Preserve and protect your work with Smart Objects.

Smart Objects can simplify how you make adjustments to your canvas. Learn how to use them to make safe edits and more in {{adobe-photoshop}}.

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An image of buildings in a city that has been created using Smart Objects.


Edit multiple layers at once with Smart Objects.

Sometimes you need to experiment with your work, and that’s where Smart Objects come in. These layers allow you to do nondestructive editing — making changes without overwriting your original image — and they’re compatible with dozens of different features in Photoshop.
An example of Smart Objects. An image of a person's face covered by a rain cloud over a blue background.

Get to know Smart Objects.

Smart Objects are a type of container that holds multiple layers within Photoshop. Apply properties and characteristics to multiple layers, combining different tools, filters, and features. Then undo and make changes as you need to — the original image is protected.

Photoshop allows you to link images from other projects to your work. When you link something as a Smart Object, you can make changes, and your object will automatically update in both places. The contents of a Smart Object are up to you.

An example of an image linked as a Smart Object. An image of a person's face covered by clouds over a pink background.
An image of a lifeguard tower that has been edited using the Smart Filter feature.

Filter with an easy undo.

A filter like Crystalize or Emboss applied to a Smart Object is a Smart Filter. Just like other edits to Smart Objects, you can filter nondestructively. Plus, when you do, you have even more control over how your filters interact with all of the different layers in your canvas.

Stay flexible.

Photoshop is all about flexibility, giving you the tools to work the way you need to. Combine Smart Objects with other layers, like adjustment layers or background layers, to create the exact type of workspace you need.

An example of Smart Objects that have been combined. An image of a cloudy sky has been combined with an image of a beach to create a new image.

How to use Smart Objects.

What you can use a Smart Object for is limited only by your creativity. Here are a few examples to spark your imagination.

An example of an isolated element. A cutout of a person layered over an image of balloons in the sky.

Isolate elements of an image.

Often, it helps to break an image into multiple layers so you can work on different parts independently. You can use Smart Objects to group elements for adjustments, undoing and tweaking as needed.

Iterate on an idea.

Because everything in a Smart Object is nondestructive, you can go back to different stages in your work to make changes. To completely reset your Smart Object, simply click the circular arrow icon next to Transform on the Properties panel.

An example of a reset Smart Object feature being used to change the background color of an image.
An example of a collage image featuring buildings in a city.

Create complex collages.

Combine illustration and photography seamlessly with features like Smart Filters and RAW files. It’s all easy to manage and control with Smart Objects — for mixed media made easy.

How to make a Smart Object.

Convert to a Smart Object for nondestructive editing in a few easy steps.

  • Layer it:
    Create a layer in the Layers panel by clicking Create a New Layer.
  • Select it:
    Select the layer you want to convert, or select multiple layers by holding down Command (Mac) or Control (PC) while clicking.
  • Convert it:
    Convert the layer or layers to a new Smart Object by navigating to Layer › Smart Object › Convert to Smart Object.
  • Click it:
    Right-click, Ctrl-click, or Command-click the Smart Object layer for more options, or double-click the thumbnail to access blend modes and other features.


Projects to try with Smart Objects.

These Photoshop tutorials feature projects where you can mix in Smart Objects and experiment.