I need to save each layer of my psd document as a page in a multi-page PDF file (or as a single-page PDF file each as I can combine them later). File->save as->PDF works for 1 layer at a time, but I don't fancy doing this for all 150 pages of the document.

I also tried the File->Scripts->Export layers to files, but it runs incredibly slowly (actually slower than me doing it manually) and I also have to output them to images, then re-import them in acrobat which doesn't allow me (or I haven't found the option anyway) to save the document in the PDF/X-1a:2001 format I require (which is an option from the photoshop file->save as dialog).

Is there a better way? Even recommendations for another program are welcome, but obviously I would prefer Photoshop solutions.


You can use File->Scripts->Export layers to files to create PDFs. Choose PDF under File type in the Export Layers to Files dialog box. It's easy to miss since it's the option just above PSD.

As far as being slow... Don't know how big your image is or how many layers there are, but on an old (2008) MacBook Pro it exported a 2848x4288 pixel image's four layers in less than 30 seconds. I can't speak to your configuration. But at least it can run without having to convert the results from images to PDFs.

  • I believe at the beginning of the OP's second paragraph he states: "I also tried the File->Scripts->Export layers to files, but it runs incredibly slowly" so including it in your answer would technically not be an answer to his question, no? – DᴀʀᴛʜVᴀᴅᴇʀ Sep 18 '14 at 4:04
  • 1
    It's kind of in the grey area I think. The OP hadn't found that you can export layers directly to PDF which eliminates having to convert from image files to PDF. I thought that that might speed up the workflow enough to make Export to Layers a viable solution to the OP – Eric Sep 18 '14 at 15:47

I try to wrap my head around the thought processes where someone builds 150 Photoshop files that are destined for print production. If it's a book, manual, catalog, or something similar you sort of created way more work for yourself by not using proper tools from the start. But then again, maybe there's some reason, I'm not considering, in which you had to use Photoshop for every page.

But in any event, use Adobe Indesign. Place all the Photoshop pages into an Indesign document. Note, for press you'll need 148 or 152 pages - 150 pages will not work for printing (assuming it's a book or similar).

Then simply export your Indesign file for PDF/X-1a.

  • I must have missed the bit where they stated they needed the PDF for print production? – Nathan Hornby Jan 25 '16 at 13:25
  • I also needed to find a solution to this and the InDesign option worked well for me – user63917 Apr 4 '16 at 3:53

This is pretty easy with CS1-3 or CS6+:

  1. Install and run Trevor Morris' Layers to Comps script.
  2. Run the built-in "Layer Comps to PDF..." script.
  3. That's it.

If you're running CS4 or 5, the "Layer Comps to PDF..." script is not available. In that case, Eric's answer is probably the best you can do.

  • Hi Chad, welcome to GDSE and thanks for your answer. If you have any questions, please see the help center or ping one of us in Graphic Design Chat once your reputation is sufficient (20). Keep contributing and enjoy the site! – Vincent May 20 '15 at 11:03

I use PSD for most of my work. It doesn't make sense to pay for Indesign for the few moments I use it.

Best way to do this is export the layers to file as said above. File->Scripts->Export layers to files

What you want to do next is take all those files and merge them into one PDF. Photoshop allows you to do this easily File->Automate->PDF Presentation

  • This answer is better than the highest voted option because it preserves print quality type and similar objects without rasterizing them. You also get a multipage PDF as opposed to multiple files. – Etheryte Jan 31 '19 at 0:58
  • This is the best answer, generates one PDF in two simple steps! – gingo Jul 24 '19 at 19:57

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