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How to Resize One Image in a Multi-layered Document in Photoshop and PSE

The last tip focused on how to upscale an image to fill a page. It struck a chord with quite a few of you. Thanks for the feedback! I really enjoy hearing from you. Several of you asked me to demonstrate how to resize just one image in a layered document.

When you drag a photo onto your working document, sometimes it is too large or too small. Here's how to deal with that situation.

  • Start by opening a layered file and a photo in Photoshop or PSE.
  • Get the Move tool and click on the photo. Drag the photo onto the layered file. (Tip: Sometimes it's easier to drag the image from the Layers Panel onto the document.)
  • The layered document becomes the "active" document in your editing window. Click the photo layer either by selecting it in the Layers Panel or on the document. When it is selected, the layer is highlighted in the Layers Panel.
  • Press Ctrl T (Mac: Cmd T) on the keyboard. This is the shortcut for the Transform controls which allow you to resize the selected layer without resizing the whole document.
  • Sometimes the photo is so large, the corners are outside the document bounds. When this happens, you can't see the corner so press Ctrl 0 (Mac: Cmd 0) on the keyboard. This "zooms out" the view so that you can see the corner handles.
  • To make the photo smaller, click a corner and drag toward the center of the document. (Tip: If the photo is getting distorted as you drag, hold the Shift key as you drag inward. Some versions of the software require the Shift key and others do not, so keep this in mind to avoid the "funhouse" effect.)
  • To make the photo larger, click a corner and drag away from the center of the document.
  • Confirm the size change by clicking the checkmark that appears either in the Options bar across the top of the screen or under the layer or press Enter on the keyboard.

- To resize several layers together at one time, for example a frame with tape and a photo inside, select all the layers you want to resize. Hold the Ctrl key as you select the layers. Press Ctrl T (Mac: Cmd T) and use the corner handles to resize the group.

- With several layers selected, click the Link Layers icon (looks like a chain link in the Layers panel) to link the items together. Using this function, moving or resizing one of the link layers automatically affects the other linked layers. So you can move or resize the linked layers as one.

There's no need to resize an image before moving it to a layered document. Using the steps in this tutorial, you'll know exactly how to resize a layer on the fly.
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