Let’s Get Moving Part 2

There’s more than one way to move a file, and each moving method has its pluses and minuses. In this video I’ll help you figure out which method to choose as your go-to method most of the time. (You can quickly switch at any time when it’s more convenient to use another method.)

Video 02-05: Let’s Get Moving Part 2 (7:14)

Welcome to Let's Get Moving Part 2 where we'll look at some additional ways you can move a file from one document to another. I'm using the Part 2 lesson 5 files to demonstrate, and I've already opened them in the tabbed view. I also have the Photo Bin open so you can see the individual files. But rather than use the Photo Bin to move a file, I'll show you another method, which is to move a file from one tabbed document to another.

I'll start by moving the white label mat onto the pink background. If you recall, when you move from the Photo Bin, you always want the destination document active and visible on the desktop. But for every other kind of moving, you'll want to activate the file you're moving, in this case, the white label mat, get the Move tool, click directly on the white mat and drag to the tab of the pink background. Hold your mouse on the tab until the destination image becomes the active file. Usually that happens pretty quickly.

Here's a warning though. Don't let go of the mouse on the tab. I'll do that right now to demonstrate that your object will not move to the new document if you let go of the mouse on the tab. Let's try that again. Click and drag to the tab. But this time move your mouse down into the document before letting go of the mouse. Once you let go of the mouse Photoshop Elements will copy the element onto the destination document.

Notice that my image lands wherever I let go of the mouse, not in the center as it always does when moving from the Photo Bin. But like moving from the Photo Bin Photoshop Elements creates a new layer in the Layers panel, only it gives the layer a generic name, not the actual file name. Let's click Undo and try that again. I'll activate the white mat document and click and drag to the tab of the pink paper and down into the document, but this time I'll press the Shift key as I let go of the mouse. Pressing Shift will make the file land in the center of the destination document.

Moving method number two is to click and drag directly from one floating window to another using the Move tool. To access a floating window view, press Ctrl K in Windows or Command K on a Mac to get Preferences. Check Allow Floating Documents in Expert Mode and uncheck Enable Floating Document Window Docking. Then click OK.

In the Taskbar, open the Layout menu and choose All Floating. This fills my desktop with images. If I don't want to clutter desktop, I can always click on the middle Minimize icon to temporarily hide a document. In Windows, of course, your minimize icon will be on the right. Click on the thumbnail in the Photo Bin of a minimized file to make it visible again.

To move a floating window, click and drag on the bar across the top. Make the file you want to move the active file by clicking on it either on the floating window itself, or on the thumbnail in the Photo Bin and make sure you can see the destination document as well. Click and drag from one document to the other using the Move tool and let go of the mouse over the destination document. It will land wherever you let go of the mouse unless you press the Shift key as you move it. I'll move this a little bit to center it. And then now if you look at the Layers panel, you can see the new layer that Photoshop Elements created. Again, it has a generic name, not the actual file name.

Let's hide the Hello Spring Sticker document temporarily by clicking on it to activate it and clicking on the minimize icon, and we'll make one of the flower files active by clicking on it.

Moving method number three is to move a layer from the Layers panel on to another document. This method doesn't require the use of the Move tool. In fact, let's choose another tool. I'll choose the Rectangular Marquee tool, simply click anywhere on the layer in the Layers panel and drag it on to the new document. If you don't press Shift as you drop it, it will land where you drop it. Once it's copied to the new document, you'll need the Move tool to move it into place. I'll use my arrow keys to bump that over just a little bit.

The last method I'll show you is copy and paste in the Photo Bin. I'll click on the yellow flower to make it the active document. In the Menu Bar choose Select All. That will put an outline around the entire document. Also in the Menu Bar, choose Edit, Copy or use the common shortcut Ctrl C in Windows or Command C on a Mac to copy the selection. Click on the destination document to make it the active document and choose Edit, Paste or use the common keyboard shortcut Ctrl V in Windows or Command V on a Mac. By default, the copied image will land in the center of your destination document. Photoshop Elements will create a new layer with a generic name.

Let's undo that though, and I'll give you a little tip for copy and paste. If you want your file to land somewhere other than the center of the document, here's how. Get one of the Marquee tools. I'll use a rectangular Marquee tool since it's handy. On your document, click and drag a small outline where you want the object to land. I want my flower to land in the upper left corner. So I'll click and drag a little outline there and let go of my mouse. Now when I choose Edit, Paste, the flower I copied lands in the center of the selection outline, not the center of the document. Now you can get the Move Tool and move it into place.

So there you have several ways to move a file from one document to the other. Every time you move a file onto another document, Photoshop Elements will automatically copy it as a new layer in the Layers panel and create a generic name for it. Just remember though, that when you use these four methods, the new layer will always land above the selected layer in the Layers panel, not above the layer where you let go of the mouse as it does when you move a file from the Photo Bin onto your document. So if I click in the Layers panel on layer one to select it, and click and drag a file onto this document, it will land above layer one in the Layers panel which puts it under the Hello Spring Sticker. If you don't want it there, you can always click and drag the layer to a different location in the Layers panel. And let's zoom in here so we can grab onto this with the Move tool and drag it over next to the butterfly.

So here's our final Hello Spring document. I encourage you to open these files from Part 2 lesson 5 and practice using the various methods of moving until you get comfortable with all of them. Then you get to decide which method or methods you prefer using on a regular basis.


Find out the #1 Question I get from students who take this course. Hint: It has to do with moving files using the Tab method I demonstrated in the prior video.

#2 Learn what to do when you have so many files open that the number of tabs becomes unmanageable.

#3 Find out why your files open as floating windows when you’re in the Tabbed view.

PLEASE NOTE: The demo files I used for this video are random files taken from 3 different class project folders so I could show you what it looks like to have so many tabs that you can’t see them all. If you want to practice moving files via tabs, use the files for the previous video.

Video 02-05b: Tabbed View Taboos (5:02)

The number one question I get from students who take this class has to do with the tab view of moving photos. So in this lesson, I'd like to address that question right now, and throw in another little tip about tabs.

Here's the question I hear over and over. "When I drag my paper to the tab, press Shift and let go of the mouse, it doesn't work for me. I've tried again and again and every once in a while it works. But most of the time, it doesn't. Why won't it work?"

If you just watched my lesson called let's get moving part two, then you probably know the answer. But when you get further along in the lessons, and you don't use Photoshop Elements for a while, it's really easy to forget. So here's another explanation that might help you remember better.

When you try to move a file from one document to another via the tab, you must not let go of your mouse on the tab itself. Why? Because the tab is TABOO! If you let go of your mouse on the tab, your file will disappear, and you'll be left scratching your head. So always move your file THROUGH the taboo tab and down into your document. And then you can press Shift to make it land right in the middle of the document. Okay, do you have that etched in your brain? Get past that taboo tab, or it won't work.

All right, good. Let me give you one more tab tip. If you have a lot of photos or files open at the same time, you may not have enough space to view all the tabs. So to see a list of all your open files, click on the double arrow icon at the end of the tabs in the upper right and click on a name to go directly to that file.

Now be aware that you can't move a file from one document to another by dragging it to this list. It just doesn't work. So how do you move a file if you have so many tabs that you can't see them all? Well, here are two suggestions for you. First, I suggest you open fewer files at a time. And secondly, if you're confused about how to move a file because there are so many tabs, or the tab you're looking for isn't visible, then simply open the Photo Bin, activate the destination document, and then click and drag whichever file you want onto that document.

Let me throw in one more question I get fairly often about tabs. "Why do my photos keep opening as floating windows when I'm using the tabbed view?

Here I'm in the tab view. So let's click open to open a file. And it opens as a floating window. So why is that happening? The explanation is your Preference settings. Press Ctrl K in Windows or Command K on a Mac to open Preferences. The two preferences at the bottom of the first row determine whether your files open as floating windows, or tabs.

Here is my recommendation. If you want the tabbed view only, uncheck both options and close Preferences. Now when I open a new file, it opens in the tab view. If you open the Layout menu, you'll see that All Floating is grayed out and isn't even an option.

On the other hand if you like floating windows, and that's what I personally use most of the time, then open Preferences and check only the first option, Allow Floating Documents In Expert Mode and close Preferences. Then open the Layout menu in the taskbar and choose All Floating. If you've opened a lot of files, your desktop will get very crowded, but no worries, simply minimize them all.

When you're done minimizing, open the Photo Bin and click on the one or two files you want to work with, such as some background paper, and maybe a photo. Now I can move the photos around and I can use a Move tool to move a file directly from one image to another. Or I can drag one or more layers from the Layers panel from one file to another. And whenever I'm done with a file, I can simply minimize it again.

Either way works great: tabs or floating windows, and if you want to switch, the Preference panel is only a shortcut away: Ctrl K in Windows or Command K on a Mac.

So those are my tips about tabs. And I'll end with one more reminder. Don't let go of the mouse on the taboo tab!