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In Photoshop, I can open two separate files and put them side-by-side to compare them. But can I do this with the same file? Can I open the same file in two different "tabs" in one Photoshop window, and put them side-by-side to compare them? I would be turning on/off layers in each instance.

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Very surprised people answer with a definite "no", when this feature does exist! – Adam Harte Feb 22 '11 at 0:27
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Looks like this feature does exist. It is called "New Window for". You can find it under:

Window > Arrange > New Window For [Image File Name]

Here is a tutorial: Dual View Photo Editing In Photoshop

And from the Adobe site:

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OP asked if it was possible to open 2 instances of the same file, not open a new window view of the file. This still doesn't open the file twice, and it lacks the features that OP asked about, specifically "turning on/off layers in each instance". The best option here is a copy of the file. – Joe Internet Feb 22 '11 at 4:43

Go to Window > History.

At the bottom right side of the panel, click on the first button that says "Create new document from current state", and you'll have a duplicate of your document.

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Yes you can, just open the file, go to File/Save As a Copy, and re-name the file. Once complete, open the copy next to the original. Voila.

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If you mean having a copy without messing the original file, go to ImageDuplicate.

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When an application opens a file for editing, it typically locks the file to prevent another program from making changes to it while it's opened. Some applications will open a file and release the lock, but they must have some mechanism in place to monitor the file on disk to be aware of changes. You'll see this behaviour a lot in applications that deal with text - editors & word processors.

For Photoshop to open multiple instances of the same file (ie, not a duplicate) would require a sophisticated method to constantly manage the locking and monitoring of the file for changes. This would really offer no benefit to the end user, when they could simply work with a copy of the file.

So, basically, no. :-)

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Very narrow-minded/uncreative to say "This would really offer no benefit to the end user". I can see a bunch of usages, and obviously Adobe did too, because the feature has been there for a few versions now. See my own answer for a link showing one usage. – Adam Harte Feb 22 '11 at 0:33
The "no benefit" statement refers to the need for Adobe to implement a sophisticated file-locking mechanism, not viewing multiple images side by side. – Joe Internet Feb 22 '11 at 4:42

If the file is large, you could either use the Command Prompt or a GUI tool like Link Shell Extension to make a hardlink of your original file. That'd save you the time of copying (or saving a copy).

While your files are identical in this instance, for comparing 2 different PSDs, you might find the freeware ComparePSD to be of use.

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