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I used to duplicate layers such as watermarks or adjustment layers from one document to another in Photoshop all the time. Layers are mostly put in a group. Now, I am starting to use Photoshop CS6 and I've fallen in love with the new Color Lookup adjustment layers. I found that whenever I have a Color Lookup layer in a group, I can't duplicate that group to another open document any more. All I can do is to duplicate it to a new document which is no use because from that new document I can't duplicate it to the document I want anyway.

I can still duplicate other layers to another document as I always did but just that Color Lookup Layers that I can't copy.

Can anyone explain why I can't do that or am I missing anything?


I have tried to right click on the group and click Duplicate Group and in the Document list of Destination document, there are only two options which are the same document and New.

When I tried to drag and drop the group I am getting the following error message. I have tried to do all those with just a single color lookup layer and it failed for the same reason as well.

"Could not complete your request because an adjustment or fill layer cannot be converted to the destination document mode".

Both documents have RGB, 8 bits mode.

Any possible causes?


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closed as off topic by Paul Cezanne, cabbey, NickM, Nir, John Cavan Feb 23 '13 at 16:33

Questions on Photography Stack Exchange are expected to relate to photography within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Should this maybe be on‌​? – Saaru Lindestøkke Feb 15 '13 at 18:45
This probably is better off in graphic design, but thanks for asking here, as I hadn't known about Color Lookup, and it does some photographic effects like Bleach Bypass that I didn't know existed in Photoshop outside of 3rd party plugins. – MikeW Feb 15 '13 at 20:14
Sorry to ask at the wrong place .. I didn't know exists – lawphotog Feb 16 '13 at 23:48
The error sounds like a mismatch of color mode or bit depth, but as you say, both are RGB and 8-bit. Does this happen with a simple group with nothing but a color lookup adjustment layer? – MikeW Feb 17 '13 at 0:16
One thing worth a try: duplicate into a new document, then see what image mode and bit depth the new document has. Might give a clue. – MikeW Feb 17 '13 at 0:17
up vote 1 down vote accepted

This appears to be a bug within the type of Color Lookup profile. The abstract profiles can be duplicated, while the 3DLUT and Device Link fail.

You will also notice that the Color Lookup layer will persist across changes to the document bit depth only when it is an abstract profile. The layer will be removed with either of the other profile types.

The process I used to test:

  1. Create new document A (clean slate)
  2. Paint something (just for visual reference)
  3. Duplicate document B (to have identical parameters)
  4. In doc A create and group Curve and Color Lookup adj layers
    • note that the behavior of the Color Lookup layer in this testing was consistent whether grouped or not
  5. Set doc A Color Lookup profile to a 3DLUT preset
    • Try duplicating to doc B
      • No option to duplicate using right click option (no destination for doc B)
      • Drag/Drop produces the "Could not complete your request because an adjustment or fill layer cannot be converted to the destination document mode" error
    • Change bit depth of doc A
      • Color Lookup layer is removed
  6. Repeat step 6 with Color Lookup profile set to a Device Link preset
    • Same results as step 6
  7. Repeat step 6 with Color Lookup profile set to an Abstract preset
    • Duplicates fine using either context menu (Destination for doc B is present), or via drag/drop
    • Changing bit depth works fine, Color Lookup layer persists across the edit

Even if this is an expected limitation for those profile types, still looks like a bug due to the lack of feedback to the user (e.g. silently removing the Color Lookup layer when changing bit depth).

I'm guessing the difference between your results and MikeW can be attributed to the inconsistency across the Color Lookup profile types.

Perhaps some others can test as above to confirm, if confirmed it probably warrants a topic at

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Thanks ProtoCreate .. that's exactly what happened to me. It's a lot to take in though. – lawphotog Feb 25 '13 at 16:39

Drag and drop your layer from layers toolbar to another window: drag and drop

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Thanks for your answer but I have already tried that it doesn't work. Please see the updated question. – lawphotog Feb 17 '13 at 0:04
@LaurenceNyein View->Proof Setup-> Set both documents to the same one, then View->Proof Colors (to turn it off) on both of them. You can also check View->Pixel Aspect Ratio. Finally: Edit->Convert to Profile, and see if both documents got the same Source Space. – MarcinWolny Feb 17 '13 at 10:57
Thanks for your reply .. I tried to Proof Setup both documents .. it was on Custom so I chosed Working CMYK .. I clicked Proof Color to uncheck it on both .. I checked Pixel Aspect Ratio both documents are set to Square .. I checked Source Space both documents are set to Adobe RGB 1998. Still no success. – lawphotog Feb 18 '13 at 19:33

Works for me.

With second document open

  • Right click on group > Duplicate, select second document, or
  • With the Move Tool, drag either the group from the layers pane to the second document, or
  • Select the group layer, then with the Move Tool, drag your image onto the second document (or hover over the tab heading if you have tabbed documents, wait for it to change to the second image, then drop)

If you are doing the above and it's not working, then you may need to give us more details about what is in your groups. Works for me with a group with Color Lookup and a Curves adjustment layer.

The other possibility is to just create an Action that will create a group with a Color Lookup and anything else you need.

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Thanks for your answer. I have already tried those but it doesn't work. Please see the updated question. – lawphotog Feb 17 '13 at 0:04

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