How To Duplicate Layers In Photoshop

One of the most frequently used tasks in Photoshop is duplicating layers. Duplicating makes it easier to make quick adjustments and enhances your overall workflow. Particularly when you have complicated layer masks or selections, copying layers save a ton of time. Although extremely important to your workflow, duplicating layers in Photoshop isn’t inherently obvious. To make life easy, here are six different ways you can duplicate layers in Photoshop, including a few useful shortcuts!

Best Shortcuts To Duplicate Layers In Photoshop

The most efficient way to do this is by using a keyboard shortcut. Here are two of the two best keyboard shortcut to duplicate layers in Photoshop!

#1. Command/Control + J

With your layer selected, press Command + J (Mac) or Control + J (PC) to duplicate the layer.

#2. Hold Alt Or Option

Click on any layer in your layers panel the hold Option (Mac) or Alt (PC) and click and drag your layer upwards. Let go of your mouse to duplicate the layer.

The beauty with this shortcut is you can also duplicate layers in your canvas as well. While using your move tool, select a layer in your canvas to adjust.

Next, hold Option (Mac) or Alt (PC) and click and drag your layer into a new position. You will now have a duplicate layer in your canvas, and a new layer will appear in your Layers panel!

Other Ways To Duplicate Layers

#3. Click And Drag Layer To New Layer Icon

Highlight the layer you want to duplicate. Click and drag it down to the new layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.

#4. Right Click Method

Right-click on any layer and select ‘duplicate layer’ to create a copy of the layer.

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This is another excellent option if you don’t mind some extra clicking.

#5. Using The Layer Menu

Select any layer and go up to Layer > Duplicate Layer. 

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A new dialogue box will appear where you can rename the layer before it is duplicated.

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Leave the document option as is and click OK.

How To Duplicate Multiple Layers At Once

If you want to duplicate multiple layers together, all you need to do is select them!

Hold Command (Mac) or Control (PC) and click on the layers you want to duplicate. As long as you hold those buttons, you’ll continue to add to your selection.

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To speed up the process, you can select a series of layers by holding Shift and clicking between two layers. Now all the layers between your two click points will be highlighted!

With a few layers selected, you can now use any of the methods you’ve learned so far. The best way is just to press Command + J (MAC) or Control + J (PC) to duplicate multiple layers at once.

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How To Duplicate Layers Into A New Window

In some cases, you may want to duplicate a layer into an entirely new tab or another project. Photoshop makes this easy using the Layer Menu.

With your layer selected, go up to Layer > Duplicate Layer. 

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Change the document type to ‘new’ to duplicate the layer into a new tab.

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If you already have another project open that you want to use, you can also select that here.

Rename the layer as necessary and click OK.

Now your layer will be duplicated into an entirely different window that’s separate from the original project.

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Using this method is excellent since you can set the destination and layer name all at the same time.

Conclusion

There are so many different ways you can duplicate layers in Photoshop. Depending on your workflow preferences, these steps can range from a simple keyboard shortcut to a more manual workaround using menus. Regardless of which method you use, learning how to duplicate layers will significantly improve how you work in Photoshop!

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– Brendan 🙂