How can I make one clipping mask for many type-layers? I have many type-layers and I want one background(clipping mask) for all of them.

Have tried a couple of things. First, tried to make all my type-layers a sublayer for the clipping mask, that did not work. Second, tried to merge all of the type-layers to one, did not work either..

Been searching the web for a solution without luck.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.


  • In photoshop cs6, you can. Make a group out of all text layers then apply clipping mask to that group. But this only works in cs6. So only other way to do it is merge all text layers into raster then apply it to that. I know photoshop has lots of common sense features missing about which no one says anything...a) they are so used to doing it the retarded way that ppl don't even recognize...b) there is other better alternative to prove them wrong.
    – user8795
    May 25, 2014 at 22:39
  • Thanks for your reply @MuhammadUmer I am using cs5 and worked out when I did it your way. I did not think of the possibility to first raster all of my type-layers and then merge them. Well at least it sounds good that they have improved their logical way of doing things in the newer versions :)
    – Örvar
    May 26, 2014 at 9:37
  • for b) i meant to say there is NO other alternative
    – user8795
    May 26, 2014 at 13:30
  • Örvar, Is this is what you want to do?
    – Joonas
    May 27, 2014 at 19:36
  • @Joonas ohh its close, I want the clipping mask to shine through many type-layers. What I have done is rasterising all my type-layers, merge them all together and then applying the clipping-mask to the merged layers which worked out fine. John Manly has written another approch in his answer nr. 3.
    – Örvar
    May 28, 2014 at 15:46

3 Answers 3


I was originally thinking about posting this as two comments clearing up the two previous answers, but it got too long and neither of the previous answers clearly say what kind of mask they are talking about, so:

Best method for Photoshop CS 5 and lower versions:

  1. In the Layers panel select layers you want to mask out
    • enter image description here
  2. Right-click one of them and select Convert to smart object

    • enter image description here
    • Smart object is like a file within a file.
    • It acts like a single layer within your main document, which means that you can give it Layer styles.
    • Double-clicking the thumbnail will let you edit the contents of a smart object.
    • After you are done editing the contents of a smart object, remember to save the file, otherwise it won't update in the main document.
  3. Alt+Left-click between the smart object and your color/image layer above it, to create a clipping mask.

    • enter image description here

Best method for Photoshop CS 6 and higher versions:

  1. In the Layers panel select layers you want to mask out
    • enter image description here
  2. Group them Ctrl+G
    • enter image description here
    • Also in CS 6 and above, you can give layer styles to a group.
  3. Alt+Left-click between the group and your color/image layer above it, to create a clipping mask.
    • enter image description here

Both methods give you the same result

enter image description here

Both of these methods are very similar, but the grouping method that you can use in CS 6 and above is a bit better. It's better because you never have to leave your main document. With the smart object method, you need to edit the text in an isolated document.

  • Thanks for your answer. I tried your approach out and it worked out great. As I mentioned in an earlier comment I only have cs5 to work on. I have been thinking about why is it not a good idé to rasterize your type-layers, merge them and then apply the clipping mask?
    – Örvar
    May 31, 2014 at 10:01

Yes, the simpliest way is to put all your font layers in one group and apply mask to the group. Is this works for you? Or you need another solution?

  • Apperantly this is not possible to do in my version which is cs5. But now I know that it is possible in cs6+ thanks.
    – Örvar
    May 26, 2014 at 9:43
  • Orvar, masks for groups was available from CS version I guess.. at least at CS4 works fine.
    – Vnovak
    May 26, 2014 at 9:56

Have you tried to convert all of the type-layers into a Smart Object and then apply your mask to that?

  • Group all of the layers together: select each layer in the Layers Panel and while holding shift press on the Create a new group icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel (it looks like a folder).

  • Right-click or CTRL + Click on the new group and select Convert to Smart Object from the menu.

  • Apply your mask to the new Smart Object.

I believe that this should work for you. I like to avoid rasterizing elements at all costs, so (for me anyway) this method would be preferable to one requiring myself to do so.

  • Hi, no I have not tried to convert all my type-layers into a smart object. I did not know that you could convert a folder to a smart object aswell. Im quite new to photoshop so I dont know exactly what a smart object is or what rasterizing actually does. Definitely need to read up on that for sure! Thanks for your answer :)
    – Örvar
    May 28, 2014 at 15:56

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