I bought a psd file that has lots of buttons - each button is a layer group.

What's a good way to split the file so that each button is it's own file - with its layers intact. I know how to turn off layers, but the resulting file has too large a Canvas size..(as well as being too big..)

  • I'm wondering, what's the reason?
    – Joonas
    Aug 11, 2012 at 19:16
  • Oh, I'm writing an iOS app, and I want to use some, but not all of the buttons. Should I just import the file, and code the coordinates?
    – ICL1901
    Aug 11, 2012 at 20:01
  • I'm still not completely sure about the psd files.. I hope you have mac, cause this is awesome app for mac macrabbit.com/slicy super easy and fast to use.
    – Joonas
    Aug 11, 2012 at 20:23
  • Joonas, that was fine. If you change this to the answer, I can credit you.. And yep, do have a Mac.
    – ICL1901
    Aug 12, 2012 at 5:26

4 Answers 4


Awesome mac only app for extracting objects out of a .psd file.


enter image description here


To do exactly what you asked the best is to convert each folder into a smart object, open it and then hit save as.

But for exporting buttons and button states, I would suggest looking into layer comps (in combination with slices).


Joonas and KMSTR's answers are good. Slicy and Smart Objects can be handy.

Another option is selecting each group and converting it to a bitmap layer, just to aid exporting. Once you've converted each group to a bitmap layer, you can use File → Scripts → Export Layers to Files to export each layer as a file. This can also optionally trim files to the smallest possible dimensions.

You could even automate converting each group to a layer, by creating an Action that does the equivalent of merging, then advanced to the next group down.

You'll have to ensure all groups are closed for this to work. This can be done by command-option-clicking a top level group to close it.

I've built the Action for you, just in case. Clicking it many times, or assigning it to a keyboard shortcut will let you storm through those groups, then export.

Merge then advance

PS: Make sure you do this to a duplicate of the document. This isn't something you'd want to do to the original.

  • Thank you Marc. Very thoughtful. I think this will come in useful quite often.. Many thanks.
    – ICL1901
    Sep 29, 2012 at 11:17

Yet another approach is to:

  1. Clone your psd (copy it to another name or just File->Save As to another name)
  2. In the Layers pane, right-click on the main groups you want to delete and hit Delete Group (followed by hitting Group and Contents in the following dialogue window). Also, right-click on any single layers you don't want and hitting Delete Layer.

Then save the resulting file. I ran through this with Photoshop (CC as it happens) in order to reduce a large psd (280mb) that was taking my computer a while to open, to a smaller psd (30mb) with just the layers I cared about at the moment.

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