Unanticipated Behavior of Merge Layers Command

Posted By
Jul 17, 2008
In CS3, I have three layers named A,B,and C top-to-bottom

I select (highlight) all three.

I hide the top layer (A) by turning its eye off.

I leave layers B and C visible (eyes on).

"Merge Layers" is now a non-grayed-out option under Layers on the menu bar.

I choose "Merge Layers".

The resultant merged layer is named "A".

But the new A layer has only the contents of B and C.

The original content of A has been deleted

The name of the topmost selected layer is assigned to the result

This is true whether the topmost layer is visible or not

But if the topmost selected layer is NOT visible, it’s not merged

Any selected hidden layer, topmost or not, gets deleted via Merge Layers

Yet, the merged result gets the name of the topmost selected layer

Weird! Would someone else please confirm this behavior.

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Jul 17, 2008
Seems reasonable to me. Why are you selecting a layer if you don’t want it merged? It is being merged, in its current state of non-visibility.
Jul 17, 2008
Yep, Ed. That’s the way it works for me too.

I think what you may want, George, is to make certain NO layers are selected. Then, with layer A tuned off (hidden) use Merge Visible. That merges the visible layers while not deleting any hidden layers (note I’m using CS3, though as far as I remember it worked this way all the way back to 4 or 5).
Jul 17, 2008
Thanks for the confirmation. I realize that is not something you want to do, But PS has taken the trouble to gray-out or leave out "Merge Down" or "Merge Layers" or "Merge Visible" when other undesirable or unwanted or impossible juxtapositions of layer visability and selection are inadvertently set up. Why not in this instance?

Giving the merged layer the name of the totally deleted layer is the coup-de-grace. It’s not a problem for me personally. However it has caused confusion in a PS discussion group with newbies and even veterans who had not noticed that particular action before. Cheers.
Jul 17, 2008
It’s NOT a deleted Layer. It’s the topmost selected Layer that got merged.

Just don’t highlight a Layer you don’t want to Merge. Simple.

Are you sure the other choices are all grayed out if you have one layer highlighted?
Jul 17, 2008
"…It’s NOT a deleted Layer. It’s the topmost selected Layer that got merged…"

Well, after the merge, no vestige of the layer remains other than its name and that’s even worse than just being DELETED becuse it’s misleading.

"…Are you sure the other choices are all grayed out if you have one layer highlighted?…"

With ONE and only one layer highlighted, "Merge Layers" is not grayed out, it is left out. It’s not an option. It’s replaced by "Merge Down" which is itself grayed out unless the next lower layer is visible and, if it is visible, the resultant merger of just those two adjacent layers is given the name of the bottom layer rather than the top layer as in "Merge Layers". Using the top layer name in one case and the bottom layer name in the other is unexpectedly inconsistent and therefore confusing wouldn’t you say?
Jul 18, 2008
Here’s a summary of the issue:

Merging Layers via Menu Bar Layer Option

Merge Visible: Merges visible layers (those with eyes turned on) Gives name to the merged result as follows: If background is visible, uses name “background” under all conditions. If background is not visible, uses name of (1)Selected visible layer if only one layer is selected, (2)Topmost selected visible layer if more than one visible layer is selected, (3)Top visible layer if no visible layers are selected.

Merge Down: Merges a highlighted visible layer with a visible un-highlighted layer immediately below it. This will not appear as an option unless one and only one layer is both visible and highlighted AND the layer immediately below it is visible but not highlighted. (If the layer below is visible and highlighted, “Merge Down” disappears as an option and “Merge Layers” replaces it.) Gives the merged result the name of the lower of the two layers.

Merge Layers: Merges two or more highlighted layers if any one of the highlighted layers is also visible. Other highlighted layers if hidden (eyes off) will be merged in their invisible states, i.e., deleted. This option is grayed out if less than two layers are highlighted. The merged result gets the name of the topmost highlighted layer even if that layer is hidden and therefore deleted in the process, which is deceiving.

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