Opening Multiple Files as Smart Objects in the Same Document

Adobe Lightroom ClassicAdobe Photoshop

The ability to  open multiple files from Lightroom into Photoshop as Smart Objects and place them into a single document saves a significant amount of time when compositing. The only restriction is that you must first open a document in Photoshop. Since I typically work with a blank canvas to begin with, this requirement doesn’t bother me. Once you have your Photoshop document open, select the images in Lightroom (yes, you will have to be in Normal screen mode in Lightroom to do this) and drag and drop them on top of the open Photoshop document. Each image will be placed one at a time – displaying transformation handles for resizing to the desired size upon placement.

Select the files in Lightroom and drag and drop them onto your open document in Photoshop.

Select the files in Lightroom and drag and drop them onto your open document in Photoshop.

As you can see, all of the files are also automatically converted to smart objects as they are placed and the layer name takes on the original document’s name. Sweet!

The images are placed into the open document as Smart Objects.

The images are placed into the open document as Smart Objects.

Note: the options to “Resize Image During Place” as well as “Place or Drag Raster Images as Smart Object” are controlled in Photoshop’s General Preferences.

Update: Sorry, I think this is a Mac-only feature. If you know of a way to do this on Windows, please share!

Adobe Lightroom Classic, Adobe Photoshop

Posted on 12-13-2013


  • By David - 8:38 AM on December 13, 2013  

    What a cool idea! Doesn’t seem to work with CS 4, though. That’ll teach me for not upgrading!

    Thanks for sharing!

  • By Rob Sylvan (@Lightroomers) - 8:42 AM on December 13, 2013  

    I think this may be a Mac only trick? At least, it doesn’t work on Windows with LR5 and Photoshop CS6. I don’t have a Windows-based version of CC to test on at the moment.

    • By Julieanne Kost - 9:00 AM on December 13, 2013  

      HI Robb, I think you might be correct. I didn’t try it on a windows machine…

  • By Martin Schlender - 2:55 AM on December 14, 2013  

    I tried it on Windows with LR 5.3 and PS CC – doesn´t work. That´s one of my biggest points of criticism. The even is no shortcut to open a file from LR in PS as SmartObject. I complain about this since I first used LR Before LR I used the Bridge. The integration is MUCH better in PS. I still don´t understand why LR and ACR in PS have different keyboard shortcuts. That doesn´t make sense at all.
    But please – file in a request to put in a shortcut for “Open in PS as SmartObject”. E.g. CTRL+Shift+E or CTRL+Alt+E ….

  • By Margaret - 6:22 PM on December 15, 2013  

    Well, I have the “newly updated” (had to update before starting the test, BTW,) Lightroom 5.3.. The only way I could get a photo from Lightroom to PSCC was click on the “send to photoshop” link–..tried the other tricks, but I have Win 7, but didn’t work. Of course there are a lot of things that can be done on Apple and not Windows…I have been using photoshop since CS3 (about 10 yrs) and we always had the Bridge of course. Everyone just raves about Lightroom, but of course I will have to start as beginner to learn to use it. I got here through Facebook by clicking on your face, but I see that I am in adobe now.

    I am having problems finding where to ask the “Dummy” questions…but as long as I am here–I haven’t realized the advantage of having Lightroom and Photoshop..?? Maybe if you know and have used Lightroom, I can see that. But for a person that has only used Photoshop through the years, WHAT CAN LIGHTROOM 5 DO , EXTRA, THAT CANNOT BE DONE IN PHOTOSHOP ITSELF??? If this isn’t the place to pose that question, please tell me where–because I am “lost as a goose” !! Also, I think I have been comforted by “layers” and history “un-do” , so that makes me even more ask the question WHY???

  • By Margaret - 9:39 PM on December 16, 2013  

    Thank you Julieanne for the link. I went there and watched it, bookmarked it, and will do further study with your other videos.. It helped me so much in deciding what to do. about learning Lightroom…