Layer and Select Menus in Photoshop Elements 10 - dummies

Layer and Select Menus in Photoshop Elements 10

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

Besides the commands on the Layers panel, you have two layer menus — the Layer menu and the Select menu — both of which you can find on the main menu bar at the top of the application window (top of the screen on the Macintosh).

The Layers menu in Photoshop Elements 10

Much of what you can do with the Layers panel icons you can also do by using the Layer menu on the menu bar and the Layers panel menu connected to the Layers panel. (Access the Layers panel menu by clicking the horizontally lined button in the upper-right corner of the Layers panel.)

Commands, such as New, Duplicate, Delete, and Rename, are omnipresent throughout. But you find commands that are exclusive to the Layers panel, the main Layer menu, and the Layers menu, respectively. So, if you can’t find what you’re looking for in one area, just go to another. Some commands require more explanation and are described in the sections that follow. However, here’s a quick description of most of the commands:

  • Delete Linked Layers and Delete Hidden Layers. These commands delete only those layers that have been linked or hidden from display on the Layers panel.

  • Layer Style. These commands manage the styles, or special effects, you apply to your layers.

  • Arrange. This enables you to shuffle your layer stacking order with options such as Bring to Front and Send to Back. Reverse switches the order of your layers if you have two or more layers selected.

  • Create Clipping Mask. In a clipping mask, the bottommost layer (base layer) acts as a mask for the layers above it. The layers above “clip” to the opaque areas of the base layer and don’t show over the transparent areas of the base layer. Clipping masks work well when you want to fill a shape or type with different image layers.

  • Type. The commands in the Type submenu control the display of type layers.

  • Rename Layer. This enables you to give a layer a new name. You can also simply double-click the name on the Layers panel.

  • Simplify Layer. This converts a type layer, shape layer, or fill layer into a regular image layer. Briefly, a shape layer contains a vector object, and a fill layer contains a solid color, a gradient, or a pattern.

  • Merge and Flatten. The various merge and flatten commands combine multiple layers into a single layer or, in the case of flattening, combine all your layers into a single background.

  • Panel Options. You can select display options and choose to use a layer mask on your adjustment layers. Leave this option selected.

The Select menu in Photoshop Elements 10

Although the Select menu’s main duties are to assist you in making and refining your selections, it offers a few handy layer commands. Here’s a quick introduction to each command:

  • Select All Layers. Want to quickly get everything in your file? Choose Select→All Layers.

  • Select Layers of Similar Type. This command is helpful if you have different types of layers in your document, such as regular layers, type layers, shape layers, and adjustment layers, and you want to select just one type. Select one of your layers and then choose Select→Similar Layers. For details on different types of layers, see the following section.

  • Deselect All Layers. If you want to ensure that nothing is selected in your document, simply choose Select→Deselect Layers.