It is a very simple process to merge layers in Photoshop. Follow the quick steps below to learn how. One point to note is that once you have merged layers they will become a raster layer and you won’t be able to un-merge them. If you think you may need to work on the separate layers individually again it may be best to group the layers as this will give you the ability to move the layers around as one without combining them into a single layer. See how to group layers below. Finally, if you have shape layers that you wish to combine and yet want to retain the shape properties and not convert them to raster, you should follow ‘How to Combine 2 shape layers‘.
How to merge layers in Photoshop
Above is my sample file that I have created which you will see contains 7 layers including the background. For this purpose, I want to merge the top 5 layers so that I will be able to move everything as one except for the brown paper and the background.
To do this you will first need to open your layers palette if it isn’t already open (Window > Layers)
Select the bottom layer that you want to merge and holding down the shift key select the top layer you wish to merge. This will highlight them. If the layers you want to merge aren’t next to each other select them one at a time whilst pressing the Apple / Ctrl button.
There are several ways to merge the selected layers;
A) Right click the selected layers in the Layers palette and chose ‘Merge Layers’ from the menu.
B) Click on the menu arrow on the top right of the layers palette and chose ‘Merge Layers’ from the menu.
C) Use the top menu and go to Layer > Merge Layer
D) Apple E / Ctrl E
All your layers will now be merged into one layer and will be named and positioned in the place of your original top layer.
How to group layers in Photoshop
Step 1.Create a New Group by pressing on the folder icon at the bottom of the layers palette. The new folder will appear above whichever layer you currently have selected.
Select all the layers that you want to have as a group (see Step 2 of merging layers for how to select multiple layers). Once they are all selected, click on any of the highlighted layers and drag them onto the new group folder you have just created in the layers palette. The layers will appear indented beneath the folder icon.
By toggling the triangle to the left of the group folder you can open and close the folder to show and hide the layers. You can now move all of these layers about as one and transform the items together by selecting the group folder in the layers palette. By grouping them rather than merging them you can still access the individual layers separately and un-group them if you wish.