Copy and Paste Paths in Photoshop CC

Copying and Pasting Paths in Photoshop CC

Paths are one of the essentials and most useful features of Adobe Photoshop. Beside use to create vector shapes and vector masks, paths can be used to create selection, to insert paths in Photoshop actions and so on... There are some changes how copy/paste path works in recent versions of Photoshop starting with Photoshop CC 2013.

What is new when pasting paths

In older versions of Photoshop like Photoshop CS6 default behavior was to paste copied path in the Paths panel unless you have targeted vector mask or shape layer. To copy path you simply select it then use the Copy command.

New behavior when copying and pasting paths is somewhat different because there are and some new options like the option to copy/paste layer(s) using the Copy command. Here is what will happen when copying data:


  • If you use Copy command with Shape layer in the Layers panel active (selected) but no path is selected then the entire layer will be copied to the clipboard. When pasting everything will be pasted including shape layer, vector mask and layer effects (when present).
  • Copy Shape layer in Photoshop with path deselected
    When you have shape layer active in the Layers panel but no path is selected, Photoshop will copy entire layer with all masks and layer effects associated with that layer.
  • If you Copy shape layer with path selected then the path will be copied - not entire layer. If you have multiple layers active and multiple paths selected then all paths will be copied. When pasting only copied path(s) will be pasted.
  • Copy Shape layer in Photoshop with path selected
    When you have shape layer active in the Layers panel and path is selected, Photoshop will copy path to the clipboard.
  • If you use Copy command with a layer which contains vector mask in the Layers panel but vector mask is not selected then entire layer including vector mask will be copied to the clipboard and later pasted.
  • Copy layer with vector mask which is not selected
    When you copy layer with vector mask but mask is not selected ( no tiny border around mask thumbnail) then Photoshop will copy entire layer with vector mask and layer effects associated with that layer.
  • If you use Copy command with a layer which contains vector mask active (selected) in the Layers panel and vector mask is selected then the path will be copied to the clipboard. 
  • Copy layer with vector mask which is selected
    When you copy layer with vector mask but mask is selected ( tiny border around mask thumbnail indicates that mask is selected) then Photoshop will copy vector mask's path to the clipboard.


Here is what will happen when pasting data:


  • If you have some layer like pixel-based layer active (selected) in the Layers panel then pasting path will automatically create a vector mask without any question or dialog.
  • If you have shape layer active in the Layers panel but no path is selected then pasting path will automatically replace vector shape on that layer without any question or dialog.
  • If you have shape layer active (selected) in the Layers panel and path is selected then pasting path will combine pasted path with the existing path to create vector shape on that layer without any question or dialog.
  • If you have a layer with a vector mask active in the Layers panel but vector mask is not selected then pasting path will automatically replace path on the vector mask without any question or dialog.
  • If you have a layer with a vector mask active in the Layers panel and vector mask is selected then pasting path will automatically combine pasted path with the existing path without any question or dialog.

Product used in this tutorial:
Adobe Photoshop CC 

Reference:

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