Align Active Layers
Now, what I'd like to do is select the four layers that make up the top four images in this document. And, so, I need to find them. And, I could look in the layers palette to figure it out, or I could attempt to use that choice of auto-select layers. The problem is, I don't want it on all the time. So, let's figure out how to toggle it on and off as needed. Watch what happens to the auto-select option in the upper left of my screen when I hold down the command key on a Mac, control, and windows. For the length of time I have it held down, that check box gets turned on. When I release the command key, it gets turned off. And therefore I can automatically switch which layer is active, as long as I'm in the move tool, and I hold down the command key. So, that means I command click when I want to make this layer active. I command click when I want that layer active. And therefore, I can target layers as I please, but they'll never change without me purposefully holding down the command key...
and clicking. But, in my case, I need four different layers to be active at the same time. You can do that in the layers panel, a couple different methods. One is, if I already had this layer active, and that's the layer I've clicked on, if I hold down the shift key and click on another layer, it's going to select all the layers in between the last one I had made active and the one I was clicking on when I had the shift key held down. And I can add more, hold shift and click here, and it should extend it all the way down there. To end up de-selecting individual layers, I can hold down the command key and click. That's control and windows. And then I can toggle a layer, so it's either selected or not, or active or not, I should say. So, that's how I could do it here in my layers panel. The problem is, working in your layers panel, it's not always easy to tell what's in each layer. It's much easier, most of the time, to look within the main document window. So, now let's figure out how to do that same thing, using auto-select layers. So, remember, I have auto-select layers up here turned off, so therefore I have to hold down the command key and click control and windows to switch to another document. But I want not just this layer active, but I want the one next to it. If I just command click on it, it will switch which layer is active, but it won't make them both active. So, here's what I do. Just add the shift key. So, I'm holding down command, which is control and windows to say auto-select. And then shift means add to, or take away from what I already have. So, I'll do that to the other layers that are here, and now I have a total of four layers highlighted in my layers panel. Four layers are active. Well, when I have four layers active, or just anytime I have more than one layer active up here on my options bar, I'm going to see options for aligning my layers. So, if I were to click on this, it would make sure that the top edges of all those layers are in the same position. If I chose this, it would make sure the bottom edges are, or this one would center them vertically. What I want to do, though, in this case, is to choose this option. And that's going to make sure that the amount of space there is between these images is the same. So, now we have the same amount of white space between them. I want to do the same thing to the images at the bottom. So, now I need to select those four layers, and I could use the same technique. Command click on one layer, to make it active, then add shift, click on the next one, and the next one, and the next one. But, sometimes you have a large number of layers, let's say that was fifteen layers side-by-side. How could I get all fifteen selected without having to click fifteen times? Well, here's how it can be done. If you have an empty area in your document, that doesn't really contain a layer, it's empty information, you can command click as if you're using auto-select layers, but then drag. And if you clicked within an empty area, then if you drag, it's gonna select which ever layers this rectangle touches. So, it should now, make that layer active, this one, that one, keep going. And I can get multiple layers like that. And that was only if I started my mouse in an empty area of the document. And by empty, I mean an area that either contains what's known as the background, so if you look in your layers panel, this bottom most thing that's called background, it contains that, or it looks like a checkerboard. Then I'm able to do that. I have those all selected, I'll go to the top of my screen up here where I find my alignment controls and I'll tap the one that equally spaces these horizontally. And, in this case, it didn't quite do what I wanted, and that's because I have more layers down there than I need. There were two layers that were kind of right on top of each other, and so I have more layers than I need in this aisle. I'm going to get rid of one of those layers. I'm going to get rid of this one on the far right. To get rid of a layer, just click on it's name in the layers panel, and either click the trash can, at the bottom of the layers panel, or drag the layer to the trash can. Or, if you're in the move tool, just hit the delete key on your keyboard and you'll delete it. Then, I'll move this over. Oops. Sorry. All right, move this over, and then I'm going to select all those, and say equally space them. I want to get these spaces a little closer together, so I'm going to get just one layer active, this one here, drag it over, let's say about there. Then get the others selected, and tell it to equally space them with the icon at the top of my screen. Then, what I'd like to do is now I want these two top and bottom rows to take up the majority of the width of my document. So, before when we brought over an individual layer, if we wanted to change it's size, we used free transform, and when we did, it changed the size of just one layer. Well, if you have more than one layer selected like I currently have now, you can also go up to the edit menu, choose free transform, and now you're going to be resizing multiple layers. So I can get those to span the width of my screen. Press return, or enter, when I'm done. I want to do the same thing for the images at the top. I need to get them active, I can do that in many different ways, but one of which was to hold down the command key which means auto-select layers, click within this empty area, and just drag across. Then, I will transform, free transform, and get those to be spanning the width. Press return or enter to say I'm done. Now, I'd like to move this one down. I'll command click on it, cause remember, command click means auto-select layers. And now we have it filling a good portion of our screen.