Window Menu


Layer Comps

Supported by Photoshop Elements 11 to 13 only
Requirements: An image has to be opened.

Clicking this menu item displays the Layer Comps panel for creating, editing and organizing layer compositions. You can resize the Layer Comps window by placing the mouse at the window border and dragging it.

A layer comp stores the following properties of each layer in a document: visibility, position and layer style. So layer comps allow you to create different looks or designs within one document by making certain layers visible or invisible, by positioning layers differently or by using different layer styles for certain layers. You can also quickly switch between layer comps in order to compare different looks or designs instantly.

If you switch to another document, the layer comps of the last document are not accessible anymore (unless you duplicated the document). So each document has its own layer comps. The layer comps are saved together with the document if you save it to a PSD file.

The existing layer comps are displayed in a list box on the Layer Comps panel. Above it there are five buttons as well as a menu icon that displays a menu with further commands. You can also display the same menu as a context menu by right clicking on one of the layer comp items in the list box.

To create a layer comp from the current state of the document, click the New button on the Layer Comps panel or choose the New Layer Comp menu item of the panel or context menu.

On the appearing dialog you can enter a name for the layer comp and decide which layer properties should be applied. If you are unsure, keep all three check boxes activated. If you like, you can also add a comment for explaining the meaning of this layer comp. After clicking OK, you will see the new layer comp in the list of the Layer Comps panel.

To switch between existing layer comps use the < and > buttons or click on the check box of the layer comp in the list. Clicking on the name of the layer comp will only select it, but not activate it. Alternatively you can select a layer comp in the list and choose the Apply Layer Comp menu item from the panel menu. The Previous Layer Comp and Next Layer Comp menu items of the panel menu have the same effect as the < and > buttons. To go back to the last document state that existed before you activated one of the layer comps, activate the Last Document State check box in the list or choose the Restore Last Document State menu item of the panel menu.

To edit the name of a layer comp, redefine which layer properties should be applied or change the layer comp comment, simply double click the layer comp name in the list. You can also select a layer comp and use the Layer Comp Options menu item to do the same. A dialog (similar to the New Layer Comp dialog above) will appear for editing these properties.

You can also duplicate one or more layer comps by selecting them in the list and choosing Duplicate Layer Comps from the panel menu. This is useful if you want to modify existing layer comps for new designs or looks. To delete a layer comp again, select it and click the Delete button or use the Delete Layer Comp menu item.

If you want to modify a layer comp, activate it as discussed above. Then modify the visibility, position or layers styles of the appropriate layers and click the Update button or use the Update Layer Comp menu item. You can also store the current document state as an existing layer comp by selecting the layer comp and clicking the Update button. This will of course overwrite the old contents of the layer comp.

To save each layer comp to a different image file choose the Save Layer Comps to Files menu item. In the appearing file dialog choose the destination folder and file format of the saved files. The name of the saved files will be a combination of the document name and the layer comp name.