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Photoshop CS4 offers an abundance of helpful shortcuts and hidden tricks that allow designers and photographers to get more done in less time. In Photoshop CS4 Power Shortcuts, Michael Ninness reveals hundreds of tips to boost productivity, including the top 20 power shortcuts every Photoshop user must know. He covers strategies for better document and panel management, and offers techniques for becoming quicker and more nimble when using layers, adjustment layers, and layer masks. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download the keyboard shortcut guide from the Exercise Files tab.
All right, let's talk about some shortcuts for merging layers. Just a little brief disclaimer. Before you start merging layers make sure that it is indeed what you want to start doing because that's a destructive action. If you save your file, you can't get those individual layers back. Okay, put that aside. The keyboard shortcut for merging layers is Command+E or Ctrl+E on the PC. The way it works is the active layer merges with the layer directly below it and the layer name of the layer you are merging into is what's retained. So, here I have got the left layer selected. I'm going to do Command+E or Ctrl+E. It merges into the layer below it and retains the layer name of the Middle because that was the layer you merged into.
If I did this again, Command+E, Ctrl+E, Middle moves into right and the layer name of right has been taken. So, you can just keep doing this one at a time or merge whatever layer you want two layer below it. If you want to control in a specific way of the layer you want to merge is not above the layer you want to merge it into, you can just change the stack in order and what not. So, let's undo this. I'm going to Command+Option +Z or Ctrl+Alt+Z until I get back to where I started here, so just twice. You can also merge groups. So, if I have group of layers inside a folder here named, Images, here in this particular example. If I do Command+E or Ctrl+E, the group flattens in one step and you retain the name of the group. So, that's a nice little convenience there. And when you just want to flatten a group down to its composite there. Let's undo that.
One variant of the Merge Command is the Merge Visible Command. So, I'm going to Option-click on this left layer or Alt- click on its eye here. That will toggle the visibility of all the other layers, off. If I turn on right, so we have left and right and we want to merge those into a single layer. So, Command+Shift+E or Ctrl+Shift+E will merge visible. In this situation it actually merges the layers into the active layer. So, this time I have the Left name as the result. Let me undo that, Command+Z, Ctrl+Z.
Just let's flip this. Let's have the right layer selected as the active layer and do Command+Shift+E, Ctrl+Shift+E, here you will see I get the same result but except the layer name is retained of the right layer because that was the active layer. So, just some subtle differences there between Merging versus Merging Visible. Merging individual layers versus merging groups. So, Command+E, Command+Shift+e, Ctrl+E, Ctrl+Shift+E, and it becomes quite handy, when you want to merge layers.
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