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Five Photoshop Layers Speed Tricks

    Jennifer Farley

    Here are a few tips and tricks to help speed up your design work in Photoshop. There’s much more to layers than first meets the eye…

    Use one click to select everything on a layer

    You can quickly put a selection around all objects on a layer by holding down the Ctrl key (pc) or the Cmd key (mac) and clicking on the layer thumbnail icon on the Layers palette. Even if you have multiple, separate objects on the layer, they will all be selected.


    Export each layer as a separate document

    If you are working on a document in Photoshop with multiple layers, it is possible to export each of those layers as separate documents. An example where I use this, is when I make up a document with several layers of photos to work on, when I’m finished I can lash them out quickly to separate documents.

    All you need to do is choose File > Scripts > Export Layers to Files.

    Whiz through the blending modes

    When you’re trying to find a good effect by blending two layers together with the blending modes, it can be a bit of a pain to go backwards and forwards to the Blend Mode drop down menu on the Layers palette. A real time saver here is to select your first blending mode, the switch over to the Move tool and simply hold down the Shift key and press the + (plus sign). Each time you press the plus sign, it goes to the next Blend Mode.

    Move more than one layer at a time from one document to another

    If you want to move a few of your layers from one Photoshop document to another, the first thing to do is to link your layers together, by selecting them in the Layers palette and then clicking on the link icon at the bottom of the layers palette. Then drag the layer from within the document itself, rather than from the Layers palette. This will carry all of the layers over to the second document.


    Color code your layers

    You can use color coding on your layers for organization purposes. To add a color to a layer Right-click (pc) or Ctrl-click (mac) on the eye icon next to the layer you want to color code. A pop-up menu will appear and you can pick the color you want.


    What other tips do you have for working with the Layers palette and Layers?