How to Group Layers in Photoshop the Right Way: 2 Simple Steps

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Welcome to yet another simple and straightforward Adobe Photoshop tutorial on the basics by yours truly.

I’ve been a professional graphic designer for 20 years. And it is my mission, to break down some of the most basic functions of Photoshop in a digestible way that anyone can understand.

In this Photoshop tutorial, we are going to be talking about Photoshop groups. Namely, what they are and how to use them.

Topics covered in this article:

What are groups in Photoshop?

Photoshop groups are a collection of one or more layers that have been linked together in a single folder in the Layers Panel.

The benefits of using groups in Photoshop include:

  • Keeping documents with multiple layers organized.
  • Being able to move, resize, style or change the blend mode, opacity and visibility of an entire collection of layers once, as a whole.
  • Create multi-layer clipping masks and layer masks.

Performing these tasks on a group’s root folder rather than on individual layers can open up an entirely new world of design possibilities.

a composite image of a girl holding a laptop
(original photo by Dean Drobot/

What is the fastest way to group layers in Photoshop?

The fastest way to group layers in Photoshop is to select the layers you want to group and use the keyboard shortcut. The default shortcut is Cmd + G (Mac) or Control + G (Windows).

Another quick way to group multiple layers together is by selecting the layers you want to group and clicking on the folder icon located at the bottom of the layers panel.

Or, you can group layers manually using the following steps:

1. Select the layers you wish to group in the Layers Panel. To select multiple layers at a time, click each layer while holding down the Shift key.

2. Right-click and choose Group from Layers. Name your new group, and click OK.

Voila – the selected layers have now become a group of layers.

You can now expand and collapse the group as you please to reveal the individual layer thumbnails by clicking on the arrow next to the group’s folder icon.

And remember, you can always ungroup layers by right-clicking on the group’s root folder and selecting Ungroup Layers.

How do you combine layers in Photoshop?

You may also opt to go a step further and combine, or merge your layers. But be aware – when you merge multiple layers, you lose the ability to go back and edit, or style, the individual elements. The new layer, including layer styles, will be completely flat after the merger.

To merge multiple layers in Photoshop, select the individual layers you wish to combine in your Layers Panel, right-click, and select Merge Layers.

Alternatively, if your layers are already grouped together, you can also click on the group’s root folder in the Layers Panel and select Merge Group.

Read Also: How to flatten an image in Photoshop; 3 easy steps

If you found this article helpful, let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to connect with me on social media for more Photoshop tutorials just like this one.

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Morgan Overholt

Morgan has almost 20 years of professional experience in graphic design and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Her successful freelance business has been featured in articles that have appeared on, Refinery29 and Business Insider Prime.

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