Imagine you have lots of icon layers duplicated from same shape layers.

Is there any technique for apply the same changes of shape/layer effect to duplicated layers at the same time with the original ones?

I'm using copy and paste shape/layer attributes for now but it is too painful when you have too many layers to paste, especially when they are in many group folders.


CS6 can apply Lauer effects to groups, so you could put all the icons in a group and put the effects on the group.

  • Actually i forgot this info it's very helpful thanks. But is there any other way? Because i will lose my folder structure for the sake of my layer compositions (have different web page designs in them). – JacopKane Oct 16 '12 at 0:09

If I understood your question correctly: You want to change one original layer then all the duplicated layers are changed accordingly, right?

I usually select the layers of a repeating element (like a header, the navigation bar, a footer, or a button...etc.) and convert it into a "smart object". (right click on the selected layers)

When you duplicate the "smart object" layer, Photoshop assures you all the duplicates are just the alias of the original. When you need to update, just double click the thumbnail of the smart object layer. Photoshop would pop up a separate canvas. Make your changes, save and close. Your changes will be applied to all the alias layers.

Smart Object is very useful dealing with repeating elements. It's like the "symbol" in Illustrator and Flash. Smart Object can contain other Smart Objects too.

Btw, a shortcut for duplicating layer style: ("Alt" + Drag) the style effects from the origin layer to the target layer. You can ("alt"+drag) the entire effects, or just one effect, i.e. if you only want to copy the gradient overlay without others.

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