Illustrator Tip #14: Pasting Smart Objects in Photoshop

Using both Photoshop and Illustrator is a common work flow process in many projects. In this small tip, I will show you how you can use Illustrator’s objects, shapes or text as Smart Object in Photoshop and still keep them editable in Illustrator.

In this example, I have created a shape using Star Tool, Pucker and Bloat Effect In Illustrator.


Next, I want to import it into Photoshop, so I select the shape and choose, Edit > Copy (Ctrl+C) to copy the text.

Create a new document in Photoshop and paste the text by choosing, Edit > Paste (Ctrl + V).

In the corresponding dialogue box, select Smart Object radio button and hit OK.


Your text should be pasted as a Smart Object in Photoshop, hit Enter on the num pad or checkmark on the Option Bar to commit it.


Now for some reasons I want to edit the object. For that, just double-click on the Smart Object icon in the Layer Palette. Photoshop will open a dialogue box, hit OK.


The object/shape will automatically open in Illustrator, edit the object or if you have any text or shape do the edit as you want, here I edited it a bit and added a another overlapping shape and also changed the color of the object to red.


After you are satistied with the edit, select File > Save and close the file and voila the changes will be automatically reflected in your Photoshop document.

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About The Author: Tony Soh

Hi. I'm the founder of Vector Diary. Illustrator is my passion and I have written numerous tutorials on illustrator helping people learn illustrator. My most popular tutorial on learn illustrator has been a hit. It makes learning illustrator so easy and has benefited more than 20,000 people worldwide. Also, I've revealed some of my secret techniques in the premium tutorials. So don't forget to check it out!

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  1. Gravtar for rahul rai
    rahul rai March 6th

    Good work but not clear can u berif all.

  2. Gravtar for Sonali
    Sonali March 7th

    @rahul rai: What is not clear?

  3. Gravtar for kyawthura
    kyawthura March 7th

    I don’t get with you.

  4. Gravtar for Luis Clever
    Luis Clever March 9th

    Otimo estou aprendendo muito, obrigado

  5. Gravtar for bundle
    bundle April 21st

    I’m wondering…if I make a smart object in Photoshop first, can I then bring it into Illustrator? Basically the opposite direction from your example. I haven’t tried it yet.

  6. Gravtar for Sonali
    Sonali April 26th

    @ bundle- Good question. You can paste the smart object in Illustrator but, i think it will not be editable. But, if you have a shape as path you can directly copy and paste it in Illustrator as fully editable Compound Shape or Compound Path.

  7. Gravtar for Sonali
    Sonali April 26th

    Hey Tony, I just realized that the images seems to be misplaced, this image in the above tutorial: should be after the sentence: “In the corresponding dialogue box, select Smart Object radio button and hit OK.”

    Also, in this lines: “Your text should be pasted as a Smart Object in Photoshop, hit Enter on the num pad or checkmark on the Option Bar to commit it.” -Instead of text it should be Shape.

  8. Gravtar for js
    js April 10th

    @bundle you double click the smart object icon & the smart object opens in illustrator you can copy & paste it to another illustrator document from there. It would be fully editable in illustrator. It remains a vector object. I’m not sure why else you would want to do be able to do what your asking.

  9. Gravtar for Dr. Halle
    Dr. Halle June 19th

    I’m in the midst of a Logo Project and am stuck with an AI issue. I need to transfer some objects (vectorized word-copy) from one AI document to another document. I find I can do it with Copy/Paste (and have adjusted my Clipboard Preferences to AICB), but every time, it come out in a form which has no stroke and fill. This is friggin nerve-wracking!! Tried dragging and “Place” too: Same result. THANKS. And, no, not due to effects, as I tried removing these (drop-shadow, etc.) and this makes no difference.

  10. Gravtar for lori
    lori August 2nd

    so i have a new issue. i’ve copied type and placed graphics from indesign into photoshop. it comes in as a smart object. when i double-click, it opens in illustrator and is editable. once finished editing and saving, it updates in photoshop but has color bars & crop marks that i can’t remove. any tips??? thanks!

  11. Gravtar for piling
    piling March 23rd

    wow.. thanks:)

  12. Gravtar for artroom
    artroom September 26th

    I am trying to get a large banner from Illustrator CS5 (made with both vector text and photoshop images) saved as a small jpg for web use – tried pasting the small text as a smart object so it would be legible. My text pixelizes, does not stay sharp. What am I doing wrong? Also, in order to save as a jpg, the file has to be flattened, so again, the text gets pixelated. Any suggestions? Thanks!