How to Align and Distribute Layers in Photoshop CS6

If you’re a precision junkie, you’ll appreciate Photoshop CS6’s ability to align and distribute your layers. These commands can be especially useful when you need to align items such as navigation buttons on a web page mock-up or a row of headshots for a corporate publication. Follow these steps to align and distribute your layers:

  1. In the Layers panel, select the layers you want to align.

  2. Choose Layer→Align and select one of the alignment commands.

    Photoshop provides you with handy little icons that illustrate the various alignment types. You also find these icons as buttons on the Options bar when you have the Move tool selected. Feel free to use either method.


    Depending on which alignment type you choose, Photoshop aligns to the layer element that’s the farthest to the top, bottom, left, or right. If you align to the center, Photoshop splits the difference among the various layer elements.

  3. In the Layers panel, select three or more layers that you want to distribute evenly.

  4. Choose Layer→Distribute and select one of the distribute commands.

    The distribute commands evenly space the layers between the first and last elements in either the row or column.

    For the word-challenged, you can find an icon illustrating the distribution types. And like alignment, the distribute icons appear as buttons on the Options bar when you have the Move tool selected.


You can also align a layer to a selection outline by following these steps:

  1. Make your desired selection in the image.

  2. Select a layer or layers in the Layers panel.

  3. Choose Layer→Align Layers to Selection and choose an alignment type from the submenu.

    Note that the Align Layers to Selection command doesn’t appear in the Layer menu until you have both layers and an active selection outline.

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