How to Unlock Layers in Photoshop CS3

Written by michelle barry
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How to Unlock Layers in Photoshop CS3
Photoshop is design software for your computer. (computer image by blaine stiger from

Photoshop is a graphic design program that allows you to transform photographs and images, and craft graphic materials, from logos to newsletters. Elements and objects in Photoshop are organised into segments called layers. The layers are designed to help you keep the creation organised. The layers can be hidden, rearranged or locked, depending on your need. Locking layers is useful when you are working on a project and you want to avoid accidentally editing a layer that is complete.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    View your layers window by clicking "Window" at the top of the screen then checking "Layers" in the drop-down menu that opens.

  2. 2

    Identify which layers are currently locked on the document. Locked layers will have a lock icon in the right of the layer segment.

  3. 3

    Unlock the locked layers by clicking on the layer to select it--the layer will be highlighted in a darker colour.

  4. 4

    Click on the lock icon at the bottom of the layers window with the locked layer still selected. The lock in the layer should now disappear and the layer will be unlocked.

Tips and warnings

  • The background layer in Photoshop is automatically locked and cannot be unlocked by simply checking the lock icon. To unlock the background layer, double click the layer and a dialogue box will open. Rename the layer by typing in a name or click OK to select the default "Layer 0" that is automatically filled into the layer title space in the box. The layer will now be unlocked.

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