I tend to open a bunch of RAW files at the same time and move through them using the preview to find the image I want to work on. When I click on "Open Image" (perhaps after adjusting white balance and such), it opens the image into the main part of Photoshop.

If I then want to get back to the Camera Raw mode, I have to go and select all the files again. This seems to be something Adobe would provide a shortcut for, but I can't for the life of me find it in the menus.

Is there a way to bring the previous session of Camera Raw back to the forefront?

  • \$\begingroup\$ You are using Camera raw to preview photos instead of Bridge ? Camera raw is an image editor and not a file browser. Use Bridge to browse and select image or images to open in camera raw then when you are done with an image in camera raw you can open it in photoshop for further permanent editing or just close the image and the non permanent camera raw edits will be save in a side car xmp file, your bridge session will still be open as it was so you can re-open or move on to other images. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alaska Man
    May 15, 2019 at 18:02

4 Answers 4


When you are in Camera RAW, make whatever adjustments you like, then press the shift key. The open button changes to Open Object. This gives you a re-editable object -- i.e., you can dive back into Camera RAW if you like simply by double-clicking the smart object layer.

All of that said, if you make any raster level adjustments in Photoshop -- say a spotting / healing layer, then go back into Camera RAW to tweak the color balance, all your dust busting will be the wrong color. There are techniques for working with Smart Objects, but at the end of most post-processing, you have to commit to some pixel-level stuff otherwise you wouldn't have broken out a big hammer like Photoshop in the first place, right?

Do you have a use-case for this extra level of flexibility? That would help with a more complete answer that addresses specific concerns.

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 thank you. This isn't quite what I want, but it's sort of a workaround. I tend to use Photoshop just because it seems so much more responsive that Canon's own software (maybe Canon's isn't multi-threaded, or 64bit...) \$\endgroup\$
    – TZHX
    Dec 8, 2011 at 15:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ my use case is basically wanting to have every photo open in camera raw so I can flick through them, then jumping in and out of photoshop to either just export as pngs or do something like content aware fill, and then wanting to go back to the list of photos in camera raw. \$\endgroup\$
    – TZHX
    Dec 8, 2011 at 15:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've just looked at the Adobe Bridge program, though, which seems to allow more for the sort of workflow I want (it has previews/thumbnails of each image, and an option to open in camera raw) -- so I think I'll use that. As you say, there's not a great many uses for opening something in photoshop as a smart object, when you can't really make any changes to it in that state. \$\endgroup\$
    – TZHX
    Dec 8, 2011 at 15:50
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Bridge will absolutely do what you want so long as you know exactly where on your disk your images live. Lightroom ($$$) is much more functional, but also can act as a digital asset manager and RAW processor using the same ACR engine that Photoshop does. It's on fire sale right now for about $99, probably because a new version is being readied (but I don't know anything other than the promotional pricing I get in email). \$\endgroup\$
    – Steve Ross
    Dec 8, 2011 at 18:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm... I have looked at Lightroom before but couldn't see anywhere that it really said what it does Photoshop doesn't (and after spending £1200+ on CS5.5 Web, my other half would go mad if I bought another computer program for my 'silly little photos'). Maybe I'll give the trial ago, thanks for the tip. \$\endgroup\$
    – TZHX
    Dec 8, 2011 at 22:33

In Photoshop CC, go to the top menu bar, select the word 'filter'. In the drop down menu select 'camera raw filter'.

Your current layer will then be opened with the camera raw editing window.

OR The keyboard shortcut is: shift + ⌘ command + A (select them all at the same time).


I'm not sure that what you want is exactly possible, because Photoshop doesn't edit the file as a RAW file but rasterizes it and then allows you to edit it.

You can try the following technique and it should work almost the way you want.

In Camera Raw, you will see at the bottom it shows the image's profile in blue text.

Something like
Adobe RGB (1998); 8 Bit; 5184 by 3456 (17.9MP); 240 ppi

Click on that and you'll find a check box for "Open in Photoshop as Smart Objects". After selecting that and clicking OK, you'll notice the Open Image button has become Open Object. If you Open Object you'll see that it's now a Smart Object in Photoshop and if you double click the layer, it opens the image in Camera Raw.

With the image as a Smart Object, you probably won't be able to do all the edits you're normally able to do such as Burning/Dodging but using Fill/Adjustment layers, which is a good idea anyway, you will still be able to do Color Balance and Exposure type edits.


try selecting your layer then use the short cut command shift A


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