A workflow I've long used in Photoshop is:

  • Open new canvas.
  • Place as Embedded (formerly just Place) a .jpg for composite.
    • Photoshop automatically places this as a smart object.
  • Double-click smart object to open in it's own window/tab (Photoshop opens this as a .psb) to make destructive or multi-layer edits.
  • Save and close .psb to return to canvas and see updates.

When I try to follow this workflow in the latest versions of Photoshop, it opens up the smart object as a .jpg and when I attempt to save and close, it wants to do a Save As to the file system, as if it's an externally linked file.

Is there a way to make it behave the way it used to? If not, how to do I make multi-layer edits to the embedded Smart Object?

  • How about just opening the jpg, right-click the background and turn it into a smart object and finally save as tif/psd?
    – Wolff
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 14:15

2 Answers 2


So I've discovered the source of the confusion—a placed object and a smart object are actually subtly different layer types in newer versions of PS despite looking exactly the same. So you can actually just right-click on the placed object in the layers palette and choose "Convert to Smart Object" just as you would a pasted layer. This re-enables the previous workflow.


When I place an image in the canvas, photoshop create a smart object. Then I convert the layer in further smart object. Inside the object you will find the image in smart object. I advice to keep smart object otherwise you transform it an flat image. And save.

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.