I'm using Photoshop CS6 for the first time. I see that the shapes have been changed and have heard about how it's all true vector behavior now so it's great. However, there's one thing I used to be able to do quickly that I can't seem to do now and was wondering if you could give me a tip.

In older Photoshop versions, I could hold down alt while I had the shapes tool selected and select a new fill color from anywhere in my image regardless of which layer it was on. Now, it seems like I can only color sample from a layer if I have the layer that it's on selected and then when I go back to draw on the layer with the shapes again, the color changes back to whatever the first shape fill color was.

Does this mean that every time I want to change the fill color before drawing a shape, I have to select the fill color on the top bar and then pick one if I actually want it to stick or what? Not sure if this makes sense but I just want to be able to quickly draw shapes of different colors on the same layer without a hassle like I used to.

Is there a way to turn off the vector behavior? Is there another way to do this quickly? Thanks!

Update: I see now that I have to hit enter to "deselect" the last shape I made before I can draw another one and toggle the eyedropper again so that helps but it still doesn't sample from all layers even though I have that option checked on the actual eyedropper tool itself. Is it not able to do that when it's just the eyedropper you're toggling off another tool?

2 Answers 2


Select the Eyedropper tool.

In the Control Bar across the top of the screen, change the Sample drop down menu to "All Layers"


  • Thanks but I already have that set. It works when I'm using the eyedropper tool but not when I TOGGLE to the eyedropper tool from the shape tool using ALT. It only samples from the layer I have selected and even if I change to the layer I want to get the sample, when I click BACK to the layer I want the shape on, the fill color changes back anyway.
    – Anon
    Commented Nov 25, 2012 at 22:32
  • In CS6 the Alt key does not toggle to the eyedropper tool. It toggles to the subtract shape option. So, what you are posting isn't even posible and therefore I don't know how to help you. If you draw a shape, tap the i eye, you can sample from anywhere. Shapes are different in CS6 and won't automatically change colors if you sample something new. Double-click the shape layer.. sample any color to change the shape color.
    – Scott
    Commented Nov 25, 2012 at 22:43
  • Sorry, better detail. I click the shapes tool. If I push ALT before drawing the shape, yes it toggles the eyedropper and I can sample any color. I let go of ALT and draw a shape. Once the shape is drawn, I can't toggle the eyedropper again until I hit "enter". Then I can toggle the dropper again. But even though I still have the shape tool selected, the sampling changes the foreground color, not the shape fill color like the first time. So you're saying in CS6 I have to double click the shape layer first? I'll give that a shot, thanks!!!
    – Anon
    Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 0:16
  • Yes. CS6's real vector shapes changed things a bit. The shape color won't auto-change just because the foreground color changes. It just no longer works that way. Double click the shape layer or use the control bar to change the fill color of a shape.
    – Scott
    Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 1:26

Here's one quick way to do it:

  1. Select the brush tool by pressing B.
  2. Hold alt and click the colour you'd like to sample.
  3. With alt still held down, press delete.

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