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How to resize layers in Photoshop

No complicated menu options necessary.
January 25, 2023

While we’ve covered resizing an overall image in Photoshop, resizing layers is important for full creative control, namely inserting and repositioning content. Thankfully, the process is dead simple.


To resize a layer in Photoshop, the easiest option is hitting Control-T (in Windows) or Command-T (on a Mac) then holding down the Shift key while you drag the borders or corners of the selection box.

How to resize layers in Photoshop

Using the Free Transform shortcut

Resizing a layer in Photoshop
Roger Fingas / Android Authority
  • First, select the layer you want to resize.
  • Activate the Free Transform shortcut by hitting Control-T (on Windows machines) or Command-T (on Macs).
  • While holding down the Shift key, click and drag the corners (or edges) of the selection box to resize. Using Shift prevents distortions.
  • You can reposition layer content by clicking and dragging the area inside the selection box.
  • When the layer looks right, hit the Enter/Return key.

Using the Move tool

This method allows more precise resizing if a layer has to conform to exact dimensions.

  • Select the layer you want to resize.
  • Pick the Move tool from the lefthand toolbar.
  • Under Options, click Show Transform Controls.
  • Click on the box surrounding your layer.
  • Adjust Width and Height values to scale your image. These default to percentages, but you can right-click in the percentage field to switch to values like pixels or inches.
  • Hit the Enter/Return key when you’re done.

Note that using either method, you may want to consider converting your layer into a Smart Object before resizing to avoid image quality problems. To do that, right-click on the layer in the Layers panel and select Convert to Smart Object. This isn’t strictly necessary, however.

Read more: How to crop an image in Photoshop