How to Move Multiple Layers in Photoshop

Would you like to save time in Photoshop?

Photoshop is an amazing program, but the nature of the beast is that sometimes the work is tedious and time-consuming. Thus, any way to speed up the workflow is greatly appreciated. 

Hey there! I’m Cara. I love playing with photos in Photoshop as part of my job as a photographer. But, I’ll admit, I get impatient, so I love tricks like this to speed things up. Take a look and I’ll show you how to move multiple layers at once in Photoshop.

Note: the screenshots below are taken from the Windows version of Adobe Photoshop, if you’re using the Mac version, the navigations may look slightly different.

Why Move Multiple Layers

Have you read our tutorial on how to copy and paste layers in Photoshop? Then, you’ve already got a good idea of how this is going to go. 

I have this image of four dogs that I cut out of four different images so each is on its own layer. As an example, I’m going to move them onto a different image to change the background. 

Moving each layer one by one is a bit tedious, plus you’ll have to reposition each one on the new background. So, I’m going to move them all at once instead. 

The program also gives you a chance to resize and position them as a group. Once you accept the changes, they divide into their individual layers once again. If you want to work with them as a group, simply select all the desired layers again. 

Step 1: Select the Layers

The first step is to select the layers you want to move. You can select multiple layers in a row by clicking the first one, holding down the Shift key, then clicking the last one. 

You can also select multiple layers by holding the Ctrl or Command key while selecting individual layers. This is handy when the layers you want to work with are not right next to each other in the layers panel. 

Step 2: Move the Layers

There are a few methods you can use to move the layers to a different document. 

Method 1: Click and Drag

Simply click and hold on to one of the selected layers. Drag up to hover over the name of the destination document.

When the document appears, drag the mouse down into the document until you see the plus sign, then let go.

Method 2: Copy and Paste

The next method is to use short-cut keys or menu commands to copy and paste the layers. With all your layers selected hit Ctrl + C or Command + C to copy. Go to the destination document, hit Ctrl + V, or Command + V to paste. 

You can also use menu commands if you prefer. You can find both the Copy and Paste commands in the Edit menu.

Method 3: Move Tool

The final method is with the Move tool. With the source image active, choose the Move tool from the toolbox on the left. Make sure that all your layers are selected. 

Grab anywhere within the image and drag up to hover over the name of your destination image. Drag down into the document and let go when you see the plus sign. 

Enjoy This Time-Saving Trick!

Being able to move multiple layers at once saves us so much time in Photoshop. This was a very simplistic example, but sometimes you might be moving tens or even dozens of layers from one image to another. Imagine how this trick can really speed up the process. 

Ready to learn more about the amazing world of Photoshop? Check out more of our stuff, such as how to make an image background transparent

About Cara Koch
Cara fell in love with photography circa 2014 and has been exploring all corners of the imagery world ever since. When she felt limited by Lightroom, she dove headfirst into Photoshop to learn how to create the images she wanted.

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