5.3 The Active Layer

By now you must have understood that there can be multiple layers in a layer panel. It can go as high as multiples of hundred or it can remain as low as single digit one. Out of all the layers in a layer panel, the most important one is the Active Layer.

So what’s an active layer? It’s the layer that will contain the work you are doing. In Figure 5.4, the layer that is highlighted with blue color is that layer that is active. Whatever I write, will be stored in the active layer. So by any chance if the layer is deleted, everything will be lost, but you can anytime undo it.

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Figure 5.4 Active Layer

Activating a layer is quite easy. All you need to do is to click on the layer.

5.4 How to Add a New Layer?

This is probably the most asked question among the people who are learning Photoshop. There are three ways to do it. The first method is the simplest one but a time consuming one that is go to Layer>New>Layer. The second method is comparatively shorter. You can use layer panel in Photoshop to create a new layer. Just click on Create a New Layer Button in Photoshop (refer Figure 5.5), and you are done. The third and the shortest method uses keyboard. Press Ctrl+Shift+N/Cmd+Shift+N and new option pops up. Just press OK, and a new layer will be created.

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Figure 5.5 Create a New Layer

5.5 How to Select Multiple Layers?

Sometimes you need to select multiple layers to delete them, group them, restack them etc. Selecting multiple layers is an easy task. All you need to do is to hold down Ctrl/Cmd and start clicking on the name of the layer (make sure you don’t click on the layer’s logo as it will perform different task). Please note that selecting two layers or more doesn’t mean that two or more layers are activated. You need to deselect all layers and make one active to proceed with the editing. To deselect layers, simply click on any layer’s name, and every layers will be deselected but the one you clicked on.

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Figure 5.6 Select Multiple Layers

5.6 How to Hide or Unhide a Layer?

A demo was already shown in Figure 5.3, but that time I didn’t tell you the procedure. The question here is that why do you want to hide a layer. The answer to this question can be more than one. For example, suppose you are experimenting different designs. You create each design on to a new layer, and you have three designs. This means that you have three layers, and you are not sure which design you like most. You want to analyze each design individually. The best option here is to hide two layers at a time and leave one unhidden.

The method is simple. Just click on the eye icon that is located to the left of layer’s name. It toggles the visibility of a layer.

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Figure 5.7 Hide or Unhide a Layer

5.7 How to Restack a Layer?

Do you know that you can restack the layers in layer panel? There are two ways to do it. The first method needs mouse/touchpad. You need to drag the layer you want to restack to either to the top or bottom. The second method requires keyboard. To restack the active layer, press Ctrl+]/Cmd+] to move it up, and Ctrl+[/Cmd+[ to move it down.

5.8 How to Delete a Layer?

Sometimes you need to delete a layer. All you can do is to right click on the layer, and then select Delete Layer. Isn’t it simple? You can also press Delete to delete the active layer but sometimes it doesn’t work.

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