The ability to edit in layers is probably my favorite part about Adobe Photoshop. It opens up a world of possibilities by allowing you to independently edit the contents of a layer separately from the rest of the content in your image. Additionally, if you spend a lot of time creating designs and images for clients or colleagues, the revision process is much simpler if you need to change an image element that is by itself on a layer, instead of mixed with a bunch of other objects that share a layer. While most of the benefit that I see from separate layers lies with the ability to apply adjustments or make color changes, it also affords you the opportunity to completely change the orientation of a layer. You can use this ability to learn how to flip a layer in Photoshop CS5 if you decide that you want the layer to be flipped horizontally or vertically.
Flipping a Layer in Photoshop CS5
The biggest hurdle to overcome when learning how to flip a Photoshop layer is separating the tools that will affect your entire image versus the tools that will only affect your selected layer. Since we are working on flipping just a layer in this tutorial, we are going to focus on those tools for now.
Begin by opening your multi-layer image in Photoshop CS5.
Select the layer that you want to flip from the Layers panel at the right side of the window. If you have hidden the Layers panel, you can press F7 on your keyboard to display it.
Click Edit at the top of the window, click Transform, then click Flip Horizontal. This will flip your selected layer horizontally. If you want to flip your layer vertically, then you would choose the Flip Vertical option.
If you do not like the change that this has made to your image, you can press Ctrl + Z on your keyboard to undo the layer flip.
There is also another option that you can use to have some more options when it comes to flipping your Photoshop layer. If you press Ctrl + T on your keyboard, this will open the Free Transform tool. When you are in Free Transform mode, a box with little square handles appears around your layer. If you drag one of the boxes, that will transform the layer. For example, I can flip a layer with the Free Transform tool by dragging the left box handle to the right side of the layer, then dragging the right box handle to the left side of the layer. You will also notice that placing your mouse cursor outside of the layer box gives you a tool that allows you to freely rotate the layer by clicking and dragging your mouse in the direction you want to twist the layer.