop Challenge. While still taking on some freelance work, Eric has recently become a Lecturer at Peterborough’s Media and Journalism Centre where he enjoys sharing his knowledge as well as learning new skills. This realisation that he loves to teach has made Eric look at altering his career path.

2 Comments on Creating a Copy to Work on in Photoshop

  1. nice tutorial thanks

  2. There is another ways to duplicate image: with open image (usually background layer) right click on it and choose Duplicate Layer then in Duplicate Layer dialog choose New from document drop down list. When you have floating window in Photoshop right click on top (where is your file name information) and choose Duplicate. By the way you can use First snapshot (Automatically Create First Snapshot in History Options selected)to duplicate image and Ps CS5 does not flatten image when creating New document from current state (third snapshot).

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