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How to Select All Layers in Photoshop

Published: 11/05/2021

Layers are essential in Photoshop Workflow, which allows us to take our creativity up a notch. You need to learn the ropes of using Photoshop layers if you want to ace ingenious image editing. If you want to work on multiple layers simultaneously, you need to learn how to select all layers in Photoshop. 

How to Select All Layers in Photoshop

When it comes to photo editing, expanding your creative capacity is essential. Photoshop is a robust tool for photographers to augment what they have shot before showing it to the world. Therefore, learning to use its dominant features will equip you with unlimited options.

Layers are a central feature in Photoshop, which can help you transform the images using design elements in imaginative ways. Learning to use layers to their full potential is a skill that every photographer must learn. Among many other techniques to quickly work with layers is the option to select all layers.

Many professional photographers use layers extensively. You can select all layers using various methods depending on how you wish to manipulate them. Below, we will explain each method in detail to make layer selection effortless for you.

Select All Layers in the Layers Panel

On the right-hand side of the document window, each layer is shown as a thumbnail along with its name in the Layers panel. The list of layers is shown in the appearance order, which means that the top layer is listed on top, whereas the background layer is the last. 

If you want to select all of these layers in the panel, click on the top layer. While holding down the SHIFT key, click on the last layer. This will give you a consecutive selection. Or, you can hold down the CTRL key on Windows or CMD key on Mac and click on the layers to select them all.  

Using keyboard shortcuts to select all layers

You can click on one layer in the panel and then go up to the Select Menu and choose All Layers. This option will leave out the background layer and select the rest. The reason why the background layer isn’t a part of the selection is that it is locked.

Simply unlock the background layer by clicking on the little padlock beside its name. Now go to Select > All Layers, and your background will also be included in the selection.

Selecting All Layers in the Layers Panel

Select All Layers Using the Move Tool 

The move tool provides immense utility while you are editing in Photoshop CC. it allows you to select an object and move it around the document window with ease. You can access the move tool by tapping V on your keyboard or choose the icon for it in the toolbar. 

The Move tool can be used in two ways to select all the layers.

Selecting all layers using the Move tool

Auto Select

When you select the move tool, you will see an Auto Select checkbox in the options bar above. Click on the checkbox to enable auto select and select Layers from the dropdown menu beside it. 

Select a single layer by clicking on it in the image window or multiple layers by holding down the SHIFT key while you select the images. The Auto Select is a handy option when you are working on a complex image with multiple layers.

You may want to select all but few layers in the image. To do so, you can lock those layers in the layers panel by clicking on the padlock above the layers’ thumbnails. 

If your auto-select feature is turned off, you can temporarily activate it with the move tool by pressing CTRL (on Windows) and Command (on Mac) and using the move tool for selection. Note that the checkbox for Auto Select turns on while you are holding down the CTRL or CMD key. 

Marquee

Another way to use the move tool is to use it for a marquee selection. This trick is not known to many Photoshop users, but it is a very quick and easy way to select all your layers at once.

Make sure that the Auto-Select option is disabled before using this method. 

Choose the Move tool from the toolbar and press CTRL+ Click on any section in the background layer (Command + Click on Mac). Draw a marquee to select all the layers within it. 

While dealing with layers that are clustered in an area of the image, the marquee selection provides a lot of ease and accessibility. 

Select All Layers Using Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are always a quick fix saving your precious time as well as making tasks uncomplicated. For the selection of all layers in Photoshop, there are keyboard shortcuts that assist in your workflow.

  • On Windows, a combination of CTRL + ALT + A will select all layers.
  • On Mac, a combination of CMD + OPT+ A will select all layers.

Using this keyboard shortcut, you can select all layers except for your background layer in Photoshop. Unlock the background layer if you need to add it to the selection as well. 

Selecting All Layers Using the Layers Filter Tool

The filter option in Layers is a convenient way to look up all the layers that you want to select. 

Layer Names 

You can turn on the filter by name search bar in layers panel by pressing ALT + CTRL + SHIFT + F on Windows, or OPT + CMD + SHIFT + Mac. Type in the name of the layers that you are looking for selection. A convenient option for highly complex layers images with several layers. 

If you are learning to use layers, remember to name them properly for better organization, and easy search. After searching with names, you can use the selection methods or keyboard shortcuts to select these layers.

Layer Types

Among Photoshop CC’s user-friendly features is the filter bar for layers. At the top left section of the Layers panel, you will see a drop-down menu where you can choose the layers based on Kind, Name, Effect, Attribute, Color, Smart Object, Selected, or Artboard.

Selecting all layers using the Filter tool

This filter by type flexibility helps narrow down your search in case of an image that has a lot of layers. You can turn the filter on or off by clicking on the Light switch toggle bar. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Deselect All Layers?

You can easily deselect all the layers by going to the Select menu and choosing Deselect Layers. Or, you can click in an empty section (below the background layer) in the layers panel where the layers are listed. 

Conclusion

Photoshop has given a number of options for layers selection to speed up your workflow. You may use only one or two of them most of the time, but it is better to know them all so that you have a better grasp of using layers in Photoshop. 

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