Moving and Copying Vector Layer Masks in Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop

• Drag a vector mask thumbnail in the Layers panel to move it from one layer to another.

• Option -drag (Mac) | Alt  -drag (Win) the vector mask thumbnail in the Layers panel to make a copy of the vector mask.

• Command + Shift -drag (Mac) | Control  + Shift -drag (Win) the vector mask thumbnail in the Layers panel to make an “inverted” copy of the vector mask.

Adobe Photoshop

Posted on 02-26-2013


  • By Daniel thomassin - 9:33 AM on February 26, 2013  

    Super merci beaucoup pour la petite astuce pour déplacer les masques et pour tout vos
    conseil bien utiles.Bonne journée à vous et vos collaborateur.


  • By Sue Hodgson - 2:50 PM on February 26, 2013  

    It’s like you’re reading my mind 🙂 …

    I was just wondering how to do the inverted copy of a vector mask… and your post pops into my google reader.


  • By Carlos Oliveras - 11:00 AM on March 2, 2013  

    Thanks Julieanne, your blog is great, always clear and quick to the point.
    This time I was excited when I read about a shortcut for inverting a vector mask… but as far as I know, the “copy and invert” shortcut you describe (dragging mask while pressing control + shift, or cmd+shift) only works with regular pixel masks, not vector based masks… or am I missing something?
    So far, the only way I know of inverting a vector mask, is by changing the operation mode of its path components (from combine to substract or whatever), which is always a bit cumbersome, if compared to a simple “control+i” on a pixel mask.

    However, I take from Sue Hodgson commentary that the shortcut did work for her… ?? Maybe it’s a mac / pc thing? (I’m on a windows machine, CS6). Thanks for any clarification on this, should anybody read and reply.

    • By Julieanne Kost - 2:30 PM on March 5, 2013  

      It could be a Mac/Windows issue, or it could be because I’m running Photoshop 13.1 – the version that you get when you are a member of the Creative Cloud (ie it’s the subscription version). Which are you running – perpetual (the box copy) or a subscription version?



  • By Carlos Oliveras - 3:04 PM on March 5, 2013  

    Thanks for answering, Julieanne. My version is 13.0.1, no subscription here…

    But anyway, after posting my comment, something funny happened: I googled for this shortcut and I came across another post from you, regarding the same shortcut (drag + alt shift on a mask), but with a different take on the vector masks:

    In the aforementioned entry, you wrote “this shortcut does not work with a vector mask” – since the post is from june 2009 (CS4 back then, I guess?), maybe it is indeed related to Creative cloud (since on 2009 there was no Creative Cloud features).

    Anyway, it’s no big deal so don’t feel obliged to keep answering. It’s just that I was curious. Again, thanks a lot for your answer and keep up your excellent work!

    Anyway, it’s no big deal.