Changing multiple layers of text – amazing Photoshop trick


I have to quickly document this for you.  I posted it on UKS but realized I really didn’t mention it here, and it makes all the difference in using your calendar master file.

I realized that making the master was all well and good, but if I had to change the font and/or font size in every cell of a gajillion layer file it was going to negate a lot of the work that went in to it.  So I had a hunt for info.  I used to be a librarian.  My job was doing searches for the engineers on their research topics.  The one thing it taught me that has been useful was HOW to search for things in order to find what you want.  It isn’t always a matter of just plunking a few keywords into Google and trolling through the results in the hopes one of them has what you want.  This post was the top hit in my search and it was EXACTLY what I needed. Note that it tells you this is a Photoshop feature, but it certainly worked for me in PSE.  But note this: at various places I’ve seen that for a Mac you should use the Apple option key to select multiple layers but I cannot seem to make that work.

Basically, what this allows you to do is create your calendar master and then, with just a few clicks, change the font for everything. At once.

The trick is to select multiple layers.  I do this on my Mac in a couple of different ways.  If I am clever, and re-organize my layers so all the MONTH NAMES are grouped, all the DAY NAMES are grouped, and all the single cells that are the DAY NUMBERS are grouped, I select the MOVE tool, then can click the first layer in the Layers window list,  go to the last layer, and with the shift key held down, click that layer.  That selects those two layers ALL the layers between as well. I can also hold down the SHIFT key and click on any layers I want in my selection but that is best done with just a few things (like the year bits, for example) and likewise I can select things by holding down the shift key and dragging a selection box around the items.  This works best for things like the vertical date strips, for example, if you wanted to align the along the right edge rather than centered under the day name.

Then, with the shift key still held down, I click the TEXT tool.  That brings up the little bar at the top showing my font info.

I can then set the new font name, and size, and any other info (like whether I want the text centered in the text box or not) and effect the change across all the layers I’ve selected!  This corrects the problem of needing to have everything in the same font size, as I can select just the month names in my file, or just the day name strips and change them to the font I want and keep them bigger or make them smaller.

I created a folder I call FONT CHANGE TRIO – this has three files, each one with 4 months.   I don’t mind having to change  each of the three as PSE seems to like it better when I do a smaller group – although it will handle the whole gajillion layer sheet, it takes it a moment or two. Yes, I’ve tried it.  And it does work.

I think this trick is a fab one for so many things.  If I were a digital designer, for example, and I wanted to change the font and colour used across multiple layers of a sheet of tags, for example, I could do it in one step, if I had grouped all the text layers together in the layers palette. Everything else would remain unchanged.

It should be obvious that you can’t merge or simplify the layers or this won’t work.  But if you have Photoshop or PSE, give it a go. Create a file with 10 layers,  and try changing the layers in group – change the colour and size on some, the font and colour on others, change all of them in one go, etc.

Cool, humm?


5 thoughts on “Changing multiple layers of text – amazing Photoshop trick

  1. Wow! I just used it. it works!

  2. Hum. I know at the time I bought PSE 6 was the newest for the Mac. Seems I could upgrade. But having said that I don’t have any keys to the right of the Option key except the space bar, so there may be no point. I wonder exactly how old this keyboard is? 😀 That’s us – The Walters house, where old technology goes to be worked to death. DD has the anglepoise Mac in her room, and DH has one (maybe 2, one the Dalmation spot one) of the iMacs at his office. I still use the old slim iPod shuffle. And AppleWorks. You could say I am resistent to change…..



  3. Sorry this doesn’t work for you! Holding down Cmd does work in PSE 9 as well as PS. (But on my Mac keyboard, the Option/Alt key is not the same as the Cmd one which is to the right of it.)

  4. Nope. The “command” key is the Apple Option key and that does NOT select multiple items for me. I can only select multiple layers by using the shift key. Maybe Option works in full Photoshop (which I have, but a way back PS7) but def. not in the Mac PSE 6. Believe me, I drove myself crazy trying to get the Option key to work because they always tell you to use that when offering Mac versions of PC keys. It is only because I can use SHIFT to select multiple things in Appleworks that I even thought to try it 🙂

  5. Yep, this is a really useful one to know. And if your text layers are not together, you can still select multiple text layers by using the Cmd key (instead of Shift) and clicking the ones you want from different points in the stack and then changing them all at once via the Character menu. 🙂

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