Illustrator Quick Tip: Exporting Layered Files to Photoshop

Illustrator Quick Tip: Exporting Layered Files to Photoshop

Most of the time when I transfer a vector from Illustrator to Photoshop, I use a simple copy and paste. But if you have a more complex vector with multiple layers, there’s actually a much better way by exporting the file to a PSD. Lets take a look at how to do this.


Lets start with a layered Illustrator file like the one below.

Select (File | Export), and from the Format drop down at the bottom of the Export window choose Photoshop (psd).

From the Options panel that appears next, choose CMYK or Grayscale from the Color Model drop down. Either of these options will give you the ability to select Write Layers, Preserve Text Editability, and Maximum Editability.

Now, when you open the newly create PSD file in Photoshop, you have the design divided up into layers, and the text remains editable. Simple as that!

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Nathan Brown

Nathan Brown is a graphic designer who loves working with various media. He combines traditional art styles with a little experimentation and digital flare. Nathan's works have contained everything from ink and paint to leaves and a box of dirt. Everything is fare game when it comes to his approach to art. Nathan lives in Austin, Texas where he has been working as a designer for 10 years. More of his work can be viewed at GraphicMonkee.

20 Comments

(+add yours)
  1. Great tip, Nathan! Can’t believe I am just now discovering this

    • Thank you so much! I never even thought about this! This is going to help me out aloooot, i cant believe all these years of working with illustrator and photoshop and i always had to annoyingly copy and paste.

  2. On the other hand, if you want your objects to be flattened as a single layer (I am not talking about flattening the whole PSD here), so you don’t get a lot of “junk layers” in your PSD, just group them and apply a rasterize filter to it.

  3. duncandraws

    cool tip..can you tell me how to go the opposite way. i.e. from photoshop files to illustrator.

  4. Nice! Great tip!

  5. Thanks for the pro tip. Big time saver!

  6. am

    why this way, when you can just export your ai file into psd?
    like this one http://vector.tutsplus.com/tutorials/tools-tips/quick-tip-illustrator-to-photoshop/

    • Ai Sir

      That link actually says the same exact thing, its actually a longer process man.

  7. am

    hey sorry!!! I post on the wrong page!!
    my mistake T_T I opened too many tabs.

    you sir do the right way! :D
    thank you.

    • Ai Sir

      Oh nevermind -_____- i just saw your next comment. lol!

  8. Sarah Northway

    My last few layers always get merged with this method, so I end up with “Layer 50 + Layer 49 + Layer 48 + Layer 47 + top” at the bottom. There doesn’t seem to be anything special about them, and in fact if I reorder the layers different ones get merged!

    This seems to be a known issue (http://forums.adobe.com/message/4362427) with no solution??

  9. OmiD

    How many maximum layers have PSD files in photoshop?
    1. unlimited
    2. 256
    3. 8000
    4. 16000

  10. Adam

    I’m attempting to batch process a bunch of EPS files to export as PSD. I recorded an action, which worked for one file. But when I try to batch a folder of EPS files with the same action, it creates AI, EPS, and PSD file for each image.

    Is there something I’m missing or not doing on the batch settings?

  11. Millay Shipley

    Great! I never knew!

  12. Mónica

    Perfect! thank you :)

  13. alfa

    Hi, how to keep exported layer in PS as vector shape not flat layer?

  14. Hello I have one eps flyer, i tried your way i cant able to open and edit in photoshop it just be showing single layer file in psd, can u tell me how to mockup in eps file. please help

  15. surya

    does not work ,.. photoshop only shows the single layer at last

  16. Now, this all works fine till “Now exit Quick Mask Mode, and should should have a selection like the one below

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