how to unmerge layers in photoshop

Designer’s Solution: 2 Simple Ways to Unmerge Layers in Photoshop

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There is no direct method of Unmerge Layers in photoshop, So this is the problem with merging layers directly. The thing you can do in this situation is undoing changes means undoing merging. This is a destructive way of editing layers because you are making permanent changes to your layers.

Depending on how far back you need to undo, the method you should use will change. Here are the different options you have to unmerge layers in Photoshop.

Now here we have merged the layer of a lady and wings.

Merged Layers

2 Best Ways To Unmerge Layers:

Use The Undo Command

If you recently combined certain layers, you can easily undo your modifications by using a keyboard shortcut to unmerge the levels.


Just press Ctrl + Z to undo changes.


Just press Command + Z to undo changes.

You can also go up to Edit > Undo but using the keyboard shortcut is ideal for undoing several times quickly.

Unmerged Layers

Use The History Panel

The history panel keeps track of all of the adjustments made throughout a document. You can step backward through 50 different adjustments as necessary because by default, the history panel will display 50 different history states. Assuming you merged your layers within this range, you’ll be able to unmerge them in one click.

Open your history panel or locate it by going to Window > History.

History Panel

Inside the history panel will be a list of recent adjustments. Scroll through until you see the merge layer adjustment.

Click on the history state before the merge layers to step back before the merge. This will undo all your previous adjustments and step back to the point before you merged or flattened the layers.

History Panel Applied

Some Non-Destructive Ways To Merge Layers In Photoshop

The trouble with merging layers in Photoshop is that it isn’t easily undone. Often you’ll have to undo other adjustments you wanted to keep, which just creates more work.

To avoid this problem altogether, there are a variety of ways to combine layers without making permanent changes. Here are a few better alternatives to merging layers in Photoshop.

Create Smart Objects

Smart objects are a fantastic feature that will merge multiple layers, while each layer can still be individually accessed. You could only access these layers by double-clicking on the smart object. This would open a new project tab containing the individual layers.

To create a smart object, select the layers you want to merge. Right-click on the highlighted layers and select Create Smart Object.

All the layers will merge and you’ll notice a smart object icon over the layer thumbnail. If you double-click on the layer thumbnail, the smart object will open in another tab.

In this new tab, you can edit individual layers as necessary and save them back into your original project window.

Smart objects are much easier to work with and can be unmerged at any time without having to undo anything.

Smart Object

Merge Layers Into A New Layer

If you still want to merge layers, consider merging them onto an entirely new layer. This way, you always have the original layers to go back to if need be.


To merge and duplicate your layers, press Control + Alt + Shift + E (PC). This will duplicate and merge all visible layers.


To merge and duplicate your layers, press Command + Option + Shift + E. This will duplicate and merge all visible layers.

Turn back on the visibility of your other layers by toggling the eyeball icon once again.

Now you have a new merged layer while keeping the individual layers as a backup!

New Layer Merged


There aren’t many options for how to unmerge layers in Photoshop besides undoing your actions. But you can do it non-destructively by doing non-destructive methods to avoid permanent changes.

FAQs | Some Asked Questions:

Question 1: How do I hide all layers except one in Photoshop?

Answer: You’ve to click on the “eye” icon of those layers and the layers will be hidden.

Question 2: What is layer visibility in Photoshop?

Answer: Layer visibility decides whether you can make changes on a layer or not. To change the visibility you have to click on the eye icon of a layer.

Question 3: Can I unmerge layers in Photoshop?

Answer: Yes, 3 different methods are available to unmerge layers in Photoshop.

Question 4: How do I get my layers back in Photoshop?

Answer: To get back layers instantly, use the shortcut “CTRL + Z” after merging layers.

Keep Learning:

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2 thoughts on “Designer’s Solution: 2 Simple Ways to Unmerge Layers in Photoshop”

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