I have done this successfully without problem before, even in this same file. My Ai file is long, with a bunch of smaller charts and graphics all done in the same fonts and so on.

Several of them, when I want to bring into Photoshop, I've been able to just use the Select tool and make a box and "copy" and then paste it into a new Photoshop doc as a Smart Object and it's been great.

However, on ONE of these, (and I didn't make the Ai files, btw, and the creator has long left the company), this isn't working. It's bringing SOME of the elements across but not all of them. I tried using "Group" in Ai first around the section I want, but that didn't help. I also looked to see if perhaps this was hiding under a layer, but I only have a white background layer and the Smart Object.

Can anyone tell from this description what's happening and how to fix it? I'm sorry I don't have more info -- I actually am a newbie at Ai, only used it a few times. I'm familiar with Photoshop though, but rarely use Smart Objects. I can't tell if the problem resides in the "Copy" part and some elements aren't coming across, or if the issue is more in the Photoshop side not displaying what's there correctly. If it helps, the elements not showing are a large title with some text. It seems to be highlighting as part of the "Group" when I group it and in the selection...but just doesn't show in Ps.

Thank you for any help you can offer!

  • Hard to help here ... What happens if you instead paste the clipboard contents into a new Illustrator document? Do all elements get copied? Could perhaps be a font problem. What if you first select the texts and expand using Object > Expand?
    – Wolff
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 16:23

1 Answer 1


Choose Object > Unlock all and try again...

Also make certain all Layers in the Layer Panel are unlocked.

The failure is most probably in the copy aspect of the operation. Locked items won't get selected, and therefore not copied either.

Worst case is you use File > Place in Photoshop rather than relying on the OS clipboard and copy/paste. Or even, just drag the .ai file from your desktop/finder/explorer and drop it on your open Photoshop document window. Placing a file with either of these two methods will achieve the same exact result in Photoshop as copying everything then pasting it.

  • Thank you, this was what was happening. Object > Unlock all was all that was needed. Really appreciate the tip! Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 16:15

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