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How to Combine Layers in Photoshop

Managing layers and groups keeps your project organized. You can rename layers, color code to easily locate similar layers and delete and export layers as needed.

Rename a layer or group of layers

As you add layers or groups of layers to an image, it is useful to give them names that reflect their content. Descriptive names make layers easy to identify in the Layers panel.

Do one of the following:

  • Double-click the layer name or group name in the Layers panel and enter a new name. Press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac OS).
  • Select the layer / group and then follow these steps:
    Choose Layer> Rename Layer or Layer> Rename Group.
  • Enter a new name for the layer / group in the Layers panel.
    Press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac OS).

Assign a color to a layer or group

Color coding of layers and groups helps you locate related layers in the Layers panel. Simply right click on the layer or group and select a color.

Rasterize layers

You cannot use paint tools or layered filters that contain vector data (such as type layers, shape layers, vector masks, or smart objects) and generated data (such as fill layers). However, you can rasterize these layers to convert their content into a flat and rasterized image.

Select the layers you want to rasterize, choose Layer> Rasterize and then choose an option from the submenu:

Type Rasterize the type into a type layer. It does not rasterize any other vector data in the layer.
Shape  Rasterize a shape layer.
Padding content  Rasterize the filling of a shape layer, leaving the vector mask.
Vector mask Rasterize the vector mask into a layer, turning it into a layer mask.
Inteligent object Turn a smart object into a raster layer.
Video Rasterize the current video frame in an image layer.
3D (extended only) Rasterize the current view of 3D data in a flat raster layer.
Cap Rasterize all vector data in the selected layers.
All layers Rasterize all layers that contain vector and generated data.

Delete a layer or group

Deleting layers that you no longer need reduces the size of your image file.

1. Select one or more layers or groups from the Layers panel.

2.Do one of the following:

  1. To delete with a confirmation message, click the Delete icon. Alternatively, choose Layers> Remove> Layer or Remove Layer or Remove Group from the Layers panel menu.
  2. To remove the layer or group without confirmation, drag it to the Delete icon, press Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS), click the Delete icon or press the Delete key.
  3. To remove hidden layers, choose Layers> Delete> Hidden Layers.

Export layers

You can export all visible layers or layers to separate files.

Choose File> Scripts> Export Layers to Files.

Merge layers

When you have finished the content of the layers, you can merge them to reduce the size of your image files. When you combine layers, the data in the upper layers replaces the data that overlaps in the lower layers. The intersection of all transparent areas in the merged layers remains transparent.

In addition to merging layers, you can stamp them. Stamping allows you to merge the contents of more than one layer into an objective layer while leaving the other layers intact.

Merge two layers or groups

  • Make sure the layers and groups you want to merge are visible.
  • Select the layers and groups you want to merge.
  • Choose Layer> Merge Layers.

Merge layers into a clipping mask

  • Hide the layers you don’t want to merge.
  • Select the base layer in the clipping mask. The base layer must be a raster layer.
  • Choose Merge Clipping Mask from the Layers menu or from the Layers panel menu.

Combine all layers and visible groups in one image

Choose Merge visible in the Layers panel or in the Layers panel menu. All layers that show an eye icon are merged.

Seal of several layers or linked layers

When you mark multiple selected layers or linked layers, Photoshop creates a new layer that contains the combined content.

Select multiple layers.

  • Press Ctrl + Alt + E (Windows) or Command + Option + E (Mac OS).
  • To stamp all visible layers, do the following:

Activate the visibility of the layers you want to merge.

  • Press Shift + Ctrl + Alt + E (Windows) or Shift + Command + Option + E (Mac OS).
  • Photoshop creates a new layer that contains the combined content.

Flatten all layers

Flattening reduces file size by combining all visible layers in the background and discarding hidden layers. The remaining transparent areas are filled with white. When you save a flattened image, you cannot return to the unflattened state; The layers merge permanently.

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