One of the best elements of Photoshop is the ability to create layers and separate image elements. But occasionally you will need to apply the same effect to multiple layers, or you can work more effectively if two or more of your layers have been combined. Fortunately you can accomplish this by learning how to merge layers in Photoshop.
Our guide below will walk you through two different merge options in Photoshop CS5 that will combine two or more layers into one layer.
How to Combine Layers in Photoshop CS5
The steps in this guide are going to show you how to merge layers in Photoshop. There are two different merge options in Photoshop. One merge option is called “Merge Down” and allows you to merge the currently-selected layer with the one that is directly beneath it. The other option is “Merge Visible” which you can use to merge all of the layers that are currently visible. This means that any hidden layer will not be a part of the merge.
Step 1: Open your image in Photoshop.
Step 2: Select the layer that you would like to merge with the layer that is underneath it. If you would like to merge a layer that is not directly above the desired layer for the merge, then you can click on that layer and drag it to the desired position. If you are merging all of the visible layers, then you can skip this step.
Step 3: Click Layer at the top of the window.
Step 4: Click the Merge Down option if you are only merging two layers, or click the Merge Visible option if you are merging all of the visible layers.
If you are merging multiple layers and want to hide a layer so that it isn’t part of the “Merge Visible” selection, then you can click the eye at the left end of the layer. For example, Layer 1 is hidden in the image below, and would not be merged with the “Merge Visible” command.
Note that if you don’t achieve the desired effect after merging your Photoshop layers, you can always press Ctrl (Command on Mac) + Z on your keyboard to undo it. Additionally, if you would like to apply the same change to multiple layers, but you don’t want to combine them, you can hold down the Ctrl (Command on Mac)key on your keyboard, then click each of the layers to which you would like to apply an effect.
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