How to Make Photoshop CS6 File Size Smaller - dummies

How to Make Photoshop CS6 File Size Smaller

By Barbara Obermeier

If you have created a Photoshop CS6 file with multiple layers, you probably have a pretty big file. In order to reduce the size of a Photoshop CS6 file, you have three options — merge layers, flatten the file, or consolidate layers.

How to merge layers in Photoshop CS6

You can merge your layers several ways. To use the first option, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure that all the layers (and layer sets) that you want to merge are visible.

    [Credit: © Image #2053920]
    Credit: © Image #2053920
  2. Choose Merge Visible from the Layers panel menu or the Layer menu.

    All visible layers are smushed into a single layer.

Hold down Alt (Option on the Mac) when choosing Layer→Merge Visible. Photoshop merges those layers onto a new layer while leaving your original layers intact.

You can also merge layers by following these steps:

  1. Position the layer or layer groups that you want to merge adjacent to each other in the Layers panel.

  2. Select the top layer of those you want merged.

  3. Choose Merge Down from the Layers panel menu or the Layer menu.

    If the top layer is a layer group, the command is called Merge Group.

    Merge Down merges your selected layer with the layer directly below it.

How to flatten an image in Photoshop CS6

When you flatten layers in Adobe Photoshop CS6, the program combines all visible layers into a background. Photoshop deletes hidden layers and fills any transparent areas with white. Flattening is usually reserved for when you’re completely finished editing your image and is a good way to make your file size smaller.

To flatten an image, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure that all the layers you want to retain are visible.

    Photoshop discards all hidden layers.

  2. Choose Layer→Flatten Image or select Flatten Image from the Layers panel menu.

    The transparent areas of your flattened image are filled with the background color and appear as a background layer in the Layers panel.

    Photoshop doesn’t prompt you with a warning like, “Are you sure you really want to do this?” But if you mistakenly flatten your image, you can undo the command immediately by choosing Edit→Undo. If you go ahead and perform another action, then undo your mistake by using the History panel. However, if the flattening step is no longer in the History panel, there’s no way to undo the flattening.


How to consolidate layers in Photoshop CS6

When you’re close to finalizing your collage, you might want to consolidate layers. Minimizing the number of layers makes projects easier to manage and your file size smaller, which is great when you get ready to add the finishing touches to your collage.

Be sure that before you merge your layers, you’ll never have to manipulate them separately, especially if the elements on the layer overlap each other.

To consolidate two layers, follow these steps:

  1. Select the layers in the Layers panel.

  2. Select Merge Layers from the Layers panel menu.

    The two layers merge and become one.

  3. Choose File→Save.