Is there a way to export large multi-layered Illustrator file to Photoshop?

When I export with preserve layers and text edit-ability, the complex layers are flattened. I've reorganized my layers to have simple groupings but that's time consuming.

Is there a more effective way of doing this? Or script to automate it?

1 Answer 1


Layers get flattened and/or merged in order to maintain appearance.

Most often layers or artwork which utilizes transparency in Illustrator (this includes any blending modes) will be flattened/merged with the layers below the transparency.

If you remove all transparency (and blending modes) from the Illustrator file you should get all layers in the export to Photoshop. You may then be able to adjust the Photoshop layers and add back blending modes/transparency where desired.

You also want to export to the same color mode your Illustrator document is in. i.e. Export a CMYK Illustrator file to CMYK Photoshop, don't mix color modes.

I'm not aware of a script for exporting with these restrictions in mind.

  • Nowadays, some blending modes can make their way from Illustrator to Photoshop during an export. It depends on how things are layered. It can be frustrating to figure out exactly how you need to layer things though. Oct 21, 2021 at 19:12
  • It's always been pretty frustrating @TonyTopper :) It always feels, to me, like a feature the AI team developed 'cuz they were told to, not 'cuz they wanted to. -- Admittedly it's been a couple versions since I tried the export layered feature.
    – Scott
    Oct 21, 2021 at 19:15

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