Save Your Layer Styles in Photoshop

By Peter Bauer

Creating custom styles in Photoshop CC takes some time and effort. Saving the styles means that you don’t have to spend time re-creating the style. Save your styles not only in the Styles panel but also on your hard drive.

Adding styles to the Styles panel

After you have your layer style looking just right, you can add it to the Styles panel. From the Styles panel, you can apply your custom style to any layer (except, of course, layers named Background) in any image with a single click. You simply make the target layer active in the Layers panel by clicking it; click your custom style in the Styles panel.

To add your style to the Styles panel, you must first create it. Select a layer in the Layers panel, open the Layer Style dialog box, and select the layer effects and options.

Click the New Style button to save the style or, after clicking OK in the Layer Style dialog box, click the middle button at the bottom of the Styles panel. Then, in the New Style dialog box that appears, assign your custom style a name and click OK. If desired, you can also elect to save the target layer’s blending mode as part of the layer style.

Preserving your layer styles

To make sure that you don’t accidentally lose your custom styles, create and save a set of styles, which you can then reload into the panel whenever necessary.

Adding your custom styles to the Styles panel makes them available day in and day out as you work with Photoshop. However, should you ever need to replace the Preferences file or reinstall the program, all your custom styles are wiped from the Styles panel.

The Styles panel menu offers the Save Styles command, which lets you save all the styles currently in the panel as a set. However, for more control — to actually select which styles you want in your set — use Photoshop’s Preset Manager.

You can open the Preset Manager from either the Styles panel menu or through the Edit→Presets menu. (Make sure that you retain the .asl extension in the filename so that Photoshop recognizes the file as a set of styles!)

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As you can see in the figure, you use Preset Manager to save many kinds of custom bits and pieces. And use it you should! Shift+click to select a series of items or Cmd+click/Ctrl+click to select individual items; then click the Save Set button. Give the set a name (again, with the .asl file extension), pick a location, and click OK.

Saving sets of styles, brushes, custom shapes, and the like in the Photoshop Presets folder adds those sets to the various panels’ menus. That makes it quite easy to load the set into the panel: Just choose the set from the panel menu. However, you should also save a copy of the set someplace safe, outside the Photoshop folder, so it doesn’t accidentally get deleted when you upgrade or (horror!) reinstall.