How To Use Snapshots In Photoshop – An In-Depth Guide

You’ve likely experienced a situation where you needed to undo an adjustment in Photoshop. Most people will use the undo command to step back in their workflow, but there’s a problem with this. When using the undo command, you can only step back as many times as your history states allow. As a default, you have 50 history states to go back to at any time. If you need to go back 51 times, well, it looks like you’re out of luck. That’s where snapshots in Photoshop come into play.

Here you’ll learn how to use snapshots in Photoshop so you can always go back to any point in your workflow. Once you start to use snapshots in your editing, you’ll be able to make more adjustments without the worry of permanently messing something up.

What Is A Snapshot In Photoshop

A snapshot in Photoshop is like a checkpoint for your project. Once you create a snapshot, you can go back and restore the previous state of your document. This is perfect when you want to undo a drastic change and step back further than your history states allow.


Snapshots can be created for any type of document or project in Photoshop. Whether you’re editing photos, graphics, text, or painting, you can still utilize them as a fail-safe undo option.

Why Photoshop Snapshots Are Useful

By default, you can only go back 50 history states in Photoshop CC. That means you can only hit the undo button 50 times until you’ll hit the limit. If the history state you want is outside of this limit, you won’t be able to access it. Rather than increasing the number of history states, you can use a snapshot to keep your computer operating smoothly.

Since increasing your history states requires more memory usage, it can significantly slow down Photoshop. The last thing you want is to experience more lag just to gain the option of stepping back further.

With a Photoshop snapshot, you can create a checkpoint at any point in your project. Even if you make 1000 changes to your project and decide you need to go back, snapshots have you covered.

How To Take A Snapshot In Photoshop

Follow the steps below to learn how to take a snapshot in Photoshop.

1. Access Your History Panel

Open up your history panel.


If you do not see it, go up to Window > History.


2. Click The Camera Icon Create A Snapshot

To create a new snapshot, click the camera icon at the bottom of your history panel.


3. Rename Your Snapshot (Optional)

You can find your new snapshot at the top of your history panel.

If you haven’t made a snapshot yet, it will be called ‘Snapshot 1’.


Double click on the snapshot name to rename it. Name it something to help you remember what history state it represents. Something like ‘Basic Edit’ or ‘No Retouching’ for example.


How To Use Photoshop Snapshots In Your Editing

It’s great to learn how to make a snapshot in Photoshop, but what about actually applying them to your workflow?

The truth is, you often don’t know when you’ll need to go back until it’s too late. That’s why it’s good practice to make snapshots at different stages of your project.

For example, you could make a snapshot after you finish color edits, brush adjustments, or client revisions. This would cover all your bases and offer a variety of points to step back to.

Since snapshots last for your entire project, you can always go back to a point later on. Creating them throughout your project give added reassurance in later stages of your edit!

How Does A Snapshot Differ From A History State In Photoshop?

A history state represents individual changes to your project while snapshots represent a previous state of your project. History states are best used to step back through small changes like brush, color, or spot adjustments. Snapshots, on the other hand, can be used to step back to a progress point in your project. Rather than undoing small adjustments, snapshots allow you to go back to where you started.

No matter how many adjustments you make, your snapshots will always be there. History states will continue to cycle through up to their preset limit of 50. You can adjust this limit but you run the risk of slowing down Photoshop with the increased memory demand.

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Using a snapshot in Photoshop is a great way to create backups of your project as you edit. They offer the reassurance that no matter how badly you mess up, you can always go back. Unlike history states, your snapshots will last for your entire project. Even if you’re made thousands of adjustments, you can still go back to one of your snapshots.

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