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How to Ungroup in Photoshop

Published: 11/05/2021

Understanding how to work with layers is crucial if you want to learn Photoshop. One of the features you will frequently use in image processing is grouping and ungrouping layers. Understanding how to ungroup in Photoshop will give you a better grasp at organizing your editing workflow. 

How to Ungroup in Photoshop Easily

When you first start working in Photoshop, you may be alien to the concept of layers. You may feel intimidated to see a myriad of options available, yet handling all the features is quite manageable. Especially, learning how to add, delete, duplicate, group, and ungroup layers is essential to get them organized. 

Introduction to Layer Groups

Every Photoshop document starts as a white background which is basically your first layer on the document window. From then on, any element that you add to the background is counted as a separate layer.

If you are creating a document with multiple layers, it can quickly become complicated as layers keep adding, and you just cannot seem to keep track of them. Therefore, Photoshop gives the grouping option where you can select similar types of layers and combine them into a group.

Handling layers in a group is easier as you can apply edits to all of them simultaneously. 

For instance, you can apply clipping masks or layer masks to all the layers in a group in one go. This saves your time and effort, which you can alternatively use for creative purposes.

When you are done with the edits, you can also ungroup the layers, which basically lists them back individually in the layers panel.

Creating Groups

Graphic design manipulation with layers is the reason why Photoshop is such an acclaimed software

Suppose you are creating a real estate flyer where you need to add a few images and some explanatory text sections. Creating such a visual is fairly easy. However; it might get the layer panel crowded due to the shapes, images, text, and any other elements that you have added.

In such a situation, layer groups are a tremendously helpful feature that literally clears the clutter in the layers panel by assembling similar layers in a single group. For instance, you can add all the layers in the header section in a group and name it Header content.

Creating a group is a very easy process. You firstly need to select the desired layers and form a group.

  1. In the layers panel, select the layers by holding down the CTRL key (on Windows) or CMD key (on Mac) and clicking on the layers.
  2. If you want a continuous selection, click on the top layer and then click on the last one while holding down the Shift key. This will select the required layers in a sequence.
  3. Now you can group them using any of the following methods:
  1. Right Click on the layers, and select Group From Layers in the drop down menu.
Selecting group from Layers in the drop down menu
  1. Go to the Layers menu on top, and select Group Layers.
  2. On Windows, press ALT and drag the layers to the folder icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. On Mac, drag them to the folder icon while holding Option on your keyboard. 
Dragging the layers to the folder icon at the bottom of the Layers panel
  1. Press CTRL + G on Windows or CMD + G on Mac to group the layers.
  2. Give a name to the group which describes its content. You can double click on the group name after expanding it in the panel to rename it. 

Ungrouping Layers

Organizing layers in Photoshop is an aspect as important as creating them in the first place. As Photoshop allows us to create unlimited layers, we often let loose our creativity and design intricate graphic files. As a result, there can be a large number of layers in a single file, making matters confusing.

But you can easily keep track by using the grouping and ungrouping option at your convenience. You can create a group with multiple layers, but you may change your mind later. If you want to work with a specific layer, simply ungroup them to treat them as separate elements.

As with all the other features, ungrouping is also a straightforward process in Photoshop.

Selecting from Panel

  1. The easiest way to ungroup your layers is to select the group in the panel and press the keyboard shortcut for the ungrouping command that is CTRL + SHIFT + G on Windows or CMD + SHIFT + G on Mac.
  2. Right-click on the group in the panel. It will open a drop-down where the Ungroup Layers option is available. Click on it to disperse the layers.
Ungroup Layers option in Photoshop
  1. If you press CMD and drag the layer group to the trash can icon at the bottom right of the Layers panel, it will delete the group, leaving its layers intact.

Selecting from the Menu

  1. Simply select the group that you wish to disperse. Go to the Layers menu and select Ungroup Layers. 
  2. Another way to ungroup layers is to go up to the Layer menu. Select Delete > Group. This will open up a dialog box asking you to delete “Group Only.” Clicking on this will ungroup the layers back. 
Delete Group option in Lightroom

Selecting From Windows

If you do not wish to divert your attention away from the image area, you can ungroup layers in the Window with images.

  1. Select the Move tool from the toolbar on the left section of the image.
  2. Click on the Auto Select checkbox, and select Group from the drop-down menu beside it.
  3. Now, if you click on any layer that is a part of a group, it will select the group in the layers panel. Now you can use any of the methods for ungrouping described above. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do We Need To Group or Ungroup Layers?

Photoshop Layers can be of several types. You can see that you can sort your layers based on kind, attributes, effects, and more in the Layer filter. To keep your layers panel uncluttered, we need the option to group and ungroup layers. Both the options allow better accessibility, accelerating your Photoshop workflow and making it easier. 

Conclusion

The Ungroup Layers feature is very useful for the time when you need to reorganize your groups. Photoshop provides many ways in which you can ungroup your layers using the panel, document window, or menu. All of these methods are easily accessible and become a part of your regular workflow while working with layers. 

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