Design Snack #6: Secrets of Photoshop’s layers panel

4 min read
Andy Orsow
  •  May 21, 2015
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Layers—we’ve all got ‘em, but you might not know all the crazy things you can do with them. Today we’ll look at a number of shortcuts and tricks you can use to save time in Photoshop.

1. Arranging your layers

So you need to move something up or down in your layers panel—sure, you could drag that layer, but why drag when you can do this?

Select 1 or more layers and press Command+[ to move ‘em down, and Command+] to move ‘em up.

To jump layers to the very top or bottom, just add Shift to the mix: Cmd+Shift+[ or ]

2. Selecting layers above or below your current layer

You can select layers without touching your mouse, too.

Just hold down Option and use the left and right brackets ([ and ]) to select the next layer above or below your current one.

If you want to select multiple layers at once, hold Shift: Option+Shift+[ or ]

3. Grouping layers with Shift + a click

Hopefully, we all know how to create a layer group—just click the folder icon and drag some layers into it. But you can skip the dragging part if you select your layers, hold down Shift, and then click the folder icon.

Optionally, you can select your layers, and hit Cmd+G – Thanks for the tip @valentinvica!

4. Click + drag visibility

To hide tons of layers at once, just click, hold, and drag down your layers panel.

5. Create a new layer under the selected layer

Click the new layer button, and a new layer shows up above the currently selected layer. It’s like the sky being blue—that’s just how it is—unless you hold Command while clicking the new layer button, which creates a new layer below your currently selected layer.

That might not seem like magic, but think about it. How often do you make a new layer, just to place it below something else?

Bonus: collaborate right inside Photoshop

Did you know you can broadcast your Photoshop designs live to the web with a single click? Check out LiveShare PS, our free Photoshop plugin!

Collaborate in real time on a digital whiteboard