How to Manage Layers in Photoshop CS6 - dummies

How to Manage Layers in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

In Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite 6, layers are downright agreeable to being managed. The beauty of layers is that they’re very easy to get along with. You can hide them, shuffle them, link and lock them, herd them into groups, and even smush them together into one collective layer. There are lots of ways to get your layers in the orderly and organized fashion you deserve.


Often, hiding all the layers in your image except for the one you want to edit is useful. You can focus on the element at hand without the distraction of all the other components of the image. You can hide a layer with a single quick click, as described in the following list:

  • Hide all the layers but one. Select the layer you want to display. Alt-click (Option-click on the Mac) the eye icon for that layer in the left column of the Layers panel. To redisplay all the layers, Alt-click (Option-click on the Mac) the eye icon again.

  • Hide an individual layer. Click the eye icon for that layer. To redisplay the layer, click the blank space in the eye column.

Even when the layers are hidden, the proper blend mode and opacity setting is displayed for that layer in the Layers panel.

[Credit: © Image #13486187 and imv Image #2053920]
Credit: © Image #13486187 and imv Image #2053920

You can also hide layer styles or entire layer groups by using the same method as with layers.

Only layers that are visible will print. Hiding layers for printing can be useful if you want to have several versions (each on a separate layer) of an image for a project within the same document. You can view selective layers, print them, get approval from the powers-that-be, and then delete the layers with the scrapped versions.

If clicking is just too strenuous for you, try this neat trick: Drag through the eye column to hide or display multiple layers in one fell swoop. Now that’s technology.