photoshop creative

Top 5: Tips for using the Layers palette

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
October 23, 2013

How to work faster and smarter with Photoshop’s Layers palette

TIP 01

If you use the Layer>New Layer command then you are instantly asked if you would like to name the layer. But using the New Layer icon from the palette, or dragging layers onto the icon to make new ones, doesn’t present the same options.

There are two easy ways to name your layers. One is to double-click on the layer’s existing name to bring up a selection box. Now just type in the name you want to give it.

Alternatively, Ctrl/Cmd-click on a layer to call up a menu. The top option is to Rename Layer. Select this and type in a new name.


TIP 02

Another tip with two options for achieving the same effect revolves around selecting layers from the document you are working on.

Rather than clicking through each and every layer in a big composition trying to find which is which, select the Move tool and Ctrl/Cmd-click on part of your image.

A menu will appear with the layer highlighted. Simply click to select it from the Layers palette.

Another way is to pick the Move tool and make sure the Auto Select layer icon is checked in the Options bar. Click on something in the document and the layer will be highlighted from the palette.

TIP 03

Did you know that if you hold down the Alt/Opt key on your keyboard and then click an eye icon, you will turn the visibility of all the layers off, apart from the one you have clicked?

How about the fact that if you keep the Alt/Opt key held down and then use the left and right square bracket keys, you can move up and down the Layers palette, making each layer the only one that is visible?

The right bracket will take you up, while the left one will take you down the list.

TIP 04

Projects that possess a bewildering amount of layers might need a bit more help than just naming or even grouping layers.

It’s possible to colour-code layers as well, so you can visualise layers of one type really easily. Simply Ctrl/right-click on the eye icon of a layer and then select a colour from the menu that appears.

TIP 05

In addition to being able to organise layers, you can also tweak how they appear in your palette.

Go to the options icon in the Layers palette (top right) and click on it. Scoot down to Palette Options (or Panel Options in Elements).

A menu will appear that enables you to alter the size of thumbnails used in the palette. You can even turn the thumbnails off, although we really wouldn’t recommend this!