Quick Tutorial: Auto-Select Layer in Photoshop

This tutorial teaches you how the Auto-Select Layer function works in Photoshop. It’ll show you if you actually want to use it or not.

Overview of The Function

The Auto-Select Layer function in Photoshop makes it so wherever you click in the canvas then that layer is selected in the Layer Stack.

This is important because you should always be aware of what layer is active in the Layer Stack so you don’t accidentally do something to the wrong layer. Moreover, it makes it incredibly difficult IMHO to move layers around in a complex PSD.

How Auto-Select Layer Works and How to Turn It On or Off

To turn on or turn off Auto-Select Layer in Photoshop, first make sure the Move Tool is active. You can do this by hitting the “V” key. This is usually the top-most tool in the Tool panel.

Move Tool and Auto-Select Layer in Photoshop

Next in the Move Tool Options bar, typically located at the top of Photoshop, find the checkbox for “Auto-Select”. If it is checked on then if you click inside the canvas then whichever layer was clicked will become active. Moving the mouse while it still being held down will move that layer.

Additional Suggested Viewing: Learn the Clone Stamp Tool in Photoshop

As stated above, I don’t like to work that way. I just like to select my layer then click wherever I want in the canvas and move that layer around. So for me I uncheck this box.

That’s the basics of how Auto-Select Layer works in Photoshop. If you have any questions or have some knowledge to add, please leave a comment below!

Did you enjoy this tutorial? If so, I’d love to keep in touch. All you have to do is go here to stay in the loop on new blog posts, tutorials, and announcements.

– Josh

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