I Can’t Believe I Lost My File(s)!

with 12 Comments

I try to be so careful, but today it happened…again. I accidentally flattened and saved over my scrapbook page—in a small 600 x 600 pixel size.

When I realized the unhappy truth my mouth flew open and I’m sure my face registered shock, disbelief, and dismay. How could I have so carelessly saved over my original full-size fully-layered scrapbook page? Aaaaaarrrrrggghhh!

How It Happens

One of the most common ways to accidentally save over a scrapbook page is when you prepare it for uploading to a gallery. The page must be flattened and downsized so the longest side is somewhere in the range of 600 to 700 pixels.

The next step is to Save for Web. Both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements save a copy of your page during the Save for Web process, but once you click the Save button and the dialog box disappears, the original page is still open on your desktop. If you saved your page earlier as a layered PSD, the name of the file will still say it’s a PSD.

Question: Are you paying attention? No?

Uh-oh. Something bad is about to happen.

When you click the Close icon on your page a notice will pop up asking you if you want to save your changes. If you don’t notice that the Layers panel contains only one layer and you click Save, you’ve just saved your page (the one you loved and labored over) as a small flat image.

All Is Not Lost—Yet

If you take a second look and realize your mistake, you can Undo and get your layers and larger size back. BUT if you close the file before undoing, so sorry…your large fully-layered page is gone forever.

You cannot recover this mistake. I’ve had several people write and ask if there’s a way to upsize this image back to its original dimensions.

Yes and no.

It’s possible to upsize your image using the Image Size dialog box, but your page will look terrible and won’t be worth printing. Better to let it R.I.P. as a gallery image only.

So, is there nothing that can be done?

Actually, there IS something you can do NOW to prevent this from ever happening again.

Turn Loss Into Triumph

When I saw what I had done to my page I had a moment of sheer panic. Then reason kicked in and I told myself, “OK, calm down.” I slowed my breath from hyper-ventilation state and began to think through possibilities:

“Well…this page isn’t that important. It’s just an example for a tutorial and I even used a stock photo.

“But darn it! I might need to access those layers again! Maybe I could rebuild the page from scratch using the small image as my guide…

“No…the mask I used with the image was kind of complicated. That would be a royal pain!”

Safeguard Against Loss

Then it struck me like a bolt of lightning: I had a backup!

Just the night before I had run a backup from my regular Scrapbook external hard drive to my backup external hard drive aptly named “Scrapbook BU.” My fully-layered large-size page was safely stored on my backup, and all I had to do was copy it to my regular Scrapbook drive.

Whew! Oh the relief and patting myself on the back for having done that!

What You Can Do

Here’s some advice, but you have to follow it BEFORE you need it:

• If you’re prone to saving over scrapbook pages, make a duplicate of your page when you’re ready to resize it for a gallery.

In Photoshop Elements choose File > Duplicate.

In Photoshop choose Image > Duplicate.

When you’re done creating the gallery image, close the duplicate page without saving it.

Warning: I don’t duplicate my page when making a gallery image because I either choose File > Revert (Photoshop Elements: Edit > Revert) or I simply close the page without saving it. But no matter how careful you normally are, there will come a time when you aren’t paying attention and it’ll say, “Gotcha!”

Back up your hard work. Don’t just make a duplicate folder on your computer. If your computer dies, and it will someday at a most inconvenient moment, you’ll probably lose everything on it. Instead, back up your hard work on an external hard drive.

External hard drives are cheap and easy to connect to your computer via the USB port. I use a 2 Terabyte external drive for all my scrapbooking and a second 2 TB drive for a backup. (I also have a regular and backup external drive for my photos.)

Do a search online for recommendations and reviews of external hard drives. Technology is constantly changing, so I can’t tell you what to buy. My recommendation would be outdated almost as soon as I gave it.

• And finally, print out your pages or create real books you can hold in your hands. Having all your lovely work stored away in your computer is like placing a lighted candle under an upside down flower pot. It doesn’t do much good. Get those pages out where you and your family and friends can enjoy them!


Page: Winter Squirrel by Linda Sattgast
Photo: Stock
Kits: APP Give Thanks and Family by Anna Aspnes, Christmas Wishes by Kristin Cronin-Barrow, A Love Story by Krystal Hartley
Fonts: Amigirl Script and Orator Std




linda100Author: Linda Sattgast | Contact Us
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12 Responses

  1. Su Hall
    | Reply

    This is a good story! And, one, unfortunately, many of us have experienced! Me, included.
    One thing I do to protect me from doing this is, I ‘Save As’, as a .JPG , without flattening. That way, if I inadvertently save it over the .PSD, it won’t be ruined. I, then, close all, re-open the .JPG, re-size it, and make my saves for the web and social media. The extra step of using the .JPG is a bit of a pain, but, I don’t ‘save over’ my layered files anymore!
    All it usually takes is one time and you never let this happen again. Well, maybe only once more! LOL
    Thank you for helping so much!

    • Linda Sattgast
      | Reply

      That’s a good idea, Su! I did create a new action on Christine’s recommendation. It saves for web and then reverts to the original layered PSD, so I’ll be making that action available soon.

  2. Beverly Thiels
    | Reply

    Well, I’m crying tonight – but I don’t know how it happened or why! I’m sick, sick, sick.
    I started a dpb08 layout last night, worked until 2 a.m. and had a good start. Today I worked another 4 hours on it, I’d tweaked everything, even the colors, and I thought it was good. All I had left to do was add the title. Now during this work-a-thon, I’d been Ctrl-s-ing all along, plus I have my Preferences set to save every 10 minutes (I don’t think that feature works). I’d Ctrl-E-ed almost all of the layers because I was satisfied with them, felt good about them . I left the computer to go to the kitchen and fix supper for my dh (we eat supper, not dinner). When I came back to the pc, I found two “recovered” files, and they were the ones I’d done and saved last night. All the work I did today? Gone, Gone, Gone. I closed out CC17, restarted the computer, and tried to get at a copy that had been Ctrl-s-d early on his morning that could be seen in my folder, but PS wouldn’t open it up. Everything I did I tried to do in PS would hang up. I tried to get help from Adobe, but my internet went out. Except it wasn’t out. We didn’t have a power surge that I know of. Don’t think my backing up to an external hd would have corrected this and that’s a time consuming chore which I usually try to do once a week. Well, I’ve learned the best laid plans…

    • Linda Sattgast
      | Reply

      Oh, I”m so sorry to hear about your lost file! That happened to me once where I had saved as I went along and then something happened to corrupt the file and nothing I did helped. The only consolation was that I had a partial copy of it and I could remember a lot of what I did, so I simply redid it. But it prompted me to create a page with huge letters that said I AM MAD! I can laugh at that page now, but at the time it was painful. I hope you can remember and recover most of your work.

      • Beverly Thiels
        | Reply

        Remember? That’s the big problem now. I can’t remember because I went to freebies and old kits, altered colors, etc. I’d done the shadows and it was perfect! Perhaps I’ll laugh about it in a few days…

        • Linda Sattgast
          | Reply

          Bummer. You may find that the second time around you get new insights and end up liking your page better. That happened to me once. But only you can know when you’re ready to give another run at it.

  3. Roberta Corson
    | Reply

    Thanks, Linda.
    I am one who learned the hard way when posting to the gallery. Appreciate your addressing this.

    • Linda Sattgast
      | Reply

      So sorry to hear it happened to you. It sure gives one a sickening feeling when it happens.

  4. Jessie
    | Reply


    We’ve all been there! Oh yes…this is sound advice! 🙂

    I loved your reference to Luke 11:33 and Matthew 5:15! Well said! 🙂

  5. Christine
    | Reply

    I think we probably all do this at least once and backing up is always a good plan. I have often been going to contact you, Linda about putting another couple of steps in your “resize for gallery” macro to remove the “flatten image” and “file size” steps after the web image is created. I imagine that it would be possible and easy enough to do if you know how. Would that be possible?

    • Linda Sattgast
      | Reply

      I thought I had already inserted a step to create a new document first, but I just checked and it wasn’t there. Changing the action is the easy part. Changing my how to-video to include the new information is the issue. I’ve already changed the action once to include vertical and horizontal proportioned files, so I’m not thrilled about having to change it yet again. I’m currently immersed in an upcoming class project, so it won’t happen immediately. But I’ll put it on my To Do list. 😀

    • Linda Sattgast
      | Reply

      I created two versions of my Save for Web action. One creates a duplicate image and closes it when you’re done saving for web leaving only the full-size layered original. The other simply saves for web and then reverses the downsizing and flattening. The one problem with this is that I often use Saver For Web to simply flatten and resize. In PS you can click Done instead of Save and you have an small flat image you can use for whatever reason. (PSE doesn’t have this option.) The two new save for web action versions would not give me the option to stop because as soon as I click Done it reverts or closes the image depending on the version of action. The question is what would you and others want? Do you ever click Done to stop and use the smaller flat image for something else instead of saving for web? I do it mostly when I’m creating graphics for instructional purposes, so I doubt most Photoshop Users would use that option.

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