Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How to create a new layer in Photoshop

One of the easiest ways to organise your Photoshop project is by keeping the changes you make to an image in separate layers. This way, if you mess up, need to move things around or want to apply an effect to a specific part of your image, you can do so without it affecting the entire thing. 

When you create a new layer, that layer will automatically appear above the other layers you’ve created. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t click and drag them around to reorganise them once they’re there. You can even rename your layers and group them in folders, which can be very useful tools if you find yourself with too many layers to count.

Scroll down to learn more about layers, including how to create them, how to reposition them and what to do if you can’t see the Add A New Layer option on your screen.

What you’ll need: 

  • Adobe Photoshop 
  • A Creative Cloud subscription 

The Short Version 

  1. Open Photoshop 
  2. Click the plus icon in the bottom right corner

  1. Step

    Open Photoshop

    You can open any image or an empty document. Regardless, you’ll want to make sure the Layers tab is open on the right-hand side. how to create a new layer in photoshop

  2. Step

    Click the plus icon in the bottom right corner

    This will only work if you have the Layers tab open. Otherwise, it could create a new channel, path or something else. You can hover over the icon and check that it says Add A New Layer if you’re unsure.

    If you can’t find the Layers tab, you can still create a new layer. Just click on Layers in the menu bar at the top of the screen, hover over New and click Layer. how to create a new layer in photoshop

  3. Step

    Double-click on the layer to rename it

    This step is completely optional. how to create a new layer in photoshop


What if I can’t see the plus icon?

If you can’t see the plus icon (or you can and it isn’t opening a new layer), you’ll want to make sure you have the layers tab open by clicking the word Layers on the right. 

If this still doesn’t work, you can also create a new layer by clicking Layers in the menu bar at the top of the screen, hovering over New and clicking Layer.

How do I move a layer?

To move a layer, simply click on the layer and drag your mouse up or down to reposition it above or below your other layers.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2003, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.