How to insert a background layer in photoshop

Written by elizabeth mott
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How to insert a background layer in photoshop
Add a "Background" layer to an Adobe Photoshop file that doesn't contain one. (Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

When you create a new file in Adobe Photoshop CS5 with a solid-colour fill, your file contains a single layer that can't support transparency. In the "Layers" panel, the layer's name, "Background," appears in italics. If you need to add a "Background" layer to a working file that doesn't contain one, you can't just change the name of a regular layer to "Background," because that creates a background layer in name only. You can convert any regular Photoshop layer to a "Background" layer in a few simple steps.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Launch Adobe Photoshop CS5. Choose "Open" from the "File" menu. Navigate to the location of the file you want to open and either double-click on its name or click once on it to highlight it and click on the "OK" button.

  2. 2

    Press "F7" to open the "Layers" panel if it is not already open. Click once on the name of the layer you want to become your "Background" layer.

  3. 3

    Check the background colour swatch in your "Tools" panel to make sure it's the colour with which you want Photoshop to fill your "Background" layer if you're converting a blank layer. If you're converting a layer that already has visual content on it, the conversion process will change any transparent areas to your current background colour.

  4. 4

    Click on the "Layer" menu, choose "New" and select "Background from Layer." Your selected layer converts to a "Background" layer and drops to the bottom of the layer stack in the "Layers" panel.

Tips and warnings

  • If you don't need individual layers in your file and just want to flatten the document to a "Background" layer, choose the "Flatten" command from the flyout menu at the top right corner of the "Layers" panel or select "Flatten Image" from the "Layer" menu.
  • You can't add a true "Background" layer to a document that already contains one.

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