I'm trying to export an AI file, which has a ton of sublayers under one layer and some groups and stuff. I've tried exporting to PSD, following the guidelines I've found online (Write Layers and whatever else ticked), but it keeps coming through as only a single layer. I'm not sure exactly what might be causing all of the layers to merge. May I get some assistance?

For reference, this is the Layers panel:



  • 1
    They arent layers... thats just the natute of vectpr graphics everything you do is an object. If you want to export layers then use main level layers.
    – joojaa
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 15:38

5 Answers 5


That screen shot of the Layers Panel shows only ONE layer. So, of course, if you export it you'll only get one layer in the export.

If you want multiple layers exported, the Illustrator file must have multiple layers.

The Layers Panel in Illustrator is actually more like a "layers and objects panel". It shows not only layers, but each object on that layer as well. Objects do not export as separate layers, because they aren't layers.


When you export from Illustrator to PSD format, in export dialog in options section select write layers and maximum editability. Only compound paths exports as vector.

  • That's exactly what I've tried ('I've tried exporting to PSD following the guidelines... Write Layers and whatever else ticked')
    – bluebu
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 11:57
  • maybe you have transparent objects that flatten all artwork when exporting
    – Lesha
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 14:08

You should ungroup everything first, and make sure not to use blending modes at all. Also set the color mode to RGB not the CMYK.

There you'd be good to go.


I run into this issue all the time also. Sometimes it flattens everything - sometimes it separates. I think the above answer is most correct after just doing this. If you have any effect layers / opacity effects like multiply ect. I think you need to rasterise it first. I just did this - got about an 80% success rate out of each layer. It still never works 100%.

  • In this particular question the user only has one layer in Illustrator. That is why they are only seeing one layer in Photoshop. For issues with actual multi-layered AI files see here: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/25020/… The export is 100% predictable once you understand why AI layers may get merged.
    – Scott
    Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 19:03

You have to rasterize the image made in illustrator

Save all your groups in different layers too.

Just do Control/CMD + A -> effects -> Rasterize

That happens because Photoshop doesn't deal with vector images so they have to be rasterized first!

  • 1
    Actually.. uhm.... no.
    – Scott
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 15:59

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.