I have a black and white layer in Photoshop. I want to drag and drop that layer quickly on another layer as a layer mask. Is it possible?

Current workflow I'm using is:

  1. Select b/w layer
  2. Ctrl+A to select everything
  3. Ctrl+C to copy
  4. Create layer mask
  5. Alt click on that layer mask to make it active
  6. Ctrl+V to paste
  7. Alt click on that mask to "exit" it
  • I'm pretty sure you can make that into an action... Minus the dragging of course. I think I would apply the mask to the original image layer that I want to turn into a mask and then move it where it's needed. The action would be used like this: select a layer, trigger the action, drag the layer mask onto another layer, delete the original layer if you want.
    – Joonas
    Jan 26, 2019 at 17:04

2 Answers 2


No, you can't click and drag an image into a mask.

There are various ways you could shorten the process. Here's one way.

With the black and white layer fully visible, and any layers above that hidden, open the Channels tab.

  1. CTRL+click on any channel to make a selection.

  2. Go back to the layers, hide the black and white layer.

  3. Select the layer you want to add the mask to, and hit the layer mask icon.

The mask will be added to the layer.


As far as I know there's no any shortcut to do that, but you can use Calculations to get the layer content as a selection and make the mask.

  • Click the layer where the mask will be applied
  • Go to menu Image > Calculations
  • Once the selection is done, click on the Mask icon



  • The calculation will be made from/to the same document (Untitled-1 in this example)
  • Source 1: Layer 1, the layer to be converted as a mask
  • Channel: Gray
  • Source 2: Layer 2, the layer to be masked
  • Channel: Transparency
  • Blending: normal
  • Opacity: 100%
  • Result: Selection


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