How to Ungroup in Photoshop

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Multiple layers can get cluttered when editing in Photoshop, making it confusing to locate specific edits. Fortunately, Photoshop can manage and layer groups, making it easier to find design elements as you edit photos or graphics. Learn how to ungroup in Photoshop so you can organize your editing workflow.

How to Ungroup in Photoshop

The easiest way to ungroup in Photoshop is to press Command/Ctrl + Shift + G, then select Ungroup Layers. Another way to ungroup pictures or objects is to click on Delete > Group, then choose Group Only to ungroup the layers back. Photoshop provides ways to ungroup layers using the panel or menu.

An image of Photoshop

If this is your first time working in Photoshop, the concept of layers can sound intimidating at first, especially when you see the myriad of editing options. With these tips, you can locate and ungroup layers to achieve an efficient workflow.

Ungrouping Layers

Organizing layers in Photoshop is an essential aspect when editing. As Photoshop allows you to make unlimited layers, you may end up with a large number of layers in a single file. There are three main ways of ungrouping layers to edit them as separate entities.

Selecting From the Panel

Photoshop can sort layers based on the kind, effects, or attributes.  Grouping and ungrouping layers can keep the layers panel uncluttered. Ungrouping layers from the panel is the most straightforward method.

  1. Use the keyboard shortcut by pressing Command/Ctrl + Shift + G.
  2. Alternatively, you can right-click on the group in the panel.
  3. Choose the Ungroup Layers option from the drop-down menu to disperse the grouped layers.
  4. Select only the layer you wish to move. If you keep every layer highlighted, Photoshop would still treat them as a grouped or single entity.

Selecting From the Menu

Photoshop also lets you combine several objects into a group. Even if you ungroup the other group, the elements in the nested group will remain in one folder. It would be better to use this technique if you only want to select a particular group.

  1. Go to the Layers menu, and click on Ungroup Layers.
  2. Select Delete > Group, then click on Group Only from the dialog box. Choosing this will ungroup the layers back.
  3. If you need to move a particular object, click on its layer and select the Move tool.
  4. Choose Auto Select, then drag the object into one of the selected layers.

Ungrouping Text

Using layers for graphic design manipulation in photography is among the best reasons to use Adobe Photoshop. Suppose you’re creating a branding brochure where you need to combine images, infographics, or explanatory text. The layers will pile up as you add pictures, shapes, text, and other graphical elements.

Typically, you would type words, text, or sentences in a single layer. However, you can also type each in a separate letter if you want to ungroup text in Photoshop.

  1. Select the Type tool and type the letters in separate layers.
  2. Press Command/Ctrl + J to copy each letter layer twice.
  3. Choose the group of objects for ungrouping.
  4. Head to Home, then click on Ungroup.
An image of a woman learning how to ungroup in Photoshop

Ungrouping JPEG in Photoshop

Some photographers and editors prefer to work on JPEG files because they are highly compressible and are compatible with most software. Here’s how you can ungroup JPEG content in Photoshop.

  1. Right-click on the Lasso icon on the toolbox.
  2. Choose the Polygonal Lasso tool.
  3. Click each corner of the object you want to separate from the file.
  4. Double-click to select the outlined area.
  5. Click Layers in the menu bar.
  6. Click New to launch a new cascading menu.
  7. Click Layer to split off the selected area of the picture.
  8. Do these steps for other objects in the image.
  9. Press Command/Ctrl + Shift + G, then click on Ungroup Layers.

Ungrouping Layers for Copying

Photoshop now allows editors to copy and paste layers inside or between documents. After fixing color management settings in the imported data, here are the steps for ungrouping layers for copying contents in Photoshop.

  1. Right-click the grouped folder, then click on Ungroup Layers.
  2. Select the necessary layer/s, then press on Command/Ctrl + Shift + C.
  3. Go to Edit > Paste or press Command/Ctrl + Shift + V to paste the copied layers into the chosen document.
  4. If you choose the Copy Merged option, Photoshop will create a merged copy of the visible layers in a selected area.
  5. If you need to put the ungrouped layer/s in a targeted document in an area relative to its original position, click on Edit > Paste Special > Paste in Place.

What Are Groups in Photoshop?

Groups are a folder of layers in Adobe Photoshop. Think of it as organizing files into document folders on a computer. The groups contain different layers and adjustments you can control and modify.

For example, when editing a headshot, you may create one group dedicated to skin tone retouching, a different one for sharpening, and another for some texts. In effect, the related edits are in one place, and you can quickly locate them as you work on the file.

Importance of Ungrouping in Photoshop

Now, you may be thinking, why do you need to ungroup in Photoshop if groups can organize layers and edits? Sometimes it’s much better to ungroup the layers first to make certain adjustments.

  • See everything at once: Can’t remember where you’ve grouped a specific layer? Ungrouping the folders will show everything on the Layers panel at once. However, this is only advisable if you work on a few layers.
  • Reorder layers: There may be instances where you need to change the stacking order of the layers. For example, the blemish removal layer must be on top of the image layer. Click and drag the layer to your desired position in the Layers panel.
  • Apply blending modes: While you can apply a blending mode to a whole group, you may get a different result than if you do the changes to each layer individually. Remember that Photoshop treats a group as a merged layer, so it would be better to ungroup them first.
  • Link layers: You can still link layers once you ungroup them. In this way, you can connect, move, and transform multiple layers together while retaining their independence in the layers panel. For instance, the clone stamp tool will follow wherever the linked image layer goes.
  • Hide layers: You may also hide layers or styles to view a specific part of the picture you’re editing. When ungrouped, you can click on the Eye icon next to a layer to hide its content from the document window without necessarily deleting it.
An image of a woman doing photoshop

Related Questions

How to Group Layers in Photoshop?

To group layers in Photoshop, select the layers and press Command/Ctrl + G to create a group folder. You can also name the group to describe its content, like logos, city names, or design elements.

How to Merge Ungrouped Layers?

Make sure to make the ungrouped layers visible, select them, and click on Choose Layer > Merge Layers. Doing this can help you reduce the image file size. However, the data on the top layers would replace the data it overlaps.

How to Remove Layers in Photoshop?

To remove layers in Photoshop, press the F7 key to display the Layers panel. Click the layer you want to remove, then select the Delete Layer icon. Hold the Ctrl key, click on the layers, and then Click on the Delete Layer icon to remove multiple layers.


Whether you need to ungroup text, pictures, or objects, Photoshop offers different ways to make layers accessible for editing. Practice these tips, and they’ll become a part of your regular workflow in no time.