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Chapter Twelve. Layers > Choosing Layers

Choosing Layers

Q1:Is there a quick way to change my target layer?
A1: Hold down Command (PC: Control) as you click with the Move tool (V) within the image window. That layer will automatically become the active layer. Or, turn on Auto Select Layer in the Options Bar when you have the Move tool active. (Note: These functions do not work on layers with an Opacity setting of less than 50% or on adjustment layers.) Even still, you can Control-click (PC: Right-click) anywhere in your image window (with the Move tool active) and choose your layer from the contextual menu that appears.
Q2:How come when I click on my image it activates a layer? I know I'm not holding down any keys, but layers seem to be automatically selected based on where I click on my image. Why?

A2: Auto Select Layer is active. With the Move tool (V) selected, look in the Options Bar. Uncheck the Auto Select Layer option.
Q3:Is there a quick way to select a layer from the image itself instead of the Layers palette?
A3: With the Move tool (V) active, Control-click (PC: Right-click) to see a contextual menu that lists all of the layers that are available in your current mouse position. (This is good reason to name your layers.)
Q4:Why doesn't Auto Select Layer work? I have checked Auto Select Layer in the Options Bar for the Move tool, but when I try to click on a layer to activate it, a different layer is activated. Why?
A4: This happens when a layer has an Opacity of less than 50%. The Move tool doesn't “see” the layer and selects (or activates) the next layer below that has an Opacity of 50% or greater.
Q5:Is there a quick way to select layers with the keyboard?
A5: Yes, press Option (PC: Alt) and the Left Bracket key ([) to select the next layer down in the stack, or press Option (PC: Alt) and the Right Bracket key (]) to select the next layer up in the stack. Add the Shift key to select multiple layers—either the next layer up or down in the stack. Hint: Use this command when activating layers as you're recording actions so you don't record a layer's specific name.
Q6:How do I make sure that no layers are selected?
A6: If there's room in the Layers palette, you can click in the empty space below the Background layer to deselect all layers, or go to the Select menu and choose De-select Layers.

©ISTOCKPHOTO/SHAWN O'BRIEN


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