How to Merge Layers in Photoshop CS5

Adobe Photoshop has many controls and features that let you work on individual layers in your images.

This separation lets you format or adjust different components of your picture without affecting everything else.

But occasionally, you will find that you need to apply the same effects to multiple layers, and you don’t want to have to repeat those steps for each layer.

Our tutorial will show you how to merge layers in Photoshop CS5 so that you can save yourself some time.

How to Turn Two Photoshop Layers Into One

  1. Put the two layers to combine on top of each other in the Layers panel.
  2. Click on the top layer.
  3. Press Ctrl + E on your keyboard.

For further information on how to merge layers in Photoshop CS5, including images, continue to the section below.

The ability to separate different elements of my Photoshop CS5 designs into different layers is one of the things I like most about the program.

If someone asks me to create something that includes a lot of detail, then going back and making revisions is so much simpler if I only need to adjust one setting on one layer.

You can even link layers so that they are edited in conjunction with one another. It allows me to make one minor change, such as adding a drop shadow to text, without needing to worry too much about how that will affect other elements of the image.

However, sometimes you want to apply the same effect to a bunch of different elements of your image, and doing so for each individual layer, particularly if you have a lot of layers, can be very tedious. You can solve this problem by merging your layers in Photoshop CS5.

How to Combine Layers in Photoshop CS5 (Guide with Pictures)

The first thing to understand when you merge layers in Photoshop CS5 is that it cannot be undone, and your merged layers will take on the properties of an image.

This means that if you merge a text layer with another layer, you will no longer be able to edit that text with the options on the Character panel.

Once you understand this potential downfall, then you are ready to correctly sort your layers for a merge.

Step 1: Open the Photoshop image containing the layers that you wish to merge. If, for some reason, you have hidden the Layers panel, press the F7 key on your keyboard to show it.

Step 2: Organize your layers so that they are going to merge correctly.

This means sorting the layers so that the two layers you want to merge together are on top of one another in the Layers panel.

For example, if I want to merge layer 4 and layer 1 in the image below, then I need to position them so that layer 4 is directly above layer 1 or layer 1 is directly above layer 4. (If your image has a lot of layers, then you may want to rename them so they are easier to identify.)

The command that you are going to use is actually called Merge down, and the wording can help you to visualize what you need to do.

how to merge layers in photoshop cs5

Step 3: Click the top layer of the two layers that you are going to merge.

You can confirm that the correct layer is selected because it will be highlighted in blue in the Layers panel.

Step 4: Click the Layer tab at the top of the window, then click the Merge down option at the bottom of the menu.

You can also press Ctrl + E on your keyboard if you would prefer to use a keyboard shortcut.

use the merge down command to merge two layers in photoshop cs5

If you want to merge more than one layer, but not all of them, then you can hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard and click each of the layers that you want to merge, then use one of the Merge Layers options described in the section above.

Now that you know how to merge layers in Photoshop CS5, you can use this technique anytime you have multiple layers that you would like to format in the same way.

The next section discussed how you can combine all of the layers in your image into one single layer.

How to Merge All of Your Layers in Photoshop CS5 at Once

The other option for merging layers in Photoshop CS5 is to merge all of your layers at once.

If you elect to use this option, then it does not matter what order your stuff is in on the Layers menu, as Photoshop is just going to turn everything on your screen into one layer.

It also means that anything that is hidden under other layers is not going to be visible or accessible after you merge everything.

Once you understand this, you can proceed with merging all of your Photoshop layers.

Click the Layer tab at the top of the window, then click the Merge visible option at the bottom of the menu.

use merge visible in photoshop cs5 to merge all of your layers

In both cases, you can use Ctrl + Z to undo a merge if you do not like the effect that it had on your image or if you change your mind.

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