It’s likely that you will need to know how to flip a layer in Photoshop if there’s text or an image that would look better if it were backwards or upside down.
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.
How to Flip a Layer in Photoshop
- Open the image in Photoshop.
- Choose the layer to flip.
- Select Edit at the top of the window.
- Choose Transform, then Flip Horizontal.
You can continue below for pictures of these steps, as well as additional information. There is also another transform tool with a little more freedom that we will discuss as well.
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.
Step 1: Begin by opening your multi-layer image in Photoshop CS5.
Step 2: 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.
Step 3: 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 instead.
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.
Note that the method described above is only going to flip the single layer that you selected in the first step. If you would like to flip multiple layers horizontally, then hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard, click each layer that you want to flip, then click Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal from the top of the window.
Do you need to modify a single layer in your Photoshop file in a different way? Learn how to change the size of a single layer in Photoshop if you only need to change the scale of part of your image.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard while clicking layers to select additional ones.
Press Ctrl + Z on your keyboard, or click Edit at the top of the window and choose the Undo option.
Click the New Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel. It’s the one that looks like a page with an upturned corner. Alternatively you can click Layer > New > Layer at the top of the window.
Press Alt + Ctrl + I on your keyboard, or go to Image > Image Size at the top of the window.
You can edit your canvas size by pressing Alt + Ctrl + C on your keyboard, or by going to Image > Canvas Size at the top of the window.
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Matthew Burleigh has been writing tech tutorials since 2008. His writing has appeared on dozens of different websites and been read over 50 million times.
After receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science he spent several years working in IT management for small businesses. However, he now works full time writing content online and creating websites.
His main writing topics include iPhones, Microsoft Office, Google Apps, Android, and Photoshop, but he has also written about many other tech topics as well.
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