How to Manage Layer Styles in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

When working with multiple layers in Photoshop CS6, you may need to manage your layer styles. To edit a style, double-click the Effect name or the Effects label, double-click the layer thumbnail or double-click the Layer Style icon in the Layers panel, and make your desired adjustments in the Layer Style dialog box.

If you double-clicked the layer thumbnail or the icon, be sure to select your desired effect from the left side of the dialog box to get access to your effect’s settings.

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when working with and editing layer styles:

  • Choose several effects at one time. Simply select the check box for the effect on the left side of the Layer Style dialog box. To access the options for each effect, you must click the effect name so that it’s highlighted.

  • Remove an effect. Deselect the check box associated with it.

  • Move a style onto a separate layer. By default, layer styles are attached to a layer. To put a style on a separate layer, select the styled layer and choose Layer→Layer Style→Create Layer. You see a new layer in the Layers panel with a name, such as Layer 0’s Drop Shadow.

    Although separating a style onto its own layer may give you more manual editing capability and allow you to apply filters, you lose all editing ability with the Layer Style dialog box. Also, the style won’t dynamically update when you change the layer itself. Your style basically becomes just a generic mass of colored pixels.

  • Copy and paste effects onto other layers. Select the layer containing the effect and choose Layer→Layer Style→Copy Layer Style. Select the layer or layers on which you want to apply the effect and choose Layer→Layer Style→Paste Layer Style. Even easier, you can also just hold down the Alt (Option on the Mac) key and then drag and drop an effect from one layer to another.

  • Hide effects. Choose Layer→Layer Style→Hide All Effects to hide all effects on the image, not just the selected layer.

  • Display hidden effects. Choose Layer→Layer Style→Show All Effects.

  • Remove all the effects on a layer. Choose Layer→Layer Style→Clear Layer Style. You can also drag the Effects bar (what Adobe calls the name Effects) or fx icon to the trash can icon in the Layers panel.

  • Remove a single effect. Simply drag and drop the single effect to the trash can icon in the Layers panel.

  • Resize a layer effect. Select your desired layer in the Layers panel. Choose Layer→Layer Style→Scale Effects. Select Preview and enter a value between 1 and 1,000 percent. This command allows you to scale the effect without scaling the element.