Apply Layer Style/Effect to Multiple Layers in Photoshop CC 2014

Apply Layer Style/Effect to Multiple Layers in Photoshop

Photoshop is all about speed and efficiency. Beside common and well known ways to increase speed and efficiency (Generator, Libraries, Actions, Variables, Layer Comps, Plugins...) there are tons of happy little features which are overlooked by most of the users. In this quick tip I will give you an idea how to combine: filter layers, show layer styles as text only and the ability to apply a Layer Style to multiple layers. The beauty is because Layer Style can be saved with the single layer effect like Stroke or Drop Shadow. Which one is which? Save Layer Styles with meaningful names and display them as text only, for example. Furthermore, you can add a single effect to existing style so you can, in essence to build Layer Styles on the fly. I mean to build and apply same Layer Style to multiple layers. In case you have applied too strong Drop Shadow, for example, you can change it on the fly. A combination of three happy little features can increase your efficiency because most of the time you are probably using Layer Styles over and over again in each and every document and most of the time with same or similar settings. This is one time, three step process and let me give you more light.

Save Layer Styles with single effect

Layer Style is the style applied to the layer and it consists of one or more effects: Bevel and Emboss, Stroke, Drop Shadow... Instead of trying to create Layer Styles with multiple effects for each and every situation you can save styles with single effect and start creating styles with multiple effects as you need them on the fly. The very first step is to save a couple of styles with single effect and with common settings like: Stroke 1px Black Outside, Bevel and Emboss > Inner Bevel 5px Up, Drop Shadow 5px and so on and so on. Give a meaningful name when saving style using the New Style button in the Layer Style dialog. By the way, you can save style without any effect and call it None. It is useful to have a couple of them and to move them around from the Edit > Preset > Preset Manager.
Save Layer Style from the Layer Style dialog in Photoshop
Steps to save layer style with single effect from the Layer Style dialog: 1)Select effect 2) Change settings for the effect 3) Click on the New Style button 4) Type meaningful name for the style 5) Click on OK button to confirm.

Display Styles as Text

You will probably notice that previews generated when saving styles are not so useful when working with single effect. In the Styles panel (Window > Styles) click on panel menu and choose: Text Only. That will display styles as text or description you have typed. You can always switch back and forth between previews.
Display styles as Text Only in the Styles panel in Photoshop
To display Layer Styles as text in the Styles panel, click on Styles panel menu and choose: Text Only.

Filter layers

As a helper you can always use icons and options from the drop-down menu at the top of the Layers panel to filter layers. Otherwise, you can select multiple layers manually.
Filter layers from the Layers panel in Photoshop

Apply Layer Style to multiple layers

When you have multiple layers selected, you can start applying styles with individual effects. After applying the first effect (Bevel and Emboss for example), hold down the Shift key and click on the style with the effect you want to add to existing (Drop Shadow for example). In case you have applied 5px Stroke but you want to change it to 3px Stroke then repeat process with the Shift key and click on Style which has 3px Stroke. Existing effect will be replaced with new value without changing anything else, other effects will remain in place as they are already applied.
Apply Layer Style to multiple layers in Photoshop
To apply a Layer Style to multiple layers, select layers in the Layers panel then click on the style. To add to the style, select layers, then hold down Shift and click on the style which can be saved with single effect only.

Save styles

Finally, it is a good idea to save styles on your hard drive. Go to Edit > Presets > Preset Manager and choose Styles from the Preset Type drop-down list. Select styles manually (here is how to quick rename styles), then click Save Set button.
Save Layer Styles from the Preset Manager dialog in Photoshop
To save Layer Styles on hard drive go to Edit > Presets > Preset Manager and do the following: 1) Select styles 2) Click on the Save Set button.

Product used in this tutorial:
Adobe Photoshop CC 2014

Photoshop Help / Layer effects and styles


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