How to Link Layers in Photoshop

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Linking layers in Photoshop CC can significantly improve your design workflow by allowing you to move and apply transformations to multiple layers at the same time, while maintaining the layout you created.

Linking Layers

Step 1: Open the Layers Panel

(Image: Image courtesy of Adobe)

Click on the Layers panel. The default Photoshop workspace docks the Layers panel on the right side of the document window. If you can't see the Layers panel, select Window from the main menu and then Layers to bring it up.

Step 2: Select the Layers to Link

Contiguously selected layers.
Contiguously selected layers. (Image: Screenshot courtesy of Microsoft.)
Non-contiguous selected layers.
Non-contiguous selected layers. (Image: Screenshot courtesy of Microsoft.)

For non-contiguous layers, control-click to select the layers in the Layers panel, or shift-click after selecting the Move tool on the images in the document window. If using the Move tool method, be sure the Auto-Select: Layer box is checked at the top of the document window.

Step 3: Click the Link Icon

(Image: Image courtesy of Adobe)

Link the selected layers by clicking on the link icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. It resembles a paper clip or chain link.

The layers are now linked and show the link icon beside each linked layer. The linked layers accept transformations and move together while maintaining the layout -- they function in unison as one layer. The difference between selecting layers and linking layers is that the linked layers stay linked for your next action whereas the selected layers do not.

Unlinking Layers

(Image: Screenshot courtesy of Microsoft.)
(Image: Screenshot courtesy of Microsoft.)

Tip

  • If you only have one adjustment to make, select the layers, make the adjustment and move on. If you have multiple adjustments to make, link the layers until you're done making all the adjustments.

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