Linking Layers in Photoshop CS2

Clive R. Haynes FRPS

Compared to previous versions of Photoshop, working with 'linked-layers' in CS2 is more complex and less intuitive. The 'complications' do allow for more flexibility, however these 'improvements' not exactly obvious upon first acquaintance.
Firstly, for new starters, why do we wish to 'link' layers anyway?
The function exists to enable the image on one layer to be 'coupled' with an image, or images on another layer or layers so that they may be moved all together. For example, if you had a composite image that, say, included three people, one per layer, exactly aligned, as you need them, they will remain separate. If you needed to move the three people to a fresh position but retain the individual relationships, you would choose the 'Move ' tool, move each of them individually, then re-align the three. This is obviously time-consuming and inefficient. By 'linking' the three layers, all three can be moved at one time - and the original spatial relationships maintained. This is simple and efficient.

How to make the 'link'
Please remember that the 'Background' layer is not available for 'linking' as it is 'locked'. The 'Background' layer can be linked and moved but you need to rename it first (double-click on the layer and either accept the default 'Layer 0' or name it yourself).

Once you have decided upon which layers are to be 'linked', click on one the layers to make it 'active' (the layer becomes blue).

To select the other layers to be linked, hold down the Ctrl key and click on the individual layers (these become blue as you click).
To include a group of adjacent layers, highlight the first one, then hold the Shift key down and click on the last one and behold, the set of layers all become blue! Should you inadvertently include a layer in error, Ctrl - clicking on the layer in question, will deselect it.

You now have two or more layers ready to be linked. With the layers so selected, click on the 'Link' icon at the base of the Layers palette - it looks like a small section of chain. After clicking on the link icon, all selected layers have the 'Link' symbol. The 'linked layers' can now be moved as a body.

How to de-select all links:
Highlight the layers as before and click on the link icon once again at the base of the Layers palette. The 'links' disappear.
How to deselect / remove a link or links:
Select the required layer(s)
Click on the 'Link' icon at the base of the Layers palette - confusingly all the 'links' disappear. However clicking on one of the layers that should still be linked, reveals the others that remain linked.
How to temporarily disable a 'link':
Shift-click on the 'Link' symbol on layer you wish to temporarily unlink. A red cross appears over the link symbol.

How to re-enable a 'disabled link':
Shift-click on the red cross over the 'Link' symbol on the layer, the cross disappears.

Know-How Contents
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