Centering the Contents of a Layer in a Photoshop Document

Get your images and text lined up perfectly

Designer using graphics tablet at computer
Hero Images / Getty Images

Adobe Photoshop provides several tool options for using guidelines and establishing symmetry in its documents. One of the most basic is the ability to center images and text located on layers in the document.

Finding and Marking the Center of a Photoshop Document

Before you can find and mark the center of a Photoshop document, turn on Rulers and Snap to Guides, or confirm they are already turned on.

  1. Open an existing file or create a new document using File > New.

  2. Select View on the menu bar, and then click Rulers to toggle the rulers on.

    You can also press Command-R (Mac) or Ctrl-R (PC) on your keyboard to toggle rulers.

    The Rulers option under the View menu in Photoshop
  3. Return to the View menu, click Snap To and select Guides.

    The Snap to Guides option under the View menu in Photoshop
  4. Now, with Rulers and Snap to Guides turned on, you can find the centers of elements and layers.

  5. Make sure you've selected the layer you want to find the center of if you have multiple layers in your document.

    Selecting a layer in Photoshop
  6. Click and hold on either the horizontal or vertical ruler. Drag a guide from the ruler onto the document. When you reach the center of the selected layer, it will snap into place.

    Placing a vertical guide at the center of a Photoshop layer
  7. Drag a guide from the other ruler to the approximate center of the document until it snaps into place.

    Placing a horizontal guide on a layer in Photoshop
  8. The place that the guides meet is the center of the layer. You can also place a guide manually by opening View > New Guide and entering an orientation and position in the pop-up menu that appears.

Centering Layer Contents in a Document

When you drag an image onto a layer, it centers automatically on its own layer. However, if you resize the image or move it, you can recenter it in this manner:

  1. In the Layers palette, select two or more layers that you want to center.

    Selecting multiple layers in Photoshop
  2. Choose Layer on the menu bar, followed by Align and Vertical Centers to center the layer contents vertically.

    Align by Vertical Centers option in Photoshop
  3. Choose Layer > Align > Horizontal Centers to center the layer contents horizontally.

    Align by Horizontal Centers option in Photoshop
  4. With the guides in place, you can also use the Move tool to align elements. The centers of layers you move will snap to the guides.

    Aligning two layers with the Move tool in Photoshop
  5. You can use guides to find the center of a layer even if it doesn't take up the entire canvas, so you can line up offset photos or arrange elements in columns.

If a layer contains more than one object — say, an image and a text box — Photoshop treats the two objects as a group, and it centers them that way, rather than an individual item. If you select several layers, the objects on all the layers center one on top of another in the document.