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How To Select Multiple Layers In Photoshop – A Detailed Guide

select multiple layers in photoshop

Photoshop can be considered the most excellent image editor in recent time with hundreds of tools. Unfortunately, there are not many platforms that provide premium tools and ensures smooth editing

Did you know that there’s a feature that allows users to select multiple layers in Photoshop? It’s troublesome to jump from one layer to another while working with a couple of layers in a single design. Selecting multiple layers and work on all of them at once; isn’t that a great feature? I think it is!

But all these features and tools are of no use if you don’t know how to work with them. 

Do you know how to select multiple layers in Photoshop? If you have stumbled upon this article, I’m assuming that you don’t. Well, nothing to worry about since we have got your back. 

In today’s article, we will explain everything in detail to help you select multiple layers. So let’s get started then, shall we?

How To Select A Layer In Photoshop?

To select multiple layers in Photoshop, at first, you need to know how to select a single layer. So, before we start describing multiple layer selection, let’s do a warm-up with one layer first. 

Method-1: Using Auto-Select 

Auto-select works in harmony with ‘Move Tool.’ Once you enable the ‘Auto-Select’ feature, you will move all selected layers at once. 

Let’s learn how you can do that. 

Step-1: Select The Move Tool

In your toolbox, at the very top, you will see a ‘+’ like icon made of two two-way arrows. That’s the ‘Move Tool.’ 

Make a small click on that icon, and the tool will be selected. You can also use a shortcut way to choose the move tool. Press ‘V’ on your keyboard, and it will be selected. 

select the move tool

Select-2: Enable Auto- Select 

In recent updates, the ‘Auto-Select’ is enabled by default. A small box is present on the left of ‘Auto-Select.’ If there’s a tick mark inside the box, the ‘Auto-Select’ has been enabled. So, if you are using an old version of Photoshop, click on that small box, allowing the feature to activate.

enable auto-select

Step-3: Enable Layer Option

After selecting the ‘Auto-Select’ option, you will see a drop-down box just beside it. By default, it is set on ‘Layer.’ In case it’s not, choose the ‘Layer’ from the menu. 

Auto-Select > Layer

enable layer option

Step-4: Select The Layer

You have multiple layers opened in Photoshop, right? Now, all you need to do is place your cursor on any of the layers and click on it. 

That’s it. That particular layer will be selected. 

select layer using auto-select

Method-2: Using Keyboard

If you find it troublesome to select so many things from the toolbox, menu bar, you can use a shortcut by using your keyboard. 

Step-1: Keep Move Tool Selected 

You already know which one is the ‘Move Tool’ and how to select it. Enable it as you did in the first method. 

Step-2: Select Layer

You can see the layer panel on the right side of your screen. The panel is filled with small thumbnails of the layers that you have created so far. 

Place the mouse cursor on the layer thumbnail you want to select. Now, press the ‘Ctrl’ or ‘Command’ depending on whether you are using a PC or a Mac.

select single layer

While keeping the ‘Ctrl/’Command’ pressed, click on the thumbnail. The layer will be selected. 

How To Select Multiple Layers In Photoshop?

We have finally come to the main topic of our today’s article. Earlier, we taught you how to select one layer in Photoshop. In case you are a beginner and want to learn the topic in detail; hopefully, you have successfully understood the first part. 

Now, let’s move onto the next level. How to select multiple layers in Photoshop? 

Method-1: Using Auto-Select Mode

Yes, you can also use the ‘Auto-Select’ mode for selecting multiple layers in Photoshop! And you know half of the process already! Isn’t that awesome?

Step-1: Enable Auto-Select

After choosing the ‘Move Tool’ from the toolbox, make sure that Auto-Select is enabled in the menu bar. You know how to do it, don’t you?

Keep in mind that ‘Layer’ should be selected on the dropbox beside Auto-Select. 

Step-2: Drag And Select 

Click the mouse on one layer that you want to select. Now drag the cursor point to the next layer or layers. Again, you can choose as many layers as you wish. 

While you are dragging the cursor, the layer thumbnail also changes colors and shows the sign of being selected. 

Method-2: Using Keyboard (Shift Key)

It is surprisingly true that you can use the keyboard as an alternative to enable most of the features in Photoshop. Let’s see how it will help you select multiple layers.  

Step-1: Enable Temporary Auto selection 

In this method, we won’t use Photoshop’s internal Auto selection process. But you do need to select the ‘Move tool.’ 

After selecting the move tool, unable the Auto-Select. Instead, we will enable a temporary Auto-Select. Click on the ‘Ctrl’ on PC and ‘Command’ on Mac. 

Step-2: Select Multiple Layers In Sequence

After temporarily enabling Auto selection, select any one layer from the layer panel. Now, start pressing the ‘Shift’ key on the keyboard. Next, click on another layer in the layer panel while pressing ‘Shift.’ 

select layer using shift key

The layers in between those two layers will be automatically selected in a sequence. This method is only for choosing continuous layers, not irregular ones. 

Step-3: Select Irregular Layers 

What if you don’t need sequencing layers but irregular layers to select? 

For that, Press ‘Ctrl/ ‘Command’ + ‘Shift’. Now, move to the layer panel. Keep on clicking the layer thumbnails of the particular layers you want to select.

select irregular layers

Remember one thing. It would be best if you kept pressing the keys on the keyboard while clicking on thumbnails to select layers. 

Method-3: By Grouping The Layers 

In this method, we will make a group of multiple layers. You will be able to work on all of them at once by selecting the whole group. But, inside the group, all layers are individual. So, if you need to work on any particular layer, you can select it from the group and edit it. 

Step-1: Activate ‘Group’ Option 

After choosing the ‘Move tool,’ you can see the ‘Layer’ option is selected when you activate’ Auto-Select.’ But when you plan to create a group of layers, you have to change it into ‘Group’ mode. 

enable group option

Step-2: Select Individual Layer

Select the layers that you want to include in the group following any of the methods we have described earlier. You can use Auto-Select, Shift method, whichever you like. 

select layers to form group

Step-3: Select The Group Icon

Below the layer panel, you can see some icons displayed at the lower right corner of your computer screen. First, find a file like looking icon, which is the ‘Group’ folder. 

select group icon

Simply click on that icon or drag the layers into that group icon. You will see a group has been created in the layer panel. 

group layers

Step-4: Start Working 

There’s a drop-down arrow ‘>’ on the left of the group that you have just created. If you click on that, all the layers in the group will be visible. 

enable all layers of group

Now, if you want to work on the layers at once, keep the group folder selected. But if you’re going to edit any single layer, you have to select that layer inside the group by clicking on it. 

select single layer from group

Alternative Way To Group Layers

Editors tend to get lazy sometimes. In those times, nothing can be more useful than a shortcut method to do a particular work. 

If you feel a bit lazy and don’t want to go through all the upper four steps, you can use this shortcut. 

Select the layers you want to place in a group first. Now, press ‘Ctrl + G on the keyboard. And that’s it! The layers will be sorted in a group. 

Step-5: Delete Group 

If you don’t need the group anymore, you can delete it. To delete the group, you need to go to the ‘Menu’ bar at the top of the page. 

You will find a ‘Layer’ menu there. If you click on that, it will show a list of commands. Choose ‘Delete’ among them. Next, it will show you another list where you can see the label ‘Group.’ 

delete the layer group

As soon as you choose ‘Group’ from the list, a selection box will open on the screen. It will ask you whether you want to delete only the group or its contents too. Of course, you need to choose ‘Only Group’ at this point, and the group will be deleted. 

delete group

There’s an alternative way to delete the layer group. You need to select the group first. Then you have to click on the ‘trash can’ icon at the lower-left corner. Your desired group will be deleted! 

move the group to trash can

Method-4: Linking Layers 

This is similar to the grouping layer. But in this case, you don’t have to select each layer individually or multiple times to work on it. Instead, when you choose any layer’s content, all of them are selected automatically as the layers are linked together. You can also remove a layer from being linked by a single touch. So, again, it’s a more convenient way to edit layers. 

Step-1: Select Layers 

If you have followed the previous instructions and methods properly, I’m sure you can easily select layers. Then, select the layers you want to link together and move to the next step. 

Step-2: Link The Layers 

There’s a linking icon at the bottom right of the page. 

link the layers

After selecting the layers, you need to click on the icon. After that, the layers will be linked together. 

linked layers

Step-3: Unlinking Layers 

If you want to unlink any of the layers, you have first to select it. Then make a small click on the linking icon again. After that, the layer will be unlinked. 

unlinking layers

How To Select All Layers In Photoshop?

If you want to select all of the layers at once, there’s a shortcut way for that. 

Press on ‘Ctrl’+ ‘Alt’+ A on PC and ‘Command’+’ Option’+ A on Mac to select all layers in Photoshop. 

how to select all layers in photoshop

But keep in mind that you can not select the background layer in this way. So, it is safer to say that ‘All layers except the background’ will be selected in this method. 

How To Deselect Layers In Photoshop?

Now that you know in detail how to select layers in Photoshop, aren’t you curious to know how to deselect them?

The easiest way to deselect the layers is by clicking on the background layer. However, since it can’t be selected following these methods, it can act as deselecting area. 

You just need to click anywhere outside your layers. And they will be deselected. Pretty simple.

Final Verdict

As Photoshop comes with many features and commands, it is natural not to know all of them initially. However, you can gradually upgrade your knowledge. 

In today’s article, we have tried to focus on a simple yet essential feature: selecting multiple layers in Photoshop. We have tried to use the simplest wording for your better understanding. However, we have also tried to elaborate on every single thing, no matter how little it is. 

Hopefully, the article was helpful for you. We hope that you can follow the instructions properly and learn the methods quickly. 

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