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Quick Tip #13 – Copying and Aligning Layers

by SnickerdoodleDesigns on 19 January 2013
in Designer Tools & Tips,Elements (PSE),Photoshop CS+,Tutorials Pin this scrappy stuff!

This week I was showing someone how to create a very simple button.  Without thinking, I used a shortcut that I use a lot!  “Whoa!” they exclaimed!  “How did you just do that??”

So let me tell you about it!  While I’m at it, we might as well also create a button.

Create a new blank document. I started with a 600 x 600 pixel document.  Create the shape you would like your button to be.  I created just a simple circle.

Next, create a smaller circle to be used as one of the button holes.  I changed my foreground color to black, for the button hole.  Any color will be fine. We are just concerned with getting a smaller circle on our button, to be used as the button hole.

We could take the time to actually make sure the button is centered in our document by using Guidelines, and then be sure our button hole is on the middle horizontal axis of the button, but today I’m just going to eye-ball it. Place your button hole shape slightly to the left of the center of the button.

Now comes the tip……….

Hold down your Alt key, click on the button hole, then while still holding down the Alt key and button on your mouse, also press and hold the Shift key – then drag your button hole to the right.  The combination of the Alt and Shift keys, will duplicate the hole and constrain the movement of the duplicated hole to a vertical slide.  You will not be able to move the duplicated hole in a horizontal direction (up or down).  Now you have two holes exactly in line with each other.

Alternatively, if you hold down your Alt key, click on the button hole (and do NOT click on the Shift key), you will be able to move your duplicated button hole to the right, but you will also be able to move it up and down horizontally, if you so choose.  This method is a GREAT help when you are duplicating items for a layout (like little flowers or buttons or just anything that you need duplicates of)!

So now let’s just finish this little button.

Merge your two button hole layers by highlighting both layers, right clicking, Merge Shapes. Click on the thumbnail of the merged layers to select the button holes.

Next select your original button-shape layer, and hit delete. This will delete the button hole shapes from your button.  Now make your button hole shapes invisible by clicking on the eye icon on their layer.

And now you have a button that you can color, clip a paper to, or even add a style to!

Here I have added a Silver Layer Style to my button, to create a unique element!

And it’s just that easy!

I love this tip and use it all the time! I hope you find it useful too!  It does work in Adobe Photoshop Elements 11, but I have not tested it in other PSE versions.

The Silver Style used in this tutorial is from my Silver Styles pack found in my SnickerdoodleDesigns Commercial Use store.



{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rebecca 19 January 2013 at 8:15 pm

This is a GREAT tip! I use this all the time to duplicate. It’s especially nice when making clusters. Thanks for sharing Karen!


2 Michelle Bradshaw 19 January 2013 at 8:36 pm

Super tip and yes, it works in all versions of PSE>


3 Danielle 20 January 2013 at 2:15 pm

Love the tutorial – many thanks!


4 Pssequimages 20 January 2013 at 4:34 pm

Best of the best —tips! Thanks, Karen.


5 Jill 21 January 2013 at 3:40 am

Great tip … something I do all the time … BUT, being on a Mac I have to use Opt/Shift since the Mac doesn’t have an Alt key. ;-)


6 Su Hall 22 January 2013 at 8:56 pm

You can also use the ‘Alt’ key in the Layers Palette to copy layers and layer styles, too. Just depress ‘Alt’, then click and drag on a layer to copy it, or, click on the ‘fx’ symbol that represents the styles applied to that layer and drag it to other layers.
I love PS!
Thank you for your cool tips!



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