Importing Layers from Another Document

Nothing could be more straightforward than importing a layer from another document. You do need to be aware of a few characteristics of the process, but generally speaking, it's just a question of having the two documents open (the target and the source) and then dragging the layers from the source to the target. Just be aware of the following:

■ You can drag the source layers from the document window or from the Layers palette. The latter is probably more elegant and less prone to errors.

■ When you drop the layers into the target document's window, hold down the Shift key in order to center the incoming content, otherwise, it will be placed wherever you happen to drop it. If the two documents have the same dimensions, the content will appear to pin register.

■ You can import more than one layer or group. No need to link them, as in the olden days; just select the layers or groups and then drag and drop

NOTE Importing multiple files as layers requires scripting because there is no hardwired command. You can write your own or download one written by Trevor Morris of GFX. The script not only imports multiple files as layers but also names the layers using the filenames. See

Just as there is no hard-wired command to import files as layers, the converse is also true: There is no hard-wired command to export layers as separate files. Fortunately, the solution is similar but closer to home. Photoshop ships with a readymade script.

To invoke the command, choose File ^ Scripts Export Layers to Files. In the dialog box (Figure 6-15), you can specify a location and a filename prefix. You can also select options for each file format, such as compression, quality, ICC profile embedding, and bit depth.

You can save files in the following formats: PSD, TIFF, PDF, JPEG, BMP, and TARGA. Unfortunately, you cannot save in the Macromedia Flash (SWF) file format. To do that, you need to open the document in ImageReady: File ^ Edit in ImageReady or Ctrl+Shift+M (Windows), ^+Shift+M (Mac OS). The File ^ Export^ Layers as Files command in ImageReady is hard wired and has many more options. Because ImageReady is primarily designed to save images for the screen, you cannot save as TIFF, PDF, or BMP. However, you can save in all the Web-supported formats. You can also elect which layers you want to export, something you cannot do with the script in Photoshop. Furthermore, you can specify a file format for each layer by selecting it from the Layer pop-up menu and then choosing a setting in the File Formats section of the dialog box. You can specify filenaming conventions by clicking the Set button in the File Options section of the dialog box; also, when saving in the SWF format, you can set options for appearance, dynamic text, and bitmap options.

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