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Adobe Photoshop: Aligning layers

by Barb Binder

Photoshop doesn’t have an Align panel like InDesign and Illustrator, but with the Move tool active, if you select two or more layers in the Layers panel, the Alignment buttons will appear on the Options bar.

Here are a few tips to mastering alignment in Photoshop:

  • When you select multiple layers and select align center for example, the layer contents align relative each other.

  • If you add the Background layer to the selection and align center, they align to the canvas.

  • If you don’t have a background and need to align to the canvas, use Layer > New > Background from Layer to add it, and then remove it when you are done.

  • There’s no “key object” as in Illustrator and InDesign, but if you select something, Photoshop uses the layer with the selection as the key object and aligns the other layers to the one with the selection.

  • You can click the three dot menu to the right of the alignment buttons to access the Distribution commands.

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