5 easy Steps How to merge layers in Adobe Photoshop

In this article, I will show you 5 easy Steps on How to merge layers in Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop operates predominantly using layers. Both in creating designs as well as for photo editing. Therefore one needs to understand how layers function for easier usability.

What is the merging of layers?

A layer in Photoshop is like a new blank page of a drawing book. On this page, you can create, edit, and even delete anything. With Photoshop, the layers lie above each other but act independently. 

Users can only work on a specific layer at a time. That’s how the merging of layers emerges. It is the act of combining two unrelated layers to become one. 

When it happens, the properties of the topmost layers supersede the properties of the layers beneath them. Any changes made on the topmost layer now occur in the other layers as well.

5 methods How to merge layers in Adobe Photoshop

5 methods How to merge layers in Adobe Photoshop
image Credits Photoshop Buzz

Method 1 – Using the Merge Layer Short Cut

The quickest of all methods. Click on your first layer, and as you hold the shift key on the keyboard click on the next layer. Both are highlighted. Now press Command E on mac and Ctrl + E on windows. The two layers merge.

Method 2: Through the Merge Layers tool

Select the layers you’d want to merge. By clicking on one as you hold the shift key click on the other layer. Next head on to the layers panel, on the drop-down check for layers then click on Merge layers.

Method 3: Merging layers within a shape

Apart from the aforementioned, one can merge layers using a clipping mask that holds together a shape, or boundaries. Take, for instance, a rectangular clipping mask that defines the area within its four sides. 

Therefore, if we need more than one layer within that rectangle. One needs to: hide all the other layers not being merged. 

Secondly, pick out the base layer within the clipping mask. Then click, on the menu> layers>Clipping mask. All the layers will merge.

Method 4: Merging Layer groups and Visible layers.

Photoshop provides a toggle eye icon that is used to show when a layer is visible or not on the project. If you want to merge all your visible layers check if they are visible using the eye icon. If it’s closed then the layers are invisible. If the eye icon is open then your layers are visible. Then click on Menu>Layers>Merge Visible.

Method 5: Merging Multiple layers for a single background

This last method involves flattening layers (merging multiple visible layers to one background layer.) First, check to confirm that all layers you want to work on are visible. Then go to Menu> Layers> flatten the image

There is a user’s discretion to this method- combining layers is considered a destructive editing method because you can not undo it once you flatten it. Therefore you might have to save your layers, for later reuse.

What are the Benefits of Merging layers in Photoshop

Merging layers to shrink the file size

 Opening multiple layers contain large amounts of data that may slow down your workflow. Thus, merging these layers will reduce the amount of data on your machine which in turn improves your overall productivity.

Better organization

Opening multiple layers may clutter the outlook of the window working area. Merging helps to work with important ones and delete the rest that is not usable.

Easy background modification

Merging layers, allows you to work with one background, reducing the workload that comes with working with multiple linked layers.

Better filter application

Do you want to add some filters to your images? The camera raw filter is only applicable for one layer at a time. Therefore, merging allows you to enjoy the filter on your project without having to do it on individual layers.

Better layer tracking

Working on multiple layers makes your workspace cluttered and less organized. Some layers risk missing out on the final saving thus affecting the overall final outcome of the project. Having all the working layers in one layer, ensures you have everything under one roof, thus better control.

Tips for merging layers

  • Label your layers, using a consistent method.
  • Please note, merging the layers function isn’t usable with fill layers or adjustments.
  • In case of layers that fail to merge. It could be a non-vector layer. First, rasterize the layer, Select the layer> right-click> rasterize then go ahead and merge.
  • Merging is permanent, ensuring you have everything in the right place before saving the final file.
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