Select, group, and link layers

  1. Photoshop User Guide
  2. Introduction to Photoshop
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    2. What's new in Photoshop
    3. Edit your first photo
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    5. Photoshop | Common Questions
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    8. Get to know Photoshop
  3. Photoshop and Adobe services
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    2. Creative Cloud Libraries
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    9. Use the Touch Bar with Photoshop
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  4. Photoshop on the iPad
    1. Photoshop on the iPad | Common questions
    2. Get to know the workspace
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    4. Create, open, and export cloud documents
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    6. Work with layers
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    8. Make selections and add masks
    9. Retouch your composites
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    11. Adjust the tonality of your composite with Curves
    12. Apply transform operations
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    15. Work with Type layers
    16. Work with Photoshop and Lightroom
    17. Get missing fonts in Photoshop on the iPad
    18. Japanese Text in Photoshop on the iPad
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    22. System requirements 1.x | Photoshop on the iPad
    23. System requirements 2.x | Photoshop on the iPad
    24. Edit your image size
    25. Livestream as you create in Photoshop on the iPad
    26. Correct imperfections with the Healing Brush
    27. Create brushes in Capture and use them in Photoshop
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    6. Open and work with cloud documents
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  9. Image and color basics
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    18. Image information
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    28. Bit depth and preferences
  10. Layers
    1. Layer basics
    2. Nondestructive editing
    3. Create and manage layers and groups
    4. Select, group, and link layers
    5. Place images into frames
    6. Layer opacity and blending
    7. Mask layers
    8. Apply Smart Filters
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    25. Knockout to reveal content from other layers
    26. Layer
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    29. Background
  11. Selections
    1. Select and Mask workspace
    2. Make quick selections
    3. Get started with selections
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    11. Create a temporary quick mask
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    13. Select the image areas in focus
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    15. Channel calculations
    16. Selection
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  12. Image adjustments
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    3. Healing brush examples
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  13. Adobe Camera Raw
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    9. How to make non-destructive edits in Camera Raw
    10. Radial Filter in Camera Raw
    11. Manage Camera Raw settings
    12. Open, process, and save images in Camera Raw
    13. Repair images with the Enhanced Spot Removal tool in Camera Raw
    14. Rotate, crop, and adjust images
    15. Adjust color rendering in Camera Raw
    16. Feature summary | Adobe Camera Raw | 2018 releases
    17. New features summary
    18. Process versions in Camera Raw
    19. Make local adjustments in Camera Raw
  14. Image repair and restoration
    1. Remove objects from your photos with Content-Aware Fill
    2. Content-Aware Patch and Move
    3. Retouch and repair photos
    4. Correct image distortion and noise
    5. Basic troubleshooting steps to fix most issues
  15. Image transformations
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    4. Create and edit panoramic images
    5. Warp images, shapes, and paths
    6. Vanishing Point
    7. Use the Liquify filter
    8. Content-aware scaling
    9. Transform images, shapes, and paths
    10. Warp
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    12. Panorama
  16. Drawing and painting
    1. Paint symmetrical patterns
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    3. About drawing
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    5. Painting tools
    6. Create and modify brushes
    7. Blending modes
    8. Add color to paths
    9. Edit paths
    10. Paint with the Mixer Brush
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    13. Fill and stroke selections, layers, and paths
    14. Draw with the Pen tools
    15. Create patterns
    16. Generate a pattern using the Pattern Maker
    17. Manage paths
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    21. Add dynamic elements to brushes
    22. Gradient
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    25. Sync presets on multiple devices
  17. Text
    1. Work with OpenType SVG fonts
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    4. How to create type effects
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    8. Fonts
    9. Troubleshoot fonts
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    12. Text Engine error using Type tool in Photoshop | Windows 8
    13. World-Ready composer for Asian Scripts
    14. How to add and edit text in Photoshop
  18. Video and animation
    1. Video editing in Photoshop
    2. Edit video and animation layers
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    5. Paint frames in video layers
    6. Import video files and image sequences
    7. Create frame animations
    8. Creative Cloud 3D Animation (Preview)
    9. Create timeline animations
    10. Create images for video
  19. Filters and effects
    1. Use the Liquify filter
    2. Use the Blur Gallery
    3. Filter basics
    4. Filter effects reference
    5. Add Lighting Effects
    6. Use the Adaptive Wide Angle filter
    7. Use the Oil Paint filter
    8. Layer effects and styles
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  20. Saving and exporting
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    3. File formats
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    6. Digimarc copyright protection
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    4. Contact Sheets and PDF Presentations
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    7. Duotones
    8. Print images to a commercial printing press
    9. Improve color prints from Photoshop
    10. Troubleshoot printing problems | Photoshop
  22. Automation
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    7. About actions and the Actions panel
    8. Record tools in actions
    9. Add a conditional mode change to an action
    10. Photoshop UI toolkit for plug-ins and scripts
  23. 3D and technical imaging
    1. Creative Cloud 3D Animation (Preview)
    2. Print 3D objects
    3. 3D painting
    4. 3D panel enhancements | Photoshop
    5. Essential 3D concepts and tools
    6. 3D rendering and saving
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    8. Image stacks
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    12. Photoshop and MATLAB
    13. Count objects in an image
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    16. Adjust HDR exposure and toning
    17. 3D panel settings
  24. Color Management
    1. Understanding color management
    2. Keeping colors consistent
    3. Color settings
    4. Work with color profiles
    5. Color-managing documents for online viewing
    6. Color-managing documents when printing
    7. Color-managing imported images
    8. Proofing colors

Select layers

You can select one or more layers to work on them. For some activities, such as painting or making color and tonal adjustments, you can work on only one layer at a time. A single selected layer is called the active layer. The name of the active layer appears in the title bar of the document window.

For other activities, such as moving, aligning, transforming, or applying styles from the Styles panel, you can select and work on multiple layers at a time. You can select layers in the Layers panel or with the Move tool .

You can also link layers. Unlike multiple layers selected at the same time, linked layers stay linked when you change the selection in the Layers panel. See Link and unlink layers.

Note:

If you don’t see the desired results when using a tool or applying a command, you may not have the correct layer selected. Check the Layers panel to make sure that you’re working on the correct layer.

Select layers in the Layers panel

  1. Do one of the following:
    • Click a layer in the Layers panel.
    • To select multiple contiguous layers, click the first layer and then Shift-click the last layer.
    • To select multiple noncontiguous layers, Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (Mac OS) them in the Layers panel.  
    Note:

    When selecting, Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (Mac OS) the area outside the layer thumbnail. Ctrl-clicking or Command-clicking the layer thumbnail selects the nontransparent areas of the layer.

    • To select all layers, choose Select > All Layers.

    • To select all layers of a similar type (for example all type layers), select one of the layers, and choose Select > Similar Layers.

    • To deselect a layer, Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (Mac OS) the layer.

    • To have no layer selected, click in the Layers panel below the background or bottom layer, or choose Select > Deselect Layers.

Select layers in the document window

You can also select a layer or layers directly from the document window.

  1. Select the Move tool  .
  2. Do one of the following:
    • In the options bar, select Auto Select, then choose Layer from the drop-down menu, and click in the document on the layer you want to select. The top layer containing pixels under the cursor is selected.

    • In the options bar, select Auto Select, then choose Group from the drop-down menu, and click in the document on the content you want to select. The top group containing pixels under the cursor is selected. If you click an ungrouped layer, it becomes selected.

    • Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) in the image, and choose a layer from the context menu. The context menu lists all the layers that contain pixels under the current pointer location.

Select a layer in a group

You can open a group and then select an individual layer within that group.

  1. Click the group in the Layers panel.
  2. Click the triangle to the left of the folder icon  .
  3. Click the individual layer in the group.

Group and link layers

Grouping layers helps organize your projects and keeps your Layers panel uncluttered. By linking layers, you establish a relationship between them, even if they aren't next to each other in your layer order.

Group and ungroup layers

  1. Select multiple layers in the Layers panel.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Choose Layer > Group Layers.

    • Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac OS) layers to the folder icon  at the bottom of the Layers panel to group the layers.

  3. To Ungroup the layers, select the group and choose Layer > Ungroup Layers.

Add layers to a group

  1. Do one of the following:
    • Select the group in the Layers panel and click the Create a New Layer button .

    • Drag a layer to the group folder.

    • Drag a group folder into another group folder. The group and all of its layers move.

    • Drag an existing group to the New Group button .

You can link two or more layers or groups. Unlike multiple layers selected at the same time, linked layers retain their relationship until you unlink them. You can move or apply transformations to linked layers.

  1. Select the layers or groups in the Layers panel.
  2. Click the link icon  at the bottom of the Layers panel.
  3. To unlink layers do one of the following:
    • Select a linked layer, and click the link icon.

    • To temporarily disable the linked layer, Shift-click the Link icon for the linked layer. A red X appears. Shift-click the link icon to enable the link again.

    • Select the linked layers and click the Link icon. To select all linked layers, select one of the layers and then choose Layer > Select Linked Layers.

Show layer edges and handles

Showing the boundary or edges of the content in a layer can help you move and align the content. You can also display the transform handles for selected layers and groups so that you can resize or rotate them.

Photoshop Layers
Layer content with edges showing (left), and with transform mode selected (right)

Display the edges of content in a selected layer

  1. Choose View > Show > Layer Edges.

Display transform handles in a selected layer

  1. Select the Move tool  .
  2. From the options bar, select Show Transform Controls.

    You can resize and rotate layer content using the transform handles. See Transform freely.

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