I'm designing a cardgame with about 20 different cards. Every card has a unique text on it and they all share the same cardframe that i'm designing. I'm trying to think of a clever way to make some sort of template for printing the cards. I'm thinking 9 cards will fit on a A4 sheet of paper so i could make new photoshop projects for every sheet of cards that i want to print.

This would work for what I want to do, but it would be a bit tedious to edit whenever i would later decide to make a change in the cardframe, as I would have to manually edit every cardframe on all of the print sheets. Additionally it would be a hassle to have to rearrange the print sheets whenever i would decide to add new cards or remove certain cards.

Is there a better way, perhaps using other software, to tackle this problem in such a way that whenever I update my design it automatically updates for every card. This is my main issue i want to tackle, the secondary being to find a method with which I can have my entire collection of cards in one printable project in which i can easily remove and add card as well as print the entire collection at once.

  • Are you planning on printing the cards with your own personal printer? You could use Data Merge (I would use InDesign) or imposition software to arrange your graphics for print.
    – AndrewH
    Jun 28, 2021 at 13:39

2 Answers 2


I wouldn't do the page layout in Photoshop TBH. It's the wrong kind of software entirely.

I am making some assumptions here; that your card background image is something created in Photoshop, and that you are doing the rest of the design, text and layout in Illustrator, since you added both these tags to your question. You could also do this in InDesign, but I digress.


  1. Save the Photoshop PSD file somewhere you can easily find it again. Then click and drag the file into Illustrator, and it will become a linked file.

  2. Add some text/vector graphics on top of it in Illustrator to create your basic design, then group the whole card design when you have finished it, then copy and paste it several times, laying it out as you'd like on an A4 sheet. All the cards will now contain the linked PSD.

  3. Edit the text/graphics on each card as required, and finally save your AI file, preferably in the same folder as the PSD file is located.

  4. When you need to update the linked PSD, open it in Photoshop, Paste a new image, then Save it to overwrite the existing PSD.

  5. When you return to Illustrator it will ask you to update the linked file, click OK.

  • thanks. i didn't know about linked files.
    – TomPSD
    Jun 28, 2021 at 16:51

You can use Linked Smart Objects for this: https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/using/create-smart-objects.html

Basically, an external file is referenced into a psd. If you alter the external file, it propagates into that psd.

Make a psd for the frame. Make new psds for the 20 cards. Reference the frame into a new top layer of all the card psds. Any changes to the frame psd will now propagate into all the cards.

Make a new psd for the large print collection. Reference all the card psds into this file and arrange as you wish.

  • thanks, i didn't know about linked smart objects.
    – TomPSD
    Jun 28, 2021 at 16:51

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