How to Move an Image Between Files in Photoshop 

There are so many creative ways to merge photographs in Photoshop. But first, we must learn how to insert many photographs into a single document. Only then can we begin mixing images. 

Even merging two photographs together can seem like an overwhelming effort if you’re new to Photoshop. Photoshop opens each image in a new document, which explains why. The photographs must be in the same document in order to be blended or composited. 

My name is Aly, I have over five years of Photoshop experience and am Adobe Photoshop certified and I’m here to show you how you can move an image from one file to another in Adobe Photoshop.

How to Move an Image Between Files in Photoshop

Moving images between files is easy and there are multiple ways to do so by following these steps.

Method 1: Duplicate Layer in New Document

You can duplicate layers or images into a different project and move them between files in Photoshop.

Step 1: With your layers already up in Photoshop and another tab of your other project, go ahead and select the layer you want to move. Then go up to Layer > Duplicate Layer.

Step 2: Enter the layer name you wish to use for the duplicate layer in the dialogue box that displays. If you’re unsure, leave it as you can always change it later.  

Set the destination of your duplicate layer to the Photoshop document that is currently open and where you wish to relocate it. I wish to transfer my image from “Moving Image to File” to “Destination” in this example. That implies that the “Destination” is where the image will end up.

Once everything is in order, click OK. The duplicate of your layer will now be transferred to your other document.

Step 3: The layer has now been relocated and can be changed in your new document after switching tabs to view the other project. As you can see in my “Destination” tab the new layer from the other tab is now there. 

Method 2: Drag and Drop

Drag and drop photographs from your PC into a project is one of the simplest moving methods. Open your computer’s files in a new window while your preferred Photoshop file is open.

Step 1: Have your one project open in Photoshop, then simply locate the image(s) you want to add as layers to the canvas by finding them in your computer’s files or wherever you store them. 

Step 2: Take the image you found in your files, and drag it right onto the screen of your Photoshop screen. 

Every image will be inserted as a separate layer that can be altered. This way works best if other ways are not working for you. 

Method 3: Copy and Paste

Copy and paste is always available if moving files around with your mouse isn’t working out for you. Photoshop operates in a manner similar to how text is copied and pasted in a standard Word document.

Step 1: The file you want to move must first be copied into the other document. To copy your file, select Edit > Copy when the appropriate layer is selected in your layers panel.

Step 2: Switch over to the other tab where you want to put your copied image. Once you have done that go back up to Edit > Paste. Now your copied image/file should be there in the new project tab. 

Try utilizing a keyboard shortcut for copying and pasting layers to assist you in speeding up the process. Simply press Command + C on a Mac or Ctrl + C on a PC while your file is selected to copy. 

Press Command + V (Mac) or Ctrl + V (PC) to paste the file into the other project after switching to your other Photoshop document.

Final Thoughts

Now you understand how to move photos and layers across Photoshop documents. There is a technique here for any circumstance, whether you like to copy and paste, duplicate your files, or drag and drop them. 

It’s good to try different approaches at first before settling on the one that suits you the most. The approach that feels most natural is ultimately the best one.

Any questions about moving images between files in Photoshop? Leave a comment and let me know.

About Aly Walters
As a graphic designer who uses the entire Adobe Suite on a daily basis, Photoshop is my inspiration, especially since I'm Adobe certified and use it most often for my graphics and web-designed images.

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