How to Resize a Layer in Photoshop

Layers are the building blocks of Adobe Photoshop, allowing you to create highly complex images by arranging individual pieces one at a time. Likewise, learning how to resize a layer in Photoshop can help you finesse an image exactly the way you like it. Each layer can be tweaked until it's the perfect size, shape, and position within the overall composition. Below, we've outlined the essential steps for how to resize a layer in Photoshop, and it only takes a few seconds to do.


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Creating New Layers
To help you understand the process, we're going to assume that you don't have an image with layers yet (if you do, skip to the next section). It's easy to build layers from scratch. First, go to the main File menu and click "New" to create a new image file. A dialog box will appear, asking what dimensions you'd like for the new file. If you're not sure, just enter a width/height of 600 pixels and click OK for now. 

You should now see a blank canvas, which will serve as your "background" for other layers to be placed on. To add a new layer, find the Layers palette in the bottom right corner of the screen and make sure the "Layers" tab is selected. Within the Layers palette, you can see a list of your current layers, whether they're enabled, how they're organized, and much more. At the bottom of this palette, you'll see a row of tiny icons. Click on the one that looks like a dog-eared page to create a new layer.  

(Sidenote: if your new layer is a shape, all you need to do is draw it on the background using the Shape tool.) 

Resizing a Layer
Now that you have something to work with, it's easy to resize a layer with the Free Transform tool. To enable this tool, just click CTRL+T. If your layer is selected, you should now see a box around it, as well as anchor points (they look like tiny squares). 

Clicking and dragging on one of the corner anchor points will resize the layer, but you also need to hold Shift if you want the dimensions to stay proportional. Clicking and dragging on the anchor points to the left and right of a layer will adjust its width, while the top/bottom points will adjust its height. When you're happy with how the layer looks, press Enter to lock in the adjustments. Then, go back to the File menu and click Save to update your image file. 

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