PS 08 - How to Link/Unlink Slices

18 January, 2013

Optimizing multiple slices can be done with linking slices together. If you are going to have same optimization for all the slices, you can link them together instead of selecting each and every one separately. You can select one of the linked slice and assigning a format will share the same format for all the linked slices.

Linking is for image optimization only, it does not affect the slice behavior (layer based slice / user based slice). But, un-linking auto slice will promote to user based slice.


Linking slices together will display a link symbol next to the number sequence, by default all the auto slices are linked.

Learn more about symbol names and its behaviors >> Essentials for Slice Select Tool - II

(fig 1.0)

To link the slices, go to ´Save for Web´ dialog box (File > Save for Web) and select the slices you want to link. (fig 1.1) i have selected slice 03, 13 and 07 (hold ´Shift´ when selecting multiple slices).

After selecting the slices, go to ´Optimize Menu´ and select ´Link Slices´(fig 1.1 - 2). This option (´Link Slices´) activates only if you select more than one slices.

(fig 1.1)

You can see the links in the selected slices, which also display color for easy viewing. Inside save for web dialog box you can see the linked slices with colors, but after you closed this window and go to working area (fig 1.2 - 2), you will only see the link and not the color.

(fig 1.2)

Once the slices are linked, select any one linked slice and change the format.

Here (fig 1.3) i have changed the format to WBMP, just so you can see it more clearly. Changing format for one slice will change all the other linked slices with the same format.

(WBMP is a standard optimizing image format for older mobile devices where it supports only 1bit, black and white)

(fig 1.3)

This will save a huge amount of time. Saving all the slices at once will save each and every linked slices in their own format.

(fig 1.4)

As you can see the (fig 1.5) the format change and the color are reflected only inside the save for web dialog box and not in the working area.

(fig 1.5)

By default auto slices are linked together, you can notice the link symbol next to the number sequence, you can also unlink any one of the auto slice from others or select multiple slices by holding the shift key and unlink them. Anytime you unlink any one of the auto slice will get promoted to User based slice.

You can learn more about how slices works >> Essentials for Slice Select Tool I

(fig 2.0)

To unlink the auto slice, go to save for web dialog box and select the slice you want. I have selected the auto slices in-between the blue boxes (fig 2.1 - 1), and go to optimize menu and select ´Unlink Slices´ from the menu.

(fig 2.1)

Not only it unlinks all the selected auto slices, but it also promote to user based slice. Once promoted, these slices are no longer an auto-slice.

In the Essentials for Slice Select Tool III you can learn many ways to unlink auto slices.

(fig 2.2)

You can also remove the promoted auto slices, just select the slices and press delete. Deleting the promoted slice will bring back the auto slice. But you cannot delete any user based slice which created with slice tool and expecting it to promote to auto slice.

Try it out
- Select any auto slice
- Go to ´Optimize menu´ inside save for web dialog box and select ´Unlink Slices´ (this option is available even if you select one slice)
- Press ´Done´ to close save for web dialog box.
- Select the same slice in the working area, you will see the handles.
- Press 'Delete'

 (fig 2.3)
If you are interested you can buy this keyboard [here]

Deleting the promoted slice will bring back to auto-slice and also retains the same number sequence and links. Please note this works only on auto slices only.

(fig 2.4)

Lets see how to unlink all slices at once, we have couple of linked User based slice and Layer based slice along with auto-slices here.

(fig 3.0)

Even without selecting any slice, you can go to optimize menu and select 'Unlink All Slices'(fig 3.1 - 1). All the linked slices will be released (fig 3.1 - 2).

Note, this works only if you have any link on user based slice or layer based slice. This won't work on auto slice even if you select them. If you want to unlink auto slices, you have to use 'Unlink Slices' from the options.

(fig 3.1)

Linking slices is very useful when you want to share one image format for a set of graphics.

You can Link, Unlink Slices, or Unlink all Slices to any of the slices, but these options is available only inside 'Save for Web' dialog box. If you are saving your image through save for web dialog box, there are some limitations in the image format.

If you want to learn more about slice tool you can go here >> Essentials for Slice Tool

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