Design & UX
By Corrie Haffly

Copying Layer Styles in Photoshop

By Corrie Haffly

I just learned a new trick!!

I’ll explain my “old way” of doing things first.

Let’s say you have a layer in Photoshop and apply a Layer Style (drop shadow, stroke, bevel, etc…). The Layers palette shows which effects you’ve applied (see picture below). Quite often, I find myself needing to duplicate layer effects on other layers.


Now in the “old days,” I would right-click on the layer and choose “Copy Layer Style,” then right-click on the target layer and choose “Paste Layer Style.”

But those days are gone.

Now, I know that I can simply click on the “Effects” text, drag, and drop it on my target layer (actually, slightly “below” the layer – you’ll see what I mean when you try it) – and the effect will be applied immediately!

I am always ecstatic when I find ways to do things that involve less clicking.

By the way, you can also click-and-drag the individual effects to copy them as well. You just click the “Effects” text if you want to apply the whole lot of them.

If you enjoyed reading this post, you’ll love Learnable; the place to learn fresh skills and techniques from the masters. Members get instant access to all of SitePoint’s ebooks and interactive online courses, like Foundations of Photoshop.

Comments on this article are closed. Have a question about Photoshop? Why not ask it on our forums?

  • Nice trick, I never find these myself so this one seems useful.

  • mbstuart

    Great find! I’m a frequent right-click “copy layer style” user. And I hate using contextual menus, they are so clunky at times.

  • I’ve always done it the two click way as well. Thanks for the tip!

  • Very nice trick, alot better than the two click method.

  • MarkB

    Thanks for the tip! :)

    And I just realised you can clear a style by dragging it to the trash icon. Doh!

  • Coolio Iglesias!!!

  • Anonymous

    Great tip, thanxs loads

  • Chris

    Corrie – this might be a little more useful if you explained which versions of Photoshop you’re talking about when you say “old way” or “new way” – I don’t have PS in front of me to test.

  • Wow, I didn’t even know you could copy and paste the effects! I always manually entered them for each layer. I should go get a photoshop book. But then, I use Fireworks most of the time ;)

  • JP:N9

    Nice. I knew about copy layer styles, but was always annoyed that you had to copy all the styles when maybe you only wanted 1. Great tip!

  • Chris — I’m using Photoshop 7 but “new way” and “old way” simply means that I found a different way of doing things.

  • ha, nice trick. It’s amazing how all these little nuggets of info can save you time. Thanks…

  • Corrie, your blog is great. I’ve only recently been copying layer styles, and this is a good shortcut.

  • IL

    Hmm… nice one! Thanx.

  • zote63

    very kool…

  • Mark

    actually in CS2 I have to hold the ALT key (windows) to copy the style – else it moves it….

Get the latest in Design, once a week, for free.