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How to Duplicate in Photoshop

Published: 21/05/2021

The flexibility to duplicate objects, layers, and even whole images in Adobe Photoshop CC opens the world for endless possibilities in creative editing. This type of image manipulation is one of the reasons why Photoshop is a tremendously popular tool. Let us explore how to duplicate in Photoshop using various methods so you can improve your workflow. 

How to Duplicate in Photoshop Using Multiple Methods

While editing, we often come up with ideas for which we need to make duplicates of an object, layer, or image. For instance, to enhance the look of our real estate images, we may need to add some appealing things to them. Or, we might want duplicates of an image so that we can work on it in different ways and produce unique versions of each view.

Duplication saves your time by limiting the need to add the same effect (as in layers) again and again. All you need to do is make a duplicate and use it on the same image or another one for super quick editing. 

As Photoshop’s claim to fame is its array of features, there are multiple methods to duplicate in the program. We will guide you on how to copy objects, layers, and images using numerous techniques so that you can pick any of them for your next editing session.

How to Duplicate Objects

Making a duplicate of an object in Photoshop is as simple as making a selection around it, copy it using any of the methods explained below, and pasting it on another section of the image. You can then adjust the final result by using erase tool.

Duplicate Using Dragging Option

  1. Open your image in Adobe Photoshop CC.
Opening an image to be duplicated in Photoshop
  1. Make a duplicate layer of your background. Select the Layer in the panel, and press CTRL + J on Windows or CMD + J on Mac. this step is crucial if you want a non-destructive editing process where your original image stays unaffected.
  2. Now select the new duplicate layer, and make a selection around the object that you intend to duplicate. 
  3. Use any of the selection tools present in the toolbar depending upon the precision and shape required. You can use the Rectangular Marquee tool for a rectangular selection or the Lasso tool for a freehand selection.
  4. The quick selection tool forms a selection based on matching pixels surrounding the selection. In contrast, the Magic Wand tool will select based on color tones.
  5. Once you have made the selection, switch to the Move tool by pressing V or choosing it from the toolbar.
  6. Press and hold ALT on Windows, or OPT on Mac, and drag the object. You will see that a duplicate is formed, which you can place anywhere that you desire.
  7. This method of object duplication is helpful when you need to copy a small object several times. You can see how we added a few small elements in the image using this method.
Duplicating in Photoshop using the dragging option

Duplicate Using Keyboard Shortcuts

  1. Select an area required for duplication.
  2. Press CTRL + C (Windows) or CMD + C (Mac) to make a copy of the selection.
  3. Now Press CTRL + V (Windows) or CMD + V (Mac). this action will show the duplicated object on your canvas. 
  4. Use the move tool to place the duplicate object in the desired location.  

Duplicate Using the Clone Stamp Tool

Although used for a variety of purposes, the Clone Stamp Tool is a convenient tool to duplicate objects. The tool can be found in the toolbar on the left side of the Photoshop interface. It eliminates the need for precise selection, which may be more time-consuming. 

  1. Open an image in Photoshop.
  2. Create a Background duplicate by selecting the layer in the Layers Panel and right-clicking on it. Select Duplicate layer.
  3. Now select the duplicate layer and start experimenting with the Clone Stamp Tool.
  4. Select the Clone tool from the toolbar.
Set the appropriate brush size for Clone Stamp tool
  1. Set an appropriate brush size. Smaller if you are cloning a small object with a complicated background, or larger if you need a larger selection to be duplicated.
  2. Make sure the Aligned checkbox is selected.
  3. Click and hold ALT (Windows or OPT (Mac) and select the source on the image which you desire to clone.
  4. Now release the ALT / OPT key, and start painting another area with the Clone Tool brush. The brush will paint the exact same pixels from the source on another area. 
  5. If you want to remove the unmatched background due to the cloned object, use the eraser tool to fix the background. Zoom in the image so that the eraser can be used with precision.
Duplicate with Photoshop using the Clone Stamp tool

Besides the Clone Tool, you can also use the Patch tool for making a replica of an object. The patch tool is accessible from the toolbar and is best used for duplicating large, uniform areas. 

Layer Duplication

You can make as many duplicates of a layer as you want in Photoshop. Duplicating layers allow you to copy the elements on them, which you can use on the current image as well as other images. For many photographers, duplicating the background layer is the first step in their Photoshop workflow as it saves your original image from being ruined.

Duplicate Using Layers Panel Icon

The easiest way to duplicate a layer is the keyboard shortcut CTRL / CMD + J, as mentioned in the methods above. You can also select a layer in the layers panel and drag it to the “Create a New Layer” icon at the bottom of the Layer panel. It will make a copy of the layer and create a new one in the Layers panel.

Duplicate Using Layers Menu

Duplicating the layer from the Layer menu on top has an added benefit. When you select your layer and go to Layers > Duplicate Layer, it opens a dialog box that allows you to create a duplicate layer in another document. This saves you the hassle of dragging and dropping the layer into the document area of another image.

Duplicating a layer in Photoshop

The new copied layer will be automatically added to the Layer panel of the other image. 

Duplicate Using Right Click

You can also make a replica of the layer by selecting it in the Layers Panel, right-clicking on it, and choose the Duplicate Layer option. 

Image Duplication

There are two simple ways to duplicate an image in Photoshop.

  1. While the image is opened in Photoshop, go to the Image menu. From the drop-down, select Duplicate. In the image duplicate dialog box, type a name for your copy and select / deselect the Duplicate Merged Layers option according to your choice. Click ok, and you will see that the duplicated image will open in a new window.
  2. If you don't want to use the dialog box while copying, simply hold the ALT key on Windows, or Opt key on Mac and select Image > Duplicate.

Remember to save this replicated image as a file before closing Photoshop. Unless you save it, it won’t be available as a separate file.

Conclusion

While designing graphics or enhancing images, the need to make a duplicate of a selection or a layer often comes up. Using the techniques defined above, you can easily duplicate anything in Photoshop. These features add a lot of efficacy and speed to your editing workflow, giving you more time to take more photos.

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