How to Flatten an Image in Photoshop

By Pamela Charboneau

Adobe Photoshop creates layers when working with an image. You can use these layers to manage and enhance the image by changing the background, highlighting portions of the image or combining two images to create a new one. When the project is complete, flatten the image to combine all the changes into one image; this reduces the overall file size. Fortunately, Photoshop makes this an easy process.

Step 1

Save your original image. Always save your original image so that you can use it again later.

Step 2

Open the Layers palette, if it's not already open, by clicking "Windows" on the menu bar at the top of the screen. Scroll down and select "Layers."

Step 3

Click on "Layer" in the menu at the top of the page. Scroll down and select "Flatten Image." All the layers will combine into one layer. Alternatively, click on the symbol in the top right corner of the Layers palette and select "Flatten Image." In Photoshop CS, the symbol looks like a white circle with a right-pointing arrow; in other versions, like a down-arrow with five lines next to it.

Step 4

Save the image as a JPEG, BMP, PNG, EPS, GIF or any other format, depending on your preference.

Tips & Warnings

  • Save your work frequently to prevent losing any changes.

References & Resources