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enter image description here

Normally I would do these steps to achieve the image above:

1) Click 'A' from the Layers window.

2) Find 'B' from the Layers window, but not click it.

3) Cmd+Click 'B' from the Layers window to make a selection of ‘B’.

But once you accumulate 100+ layers, 2) & 3) becomes inconvenient because you have to relocate 'A' and click in the Layers window.

Is there a way to perform 3) straight from the Canvas with 'A' clicked in the Layers window?

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  • The best I could come up with: record a script using Scripting Listener where I make that selection from the active layer. Then assign a shortcut for the script. Then the workflow would be this: 1. select layer B in the canvas with Cmd+Alt+Right-click, 2. run the script, 3. select layer A in the canvas with Cmd+Alt+Right-click. And the non script version of this is to do step 2 from a PS Action or by manually doing it in the Layers panel. – Joonas Feb 19 at 13:27
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AFAIK you can't. But you can optimise your workflow:

  • Keep your files organised: Name your layers properly, group them. Try layer tag colours. If you're working with a lot of layers "Rectangle 1" and "Layer 22" are meaningless.
  • Do the selection first (RMB on canvas on top of B, +LMB to make the selection [CTRL+LMB on Windows]) then switch to A layer by RMB on canvas on top of the A area and find A in the drop-down menu.
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  • Yeah good point, I usually keep my layers heavily organized but just wished this was possible for the sake of convenience. – Paku Feb 13 at 4:01
  • What's that in Windowsese, please? – Vincent Feb 19 at 18:13
  • @Vincent CMD on OSX = CTRL on Windows, always. Ok, I'll edit... – Luciano Feb 20 at 9:12
  • Thanks a lot! I have no problem with Cmd or Option, but these symbols always throw me for a loop 😅 – Vincent Feb 20 at 10:27
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I don't think you can but I have some suggestions:

Save/load selection

You can save an active selection as a channel with Select > Save Selection. You can then either keep the Channels panel open and Cmd + left-click the channel or you can load the selection using Select > Load Selection.

Change your workflow

Of course I haven't seen what you work with, but it seems a bit strange that you need to reuse the same selection over and over. Why not just make a group with the selection as mask, place the different fills inside the group and toggle them as needed?

Switch to Illustrator

If you are making lots of similar elements it might be easier to do in a vector based application like Illustrator (or even InDesign). Then you can spread out your buttons (or whatever) in X/Y instead of stacking them in Z. Asset export can be automatized.

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