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The Case of the Imperfect Paste Contest Answer and Winner

It’s time to reveal the solution—and the winner—for this month’s InDesignSecrets contest!

Here’s the scenario: 

You have a bunch of items in a layout on different layers.

You want to move them all to the same, new layer you just made but you don’t want them to change position on the layout.

So you select the objects, cut them, target the new layer, and choose Edit > Paste in Place. But…nothing happens. That is, the items reappear in their original positions in their original layers. No error message appeared but nothing was added to the new layer.


Why weren’t the objects pasted into the new layer?

The answer is that Paste Remembers Layers was turned on in the Layers panel menu. With this setting on, each object will be pasted back onto its current layer when you copy or cut.

So to make sure each of the selected objects ends up on the new layer, turn off Paste Remembers Layers, target the new layer, cut the objects and use the Paste in Place command.

And the winner of this contest is…

Sandra Owen

Sandra wins 3 months access to videos of any 2 days of CreativePro Week 2019.

Thanks to everyone who entered, and be on the lookout for another contest with a new great prize next month!

Mike Rankin

Mike Rankin

Editor in Chief of, InDesign Magazine, and Author of LinkedIn Learning courses on InDesign, Illustrator, GIMP, Inkscape, and Affinity Publisher.
Mike Rankin

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5 Comments on “The Case of the Imperfect Paste Contest Answer and Winner

  1. One great use of Paste Remembers Layers is when cutting object/s from one layout into another. With the option off (the default), all the items end up on the same active layer in the destination layout.

    But if you turn on Paste Remembers Layers, the pasted items to into their same-named layers in the destination doc. If the layers don’t exist, InDesign adds them automatically.

    Using Paste Remembers Layers in the *same* document, as in the example, isn’t useful really. But now you know how to fix it if the same thing (items don’t get pasted into the new layer) happens to you!

  2. You could simply select the items then drag the colored square (on the right edge of the layer in the layers pallet) to the square on the desired layer. This eliminates the multiple steps of cut and paste and turning preferences off and on.

    • Yes, of course that’s a simpler way. The point of the contests is to present a mystery to solve and in the process help folks learn about the way certain features work.

    • Ah, yes. But when you’ve selected items from several layers you can’t actually move them all at the same time unless you group them first. (Trying to drag any or all of them when they’re all on different layers only moves the last object selected.) And then, of course, if you ungroup them once on the new layer they’ll all return to the layers they were originally on – unless you uncheck Ungroup Remembers Layers!

      So sure, move them all individually if you only have a few layers. But with more layers it might actually be quicker to uncheck Paste Remembers Layers temporarily.

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