Photoshop gives a lot of power for web designers using smart objects. I can create re-usable elements like buttons, drop downs etc. using smart objects and sue them across a project. Later if I need to make a change, I can only edit that smart object and the change will show everywhere I have used that smart object. Can I use some same mechanism with colorus and fill also? What I want to achieve is lets say use Orange colour as base colour in my design, later if the client wants green colour, I want to change that orange colour at one place and somehow change it everywhere. Is that possible somehow?

The thing that I am trying to achieve is just create a master gradient or fill and use it in multiple places. Later if I want to change the color, I only change at one place.

1 Answer 1


Yes. Kind of.

You can use a Linked Smart Object to provide a colour fill or gradient, then use a vector mask on the Linked Smart Object, or use it as part of a Clipping Mask to apply a colour to something else.

It’s a bit of a hack, but definitely works, and works well.

To do this:

  • Create a small document and fill it with a single colour (it only needs to be 1×1pixels, but slightly larger may be easier to manage).
  • Save it (“colour.psd” in this example).
  • Create a new document. This is the one you’ll do most of the work in (“design.psd” in this example).
  • Use File → Placed to place the document with the colour as a Linked Smart Object.
  • You can now give the Linked Smart Object layer a vector mask.
  • Editing colour.psd will now change the colour used in design.psd.

Please note that you will need to open design.psd and update it for the changes to take effect.

Linked Smart Objects are pretty powerful, and they can help you manage large documents and work with colours in an almost CSS-like way.

I’ve explored the possibilities in a bit more detail here: Experimenting with linked Smart Objects

  • WoW, thanks Marcs, this is so cool. I wasn't aware of this.
    – Afraz Ali
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 5:12
  • Why linked smart object? I mean. I guess it's great it you have more than one project file with same color scheme, but otherwise it could be a normal embedded smart object.
    – Joonas
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 5:14
  • I was also not clear about this feature but you can read more about the difference here. designeasy.co/2014/08/…
    – Afraz Ali
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 5:29

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