I'm looking for an option to have two instances of the same image/file next to each other (dual view), so that I can edit one of them and see the difference between the original file and the edited one. However, I can't find it, not by looking around my self nor by Googling for it. There is one dual-view option (Window > Arrange > New window for <filename>), but any changes applied are applied to both, so this isn't what I'm looking for.

I doubt such an important function wouldn't be part of Adobe Photoshop... Does it exist or not? How can I find it?

The only way to achieve what I want right now, or at least as far as I can think of, is to make a copy of the original file and open it next to the file I'm going to edit.

  • Can't you just have a layer on top containing the original artwork and use that as a reference by turning the visibility on or off? Mar 25, 2014 at 13:03
  • Hm didn't think of that... Not ideal but indeed better than copying the file :)
    – paddotk
    Mar 26, 2014 at 16:14

3 Answers 3


Duplicate the existing file, in its current state. Use the original as your preview of new ideas and future changes. Use the the duplicate as the version to compare things back to.

There's also a layer mode change state thing in Photoshop CC, but it's not stable, doesn't account for all changes and isn't kind on memory, so I don't recommend it.

The manual approach of duplicating files is safer, faster, better.

  • I'm not sure I'm understanding you right... Isn't that what I alreay mentioned in the last sentence?
    – paddotk
    Mar 26, 2014 at 16:17
  • @Confused could you maybe elaborate or link to more info on the layer mode change state thing? Mar 26, 2014 at 17:20

There isn't a specific feature built into Photoshop to do this because it's so easy to simply use Image > Duplicate that it would be fairly redundant. In terms of engineering budget, the time would not be well spent. Contrast this with Lightroom or Camera Raw, where the duplication isn't available or practical, so a side-by-side "before and after" feature is desirable.

Photoshop's New Window feature, on the other hand, is important. For many retouching and tricky masking/compositing tasks, having one window zoomed way in to work on details while the other window is zoomed out to show the effect in context is tremendously useful, especially when they are locked together so that the views stay in sync as you move around in the image.


Rather than using Photoshop, you can use a dual file comparison using Pixelapse.


It offers stacked file and transitional slide comparison options too.

Pixelapse split comparison

Pixelapse Stack Comparison

Pixelapse slide comparison

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.