Duplicating Layer Effects


Today’s Question: When creating a composite image in Photoshop, I sometimes want to apply a layer effect, such as a drop shadow, to multiple layers with the same settings. Is there a way to apply a layer effect to more than one layer at a time?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can’t simply apply the same layer effect to multiple selected image layers in Photoshop, but you can copy effects from one layer and paste them to one or more other layers on the Layers panel.

More Detail: Layer effects can be added to the active layer on the Layers panel by clicking the “fx” button at the bottom of the panel and selecting the type of effect you want to apply. While it is possible to select multiple layers on the Layers panel, the layer effects option is not available when you’ve selected multiple layers.

However, you can still copy a layer effect from one layer and then paste those settings to one or more other layers.

Start by applying the layer effects with the settings you’d like to one of the layers. When you’ve finalized the effect, right click on the name of the layer and choose “Copy Layer Style” from the popup menu. If you want to paste the effect to more than one layer, select those layers at this point. Then right-click on the name of the layer (or one of the selected layers) and choose “Paste Layer Style” from the popup menu.

After you’ve pasted the layer style to one or more additional layers, you can still go back and refine the settings for each individual layer. For example, if the various layers contain objects of different sizes you may want to adjust the settings for the layer styles based on that sizing. To change the settings for a layer style for an image layer simply double-click the name of the layer effect below the layer you want to make changes for.