How To Create A New Layer In Photoshop

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Layers are the backbone of any Photoshop project, and understanding how to create a new layer in Photoshop will improve your editing. In a lot of cases, a new layer is created automatically with various processes, but in other cases, you will need to create one yourself.

Let’s see how you can improve your workflow by creating new layers and organizing them to work efficiently and non-destructively.

Lesson Summary

  • Step 1: Go To Layer > New > Layer Or Press Shift + Control/Command + N
  • Step 2: Add A Name For The Layer And Click OK
  • Step 3: Add Elements To The Layer As Needed

How To Create A New Layer In Photoshop

Option 1: Using The Menu Path

The most basic way is done when you go to Layer > New > Layer. You can also use the shortcut Control + Shift + N (Win) or Command + Shift + N (Mac).

In the window that comes up, you can name the layer, assign it a color label, and change the mode or opacity if you need to. Click OK when you’re done.

Option 2: Using The Layers Panel

If you don’t need to set any specific settings, you can immediately add a new layer from the Layers Panel by clicking the Create a new layer icon at the bottom of the panel. You can also use the shortcut Control + Alt + Shift + N (Win) or Command + Option + Shift + N (Mac).

This will immediately add a new layer, which you will see in the panel above the active layer.

How To Add Adjustment And Fill Layers In Photoshop

– Adjustment Layers

Add an adjustment layer by going to Layer > New Adjustment Layer and selecting one of the options shown.

The Adjustment Layer will affect all of the layers below it in the stack. To delete an Adjustment Layer, right-click or Control + click on the layer and select Delete Layer.

– Fill Layers

To add a Fill Layer, head to Layer > New Fill Layer and select the type of fill layer you want. 

When you select the type of fill layer you’d like to add, the New Layer window will appear. You can name your layer here and click OK.

Another window will appear where you can adjust the settings for the new layer.

How To Manage Layers Within The Layers Panel

In the Layers Panel, you can organize your layers. Naturally, layers at the top of the Layers Panel will sit above the layers at the bottom of the panel. Click and drag them up or down to move their order in the stack.

You can rename any layers by double-clicking their names and typing in the text box.

You can also group layers in the Layers Panel. Hold Control (Win) or Command (Mac) while clicking the layers you’d like to group. Selected layers become lighter gray. Right-click or control + click one of the selected layers, then choose Group From Layers in the options.

Grouped layers will appear in the Layers Panel as a folder. Click the down arrow to view the layers in a group.

Understanding how to use layers in Photoshop is an essential part of using the program. Just remember that when one layer is above another in the Layers Panel, the uppermost layer will appear in front of your background layer in the project. To help you better understand the use of layers in a real project, check out my beginner’s guide to Photoshop here!

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I'm a Canadian photographer and photo retoucher turned founder of bwillcreative.com. Around here I help you to decode the mystery of photo editing with no-fluff videos and written guides to help you achieve your creative goals. Outside of shooting photos and my passion for educating, you'll find me mountain biking or on the trails with my dog, Sunny!

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