How To Change Layer Visibility In Photoshop

When it comes to layer visibility, Photoshop is very flexible. You can easily show or hide layers selectively to get a better grasp of what’s going on in your project. You can toggle layer visibility for individual layers, or your entire project using the following methods.

To toggle a layer’s visibility in Photoshop, click the eye icon beside a layer to hide or reveal it. To hide or show multiple layers, click and drag your cursor over a series of eye icons to toggle them. To toggle all layers at once, right-click on the eye icon and select “show all/hide all layers.”

These methods cover most of the basics of toggling layer visibility, but there’s a lot more to talk about; including keyboard shortcuts! So let’s get into everything you need to know about showing or hiding layers in Photoshop.

How To Toggle Layer Visibility In Photoshop

If you can’t decide if a layer fits your project, don’t rush to delete it, instead, you can toggle its visibility on and off before making up your mind.

To do that, go to the Layers panel. You can find all the layers corresponding to parts of your project there.

If you can’t see the layers panel, press F7 to activate it. Alternatively, you can go to Window > Layers.

In the Layers panel, locate the layer you want to toggle the visibility of. To the left of the layer thumbnail, there is an eye icon to show the layer is visible.

The eye icon controls the visibility of a layer. When it’s turned on, you can see the object/image corresponding to that layer on the canvas.

As you can see, all the eye icons in my layers panel are visible, so all the objects corresponding to those layers are also visible. 

To turn off the visibility of a layer, click the eye icon next to the layer thumbnail. 

Once you click the visibility icon, it shows an empty block next to the layer thumbnail.

And the object corresponding to that layer will disappear from the canvas. 

Click the empty square icon to turn the layer visibility on again.

How To Toggle The Visibility Of Groups Of Layers

Let’s say you grouped some layers in your layers panel. (To group layers, select one layer after another while holding ‘shift’ and then press Control+G (On Windows) / Command+G (On Mac).

Now, you have a group of layers instead of a sequence of individual layers.

If you want to turn off the visibility of all layers of a group, click the visibility icon next to the group layer. That works because all layers inside a group are sublayers from that group.

Notice the eye icons of the sublayers are still there, but they are shadowed because the visibility of the group layer is off. This also means the elements are not visible on the canvas.

To turn on the visibility of a group layer again, click the empty square icon next to its thumbnail.

How To Make Multiple Layers Visible Or Invisible.

Making multiple layers visible or invisible gives you more control over the layers you are working with.

You can click one eye icon after another eye icon to make multiple layers visible. Although this can be time-consuming when you have multiple layers. Instead, you can make multiple layers visible or invisible at once.

To do this, you can click and drag over the eye icons next to the layer thumbnails.

So for example, let’s say you want to turn on the visibility of a sequence of layers, like the example below.

Such as turning on the visibility for the rectangle layers 1, 2, and 3.

To do that, choose a direction in which you will drag over the eye icons. For example, from the bottom to the top.

Next, click the first eye icon (rectangle 1), hold in the mouse while sliding in the direction you chose (in this case, upward). Then, let go of the mouse when all the desired layers turn visible.

Use the same method to make a sequence of layers invisible. 

How To Make Every Layer Visible In Your Project

Let’s say you accidentally made all the layers in your project invisible and want to make them visible again.

You can do that in two simple steps.

First, select all layers in the layers panel by pressing Alt+Control+A (On Windows)/Option+Command+A(On Mac)

Alternatively, go up to Select > All Layers.

Then, press Control+ , (On Windows)/Command + , (on Mac) to enable the visibility of all layers.

Alternatively, you can go up to Layer > Show Layers.

How To Hide Every Layer Except One

When working with multiple layers, it’s sometimes helpful to analyze a particular layer separately, so you can work on that layer without any distractions. Fortunately, you can do that by temporarily hiding all layers in the layer panel, except the one you want to isolate. 

To do that, go to the Layers panel and locate the layer you want to isolate.

Then, click the eye icon next to the desired layer thumbnail while holding ‘Alt’ (On Windows)/’Option’ (On Mac).

All layers will be hidden, except that layer.

Repeat the steps to bring the other layers back. 

This shortcut only works for one layer at a time. So if you click+hold ‘Alt’ (On Windows)/’Option’ (On Mac) to turn on the visibility of a specific layer, the next time you use this shortcut on a different layer, the first layer will be hidden. You can then use the shortcut on the new layer to make all the layers visible again.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to use a shortcut, you can do the following.

First, locate the layer you want to isolate. Then, place your cursor on the layer eye icon and right-click (on Windows) / Control-click (on Mac). In the menu that pops up, click on ‘Show/Hide All Other Layers’.

This will hide all layers except the one you want to isolate.

You can then repeat these steps to bring back all the layers that were hidden.

With these easy tricks for toggling layer visibility in Photoshop, you can take control over exactly which layers you want to see and when.

Happy Editing!

Article By

Brendan Williams

Hey, I'm Brendan! I'm a professional photographer and photo retoucher who has spent the majority of his career shooting or retouching outdoor lifestyle and social media campaigns for brands like G-Adventures, xoxo Bella, P&G, Fitbit, Chevy, Tourism California, and more. You can view my photography portfolio here.

These days I primarily focus my efforts on this site, creating guides and tutorials that I wish I had earlier in my career. Each week I publish new tutorials on Photography, Photoshop, Lightroom, and Canva to help you unlock new skills and bring your creativity to new levels! Everything you learn here is backed by real experience, so you can finally skip the fluff and focus only on what matters.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Continue Reading:

How To Whiten Teeth In Photoshop (2 Easy Ways)

Discover two surprisingly easy ways to whiten teeth in Photoshop with the help of a few beginner-friendly sliders.

How To Use Gradient Maps In Photoshop

Learn the ins and outs of how to use gradient maps in Photoshop to color grade your photos and transform your images for the better.

How To Make A Silhouette In Photoshop (2 Best Ways)

Here are two easy ways to make a silhouette in Photoshop. The first method creates a silhouette graphic, while the second in more realistic.

Adobe Lightroom System Requirements For Mac & PC

Here's a breakdown of the system requirements for Adobe Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC to make sure it will run smoothly on your computer.

How To Add A Watermark In Lightroom Classic & CC

Learn how to add a text or graphic watermark to a photo in Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC to protect your photos from theft.

How To Use Dehaze In Lightroom

Learn how to use dehaze in Lightroom along with five different ways you can use the dehaze tool to improve your images in Lightroom.

35+ Best Fonts For Logos In Canva

Here's a list of the best fonts for logos in Canva to help give you inspiration in your next logo design!

How To Create Curved Text In Canva

Learn how to quickly create curved text in Canva desktop and mobile with just a few clicks to spruce up any design!

35 Best Fonts For Teachers In Canva

Discover the best fonts for teachers in Canva to help with your next worksheet or presentation for your class!

The 9 Best SD Cards For Sony

Discover the best SD cards for Sony to find the most reliable and best valued memory cards for your photo and video needs.

The Best Canon Lens For Low Light (10 Top Picks)

Get a complete view of the best Canon lenses for low light photography and video along with tips to make the right buying decision.

Affinity Photo VS Photoshop – Which Should You Choose?

Let's take a deep look at the similarities and differences between Affinity Photo and Photoshop to see which program you should pick.