Learn how to manage layers, layer groups, and layer effects in a Photoshop document to keep your project organized.
Read the full article. Start with selecting any of these topics to learn more:
As you add layers or layer groups to an image, it’s helpful to give them names that reflect their content. Descriptive names make layers easy to identify in the Layers panel.
Deleting the layers you no longer need reduces the size of your image file. To quickly delete empty layers, choose File > Scripts > Delete All Empty Layers.
To delete layers or layer groups having edits, follow the steps below:
To delete linked layers, select a linked layer, choose Layer > Select Linked Layers, and then delete the layers.
You can export all layers or visible layers to separate files.
Color coding layers and groups helps you locate related layers in the Layers panel. Simply right-click the layer or group and select a color.
You cannot use the painting tools or filters on layers that contain vector data (such as type layers, shape layers, vector masks, or Smart Objects) and generated data (such as fill layers). However, you can rasterize these layers to convert their contents into a flat, raster image.
Once your layer is rasterized, you cannot edit them earlier because they are now converted to pixel-based layers. It's recommended to duplicate your layer and apply rasterization so that you can always go back to the original if necessary. To rasterize a vector layer or a Smart object, you can simply select a vector-based layer or a Smart Object and then choose Layer > Rasterize > Layer or Layer > Rasterize > All Layers to rasterize all layers in your document.
Rasterizes the type on a type layer. It does not rasterize any other vector data on the layer.
Rasterizes a shape layer.
Rasterizes the fill of a shape layer, leaving the vector mask.
Rasterizes the vector mask on a layer, turning it into a layer mask.
Converts a Smart Object into a raster layer.
Rasterizes the current video frame to an image layer.
3D (Extended only)
Rasterizes the current view of 3D data into a flat raster layer.
Rasterizes all vector data on the selected layers.
Rasterizes all layers that contain vector and generated data.
To rasterize linked layers, select a linked layer, choose Layer > Select Linked Layers, and then rasterize the selected layers.
When you have finalized the content of layers, you can merge them to reduce the size of your image files. When you merge layers, the data on the top layers replaces any data it overlaps on the lower layers. The intersection of all transparent areas in the merged layers remains transparent.
When you save a merged document, you cannot revert back to the unmerged state; the layers are permanently merged.
With Photoshop, you can apply any of the following merge operations on layers:
You cannot use an adjustment or fill layer as the target layer for a merge.
For more information on clipping masks, see Mask layers with clipping masks.
In addition to merging layers, you can also stamp them. Stamping allows you to merge the contents of more than one layer into a target layer while leaving the other layers intact. When you stamp multiple selected layers or linked layers, Photoshop creates a new layer containing the merged content.
You can prefer to use stamping when you want to edit multiple layers with the same tools but only one layer at a time. Stamping combines the selected layers into a new layer, leaving the original layers as is.
You can work with the following stamping options:
Flattening reduces file size by merging all visible layers into the background and discarding hidden layers. Any transparent areas that remain are filled with white. When you save a flattened image, you cannot revert to the unflattened state as the layers get permanently merged.
You can work with any of the following flattening options:
The image on the left shows the Layers panel (with three layers) and file size before flattening. The image on the right shows the Layers panel after flattening.
Converting an image between some color modes flattens the file. Save a copy of your file with all layers intact if you want to edit the original image after the conversion.