I would like to be able to copy a layer, then find a different group and paste it there. Right now when I duplicate a layer it appears right under the source layer and I have to drug it through the whole list of groups and subgroups to place it in the proper place. (you see how painful this can be with a lot of groups.) The obvious Ctrl+C only copies the transparency. Is there simpler way to copy the layer and place it in a different location in the same document?

edit: working with shape layers

3 Answers 3


I'm guessing that you're missing the "Select All" step in this workflow.

  • Target the layer you want to copy.

  • Select all (Ctl-A).

  • Copy (Ctl-C).

  • Target the layer that will be below the new layer.

  • Paste.

  • this only copies the outline of the shape being copied.
    – marina
    Sep 7, 2012 at 1:36
  • Ah, it's a shape layer. What you're copying is the path, so that's what is pasted. For the workflow you're looking for, either convert to a Smart Object first, which will give you a raster layer on paste, or create a new solid color layer and paste in the path as a vector mask. Sep 7, 2012 at 1:45

You can hold the Alt/Option key down while you click and drag a layer in the Layers Panel to move it. When you let go, it'll drop a copy of the layer, including all styles and masks applied the layer.

  • this is actually a very useful feature, but I am looking to avoid dragging the layer through the list. I would like to copy the layer, find the proper group, paste.
    – marina
    Sep 7, 2012 at 1:45
  • I feel you, but I don't know of any way to duplicate to a specific layer location. There are the Command/Ctrl-[ and Command/Ctrl-] keys to move a layer up or down in the stack. Maybe that will help?
    – Scott
    Sep 7, 2012 at 1:52

Cheat. Create a new document, drag your layer to that, go back to the first document, scroll down in the Layers palette to where you want the new one, and drag it from your second document to your first.

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