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Arrange the stacking order of layers more easily

Added on Tuesday 11th of October 2011 09:18 am EST

by Renée Dustman
Adobe Photoshop CS2/CS3/CS4/CS5
Operating Systems:
Macintosh, Microsoft Windows

I get really frustrated organizing layers in Photoshop. Is there an easy way to rearrange layers?

The stacking order in which Items appear in a Photoshop document is relative to the order in which layers appear in the Layers panel. The foremost object is on the top-most layer, and so on. When you create a new layer, it’s positioned directly above the active layer by default. If need be, though, you can rearrange the stacking order of layers and, thereby, change the order in which objects are layered on your canvas.

To arrange layers via the Layers panel:

  1. Choose Window > Layers to show the Layers panel if it isn’t already.
  2. Drag the layer up or down to where you want the layer in the Layers panel.
  3. Release your mouse when the line between the layers becomes highlighted, as shown in Figure A.


Alternatively, you can select one or more layers in the Layers panel, and then choose one of the following commands from the Layer > Arrange submenu:

  • Bring To Front. This brings the object to the forefront.
  • Bring Forward. This brings the object up one in the stacking order.
  • Send Behind or Send Backward. This sends the object one below in the stacking order.
  • Send To Back. This sends the object to the bottom of the stacking order.
  • Reverse. This  reverses the order of the selected layers.

The keyboard shortcuts for these commands, which you’ll find are much quicker to use, are shown in Table A.


Table A:


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