How to Merge Layers in Photoshop

How to Merge Layers in Photoshop

How to merge layers in Photoshop is a step by step guide for the new Photoshop users. Usually, Photoshop layers provide us flexibility in photo editing. With layers we can create a more compelling composition within an image.

Sometimes you may feel it irritating when working with too many layers. So, the layer merging option can speed up your workflow. You can combine the layers into more manageable groups. Following the guide on how to merge layers in Photoshop can simplify your work.

Let’s learn how to merge layers in Photoshop step by step.

Step 1:

First, open your project in Photoshop. Make sure your project contains more than two layers. You can also create a new layer if you need it. To create a new layer, drag the existing layer into the “Create a new Layer” Icon. Rename the new layer by double-clicking on it. In this How to merge layers in Photoshop tutorial, I used five different layers. Each layer containing a different shape.

Step 2:

Now select the layers for merging. Suppose we are going to merge Layer 1 and Layer 2 without affecting other layers. So select Layer 1 and 2 with the mouse click and pressing and holding the Ctrl key. If they are vector, then you must rasterize them from the Layer option. Now drag the second layer under the first layer to be merged. Then “merge layers” option from the layer menu on the top of Photoshop.

You can use Shortcut Ctrl+E to merge the layers. After merging the two layers, you will see them as one layer.

Now they will work as a group layer. In my project, Layer 1 and 2 together formed Layer 2. Now, if I move the red rectangle, the blue one will also move simultaneously.

Step 3

Now you can include a layer under the merged layer with the “merge down” option. Select the merged layer then select the “merge down” option from the layer menu. Suppose I want to include layer 0 into the merged layer. So, first, I will select 2 to choose the “merged down” option. Now the merged layer and layer 0 formed a single layer.

Step 4

Now we will see how to merge visible function layers in Photoshop. In my project, I want to merge all the visible layers. You can turn on or off a layer’s visibility by clicking the visibility icon beside the layer.

So, in my project, layers 2, 3, and 5 are visible, and other layers are hidden. Now I don’t have to select all the visible layers to merge. To merge them, I will select the “Merge visible” option from the layer menu. You can do it with shortcut Shift+Ctrl+E in Windows.

Step 5

With the “Flatten Image” option, you can merge all visible layers into one single layer. You will find this option under the option “merge layers” and “Merge Visible” from the Layers menu. When you use the Flatten Image option, it will ask you to discard the hidden image.

So, how to merge layers in Photoshop is a very easy technique for you now. But remember, once you save merged layers, then you cannot undo it. So for the uncertainty, save a copy of your Photoshop project before merging the layers.


By reading the guide, now you can easily learn how to merge layers in Photoshop. You will need layer merging in your Photoshop project many times. So, read this article carefully and speed up your workflow. Let us know if you have any queries about how to merge layers in Photoshop.

Why can’t I merge layers in Photoshop?

If your layer is vector-based, then you can’t merge. You need to have a pixel-based layer under them in the Layers panel.

How to create a new layer?

Click the new layer icon beside the delete button from the layer panel to create a new layer. You can also copy an existing layer by dragging it into that icon.

How do I lock a layer in Photoshop?

Apply the lock option to a selected layer or a group to lock them. Select multiple layers, then choose Lock Layers from the Layers menu.