Photoshop tutorial: How to lock and unlock layers in Photoshop

There may be times when you want to protect the contents of a layer to ensure that it does not get changed accidentally. In order to do this, you can lock layers.

Step 1


Open Photoshop file

First of all, you'll need to make sure that the file you're working on is open in Photoshop. Here, we're using a model shot, which will be placed in front of a stripy background.

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You can find out how to achieve a cut-out like the model shown above in our 'How to remove a background in Photoshop' tutorial.

We're working on just two layers in this image, but you might be working on lots more layers.

Step 2a

STEP 1

Select the layers you want to lock

Select the layer that you want to protect in the layers panel.

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Lock individual layers or a group of layers

Now, click the Lock button (it looks like a padlock) above the layers to lock that panel and all of its properties.

If you want to lock a group of layers you can select multiple layers and then click the Lock button.

You'll now see a little padlock symbol beside each locked layer.

To unlock a layer, simply select it and click the Lock button again. The padlock symbol should disappear.


Step 2b

STEP 2

Partially lock a layer

If you don't want to lock all of a layer's properties, you can partially lock a layer by following the next few steps.

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Lock transparent pixels

To lock the transparent pixels in a layer, which will only allow you to edit the portions of a layer that are not transparent, click the square Lock Transparent Pixels button.

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Step 2c

STEP 3

Lock image pixels

To lock the image pixels in a layer, which will only allow the modification of the transparent pixels in your image, you can click the Lock Image Pixels icon, which looks like a paintbrush.

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Step 2d

STEP 4

Lock the position of pixels on a layer

If you want to ensure that you don't move the pixels on a layer, you can click the Lock Position button, which looks like four arrows.

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If you have partially locked an image, the padlock symbol shown on that particular layer in the layers panel will not be completely filled in.


Step 2e

STEP 5

Alternatively, you can lock layers by selecting the layer or layer group and going to Layer > Lock Layers and then choosing your preferences from the Lock Layers window

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