So at work I have been converting a lot of PSDs to web. When I need say a background image of a box I hide everything else hide all the text and content inside of said box, select, copy merge etc. Then I need to go back to my PSD for the next item, except now everything is hidden and it's a giant frustration to try to make everything visible in its original state. At this point I generally just close the file without saving and open it again. Undo doesn't seem to work with layer visibility for good reason.

I am wondering if there is any way to set default layer visibility so I can quickly return everything to it's original state without having to reopen the file or go through each item individually. Thanks!


Holding down the alt key (or option for Mac) and then clicking on a layer icon will hide all other visible layers leaving only the one you clicked visible. Clicking it again will show all layers again that were previously hidden.

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Note that layers that are already hidden will not be affected by this shortcut (they will stay hidden).

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Also, as Bakabaka pointed out, if you manually change layer visibility after alt-clicking you will not be able to use the shortcut to unhide any hidden layers.

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Bonus tip: With the move tool selected (v) you can CTRL-Click on the canvas and it will automatically select the layer in the layer panels that you clicked on. (This helps avoiding sorting through tons of layers and doing the "toggle test" on each one).

  • Wow! 15 years of using Photoshop and I've never heard of that one. just goes to show how vast this program really is. Great tip! – ckpepper02 Sep 23 '13 at 20:30
  • Yeah, I've been using it for almost 10 years now and you can learn something new every day! It's great. – Hanna Sep 23 '13 at 20:45
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    be warned: if you alt-click to hide all layers except the one you're clicking on, and then manually change any layer visibility, Photoshop will 'forget' what layers were visible before the alt-click and you can't easily go back anymore. – Vincent Sep 24 '13 at 10:47
  • I'll add that into my answer, it's an important note. Thanks, @Bakabaka. – Hanna Sep 24 '13 at 16:16

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