Shadow Shortcuts

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When making a layout, I used to add drop shadows to each layer separately. Sometimes it takes a while, if you have lots of layers. Since I usually have a lot of layers, I figured there must be a faster way to do it! Thankfully, there is.

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For Adobe Photoshop Version click here.

Step 1: Open your Layout

Page created using the November Premier Kit, Christmas Past by Scrap Kitchen Designs. The picture of my very happy daughter was taken by me.

Step 2: Add a Drop Shadow

  • Activate a paper layer in the Layers panel.
  • In the Menu Bar choose, Layer > Layer Style > Style Settings.

Note: In Photoshop Elements 7 and earlier this command will be grayed out. You must first apply a drop shadow layer style using the Effects panel (Window > Effects). Click on the second icon at the top to get Layer Styles, then open the menu and choose Drop Shadows. Double click on a drop shadow icon. Once you've applied the layer style, you can then choose Layer > Layer Style > Style Settings to adjust it, OR you can double click on the fx icon that appears on the layer to get the Style Settings dialog box.

  • In the dialog box, I entered the following values:
    • Size: 8
    • Distance: 5
    • Opacity: 35%

  • Click OK.

Step 3: Copy your Style

  • In the Menu Bar choose, Layer > Layer Style > Copy Layer Style.

  • Next, in the Layers panel, click on another of the layers you want the drop shadow on.
  • Then, pressing the Ctrl button (Mac: Cmd), click all the other layers you would like to have this same drop shadow.

  • In the Menu Bar choose, Layer > Layer Style > Paste Layer Style.

Step 4: Finish

  • You will probably not want to make every different type of item have the same shadow, so you will still have objects left in your Layers panel.
  • Click on one of the remaining layers without a shadow in the Layers panel.
  • In the Menu Bar, again choose Layer > Layer Style > Style Settings.
  • In the dialog box, I entered the following values:
    • Size: 20
    • Distance: 15
    • Opacity: 35%

  • Click OK.
  • Ctrl click (Mac: Cmd click) on each layer that you want to have the new shadow.
  • Go back and repeat step 3, to complete your new set of drop shadows.
  • Keep repeating these steps until you've done all your batches of shadows.

Credits: November’s Premier Kit, Christmas Past by Scrap Kitchen Designs. Layout, tutorial, picture by Lisa Hanks.

Download a PDF version of this "Shadow Shortcuts" tutorial.

Windows: Right click on the link and choose "Save Target As" or a similar command. Mac: Click on the link to download the file.

Step 1: Open your Layout

Page created using November’s Premier Kit, Christmas Past by Scrap Kitchen Designs. The picture of my very happy daughter was taken by me.

Step 2: Add a Drop Shadow

  • Activate a layer in the Layers panel.
  • In the Menu Bar choose, Layer > Layer Style > Drop Shadow.

  • In the dialog box, I entered the following values:
    • Blend Mode: Linear Burn
    • Opacity: 35%
    • Angle: 120
    • Distance: 5
    • Spread: 0
    • Size: 8

  • Click OK.

Step 3: Copy your Style

  • Right click on the "fx" in the layer with the drop shadow.
  • In the dialogue box, choose "Copy Layer Style."

  • Next, in the Layers panel, click another of the layers you want the drop shadow on.
  • Then, pressing the Ctrl button (Mac: Cmd), click all the other layers you would like to have this same drop shadow.

  • Right click again in the selected area.
  • In the dialogue box, choose Paste Layer Style.

Step 4: Finish

  • You will probably not want to make every different type of item have the same shadow, so you will still have objects left in your Layers panel.
  • Click on one of the remaining layers without a shadow in the Layers panel.
  • In the Menu Bar choose, Layer > Layer Style > Drop Shadow.
  • In the dialog box, I entered the following values:
    • Blend Mode: Linear Burn
    • Opacity: 35%
    • Angle: 120
    • Distance: 15
    • Spread: 0
    • Size: 20

  • Click OK.
  • Ctrl click (Mac: Cmd click) on each layer that you want to have the new shadow.
  • Go back and repeat step 3, to complete your drop shadows.
  • Keep repeating these steps until you've done all your batches of shadows.

Credits: November’s Premier Kit, Christmas Past by Scrap Kitchen Designs. Layout, tutorial, picture by Lisa Hanks.

Download a PDF version of this "Shadow Shortcuts" tutorial.

Windows: Right click on the link and choose "Save Target As" or a similar command. Mac: Click on the link to download the file.