Since Photoshop works primarily with layers, it’s helpful to learn how to merge layers when you need to create one layer out of several. This can be useful if you have a lot of image layers and Photoshop crashes or runs slowly or you want to quickly copy and paste an image without saving it to an image format beforehand.
When you open an image in Photoshop and edit the brightness and contrast, for example, an adjustment layer is created and the edit is added on top of the photo layer. So if you need to copy that photo along with the brightness and contrast adjustment to paste it into another Photoshop window, you can do it quickly by merging them into one layer so you can work with a single layer again.
Merge layers in Photoshop
Step 1: Select layers to merge
Let’s merge the text layers in this example, as well as the gray rectangles behind the letters. These include “FOR SALE”, Rectangle 2 copy, “FIRE TV” and Rectangle 2. So we will select these four layers to merge.
Step 2: Merge Layers
To merge these layers, press Ctrl+E (Cmd+E for Mac) or right click (Control+click for Mac) on the selected layers and click Merge layers†
When layers are merged, they are essentially flattened into a single layer, so you can’t work with them individually. Merging layers is best if you are already done working on those layers and have yet to work with others in your file.
To merge all layers in your Photoshop document, select all layers and right click (Control+click for Mac) in the layers panel and select Merge layers or, without having to select them, use the shortcut Shift+Ctrl+E (Shift+Cmd+E for Mac)†
Photoshop also has the ability to merge visible layers. This only combines the layers that are currently visible and leaves other layers that are not visible separated. Only right click (Control+click for Mac) on the layers panel in Photoshop and select Merge Visible†