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Reagan Ray is the lead designer and resident illustrator for Paravel.

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Quick Layer Selecting

August 22, 2011

Naming your layers and grouping them into folders is good practice for any Photoshop user. Organizing elements not only helps reduce the visual clutter in the layers palette, but is extremely helpful if someone else has to pick up your document and make sense of it. However even with these steps in place, the sheer number of layers can daunting to sift through when you’re trying to find that one text element or bullet graphic.

It would be nice if layers could be tagged or if Photoshop gave you the ability to search layers. Alas, these options are not available. So what other ways do we have at our disposal for quickly getting to the layer we want without digging through layers and nested folders?

The “Move Tool” gives us a couple of options. With it active, Photoshop presents the option to “auto-select” groups or layers in your document. This toggle is available towards the top of the application’s window. “Auto-select” is handy, but I’ve often found it to be a bit tricky to work with especially since I’m a compulsive mouse clicker.

My preferred method (again with the “Move Tool” active) is to right-click in my document on the item/layer I’m trying to select, which in turn brings up an outline view of the layers palette with the item/layer I clicked on highlighted. From there I can confirm that the highlighted item is the one I want or select a different layer. The menu also gives you the option to “Select Similar Layers”, which can be helpful if you want to select a grouping of text layers, all of your smart objects, etc.

Produced By

Phil Coffman

VP of Design & Founder of Method & Craft
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