I am trying to paste a layer into a mask, and for some reason I cannot do this in my file. The steps I follow are:

  1. Ctrl+A and copy my source layer; it's Layer 1 in my screenshot
  2. Alt+click the mask of the destination layer (=Hue/Saturation), but this doesn't do anything.
  3. Paste into the layer mask; this also doesn't do anything.

I tested in a new file and I could confirm that these steps work. But for some reason it doesn't work in the file I have been working on.

I don't know if it's related, but the selected layer is purple in the layers panel, not light grey. I don't know why this is happening. I don't know what it means.

Photoshop selected layer is purple

Any advice would be appreciated.

  • In the screen shot, Layer 1 is the source layer, the target is the Hue/Saturation layer. The main point of the screenshot was to show the purple color I was referring to in my question.
    – user668074
    Dec 16, 2021 at 11:54

1 Answer 1


Highlight the mask in the Chanels Panel, then paste.

The important aspect is that the visibility of the mask be on in the Channels Panel. If one Option/Alt+clicks a layer mask, that is a shortcut to turn on the visibility of the mask channel.

  • Ok, that seems to work, thank you! But I still don't understand why the normal method isn't working
    – user668074
    Dec 14, 2021 at 3:47
  • I don't understand "normal method"... to paste onto a layer mask, as far as I know, one has always had to highlight the mask in the Channels Panel.
    – Scott
    Dec 14, 2021 at 5:38
  • Basically the method outline here: studioratonline.com/blog/paste-into-layer-mask-photoshop
    – user668074
    Dec 14, 2021 at 6:36
  • --"Hold Alt on your keyboard and click the Layer Mask thumbnail. This will open the Layer Mask." -- the alt key + click makes the mask active in the Channel Panel. He's merely using a shortcut.
    – Scott
    Dec 14, 2021 at 6:42

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