How to Resize a Layer in Photoshop

Fine-tune your photos

If you want to make composite images, add text to a picture, or change individual elements of a photo in Photoshop, you need to know how to change the size of a layer in Photoshop. Layers are central to many of Photoshop's best features, so it's something any photo editor should know how to do. Learning the process is quick, and there are a few ways you can do it.

The following guide focuses on Adobe Photoshop CC version 20.0.4. Most methods also work with older versions of Photoshop, but the methodology may not be as exact.

How to Change the Size of a Layer in Photoshop

There are a couple of ways you can change the layer size in Photoshop, and both involve the Transform tool. There are options for freely adjusting the size up or down and inputting specific measurements to get it exactly the size you want. Here's how to do it.

If you don't see the Tools menu, select Window > Tools.

Free Transform

  1. Select the layer that you want to adjust the size of in the Layers window.

    If you don't see it, select Window > Layers, or press F7.

  2. Select Free Transform under the Edit menu.

    Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut Command+T (Mac) or Ctrl+T (Windows).

    The Free Transform command in Photoshop
  3. Select any side of the layer, or the bounding boxes, and drag in the direction you wish to adjust the layer's size. Drag away from the center to increase its size, or drag toward the center to reduce it.

    Press and hold Shift to maintain the aspect ratio. You can also rotate the layer by selecting and holding anywhere outside the layer's bounding box and dragging it clockwise or counterclockwise.

    A free transform handle in Photoshop
  4. When you're happy with the new size, press Enter or double-click to finalize it.

    An enlarged layer in Photoshop

Other Transform Tools

You can use several other transform tools, although these tools reshape the layer as much as they resize it. If you don't want a linear increase in size for the layer, want to alter its perspective, or change its proportions, select Edit > Transform, then select one of the tools listed there (other than Free Transform). The tools do different things, so play around with them to see what kind of effects you can conjure.

If you don't like the results of the resizing, press Ctrl+Z (or CMD+Z) to undo the action. Alternatively, press Ctrl+Alt+Z (or CMD+Alt+Z) to make several undo steps.

Transform to a Specific Dimension

If you don't want to freehand transform layers but have some specific dimensions in mind, you can set its size to exactly that.

  1. Select the Move tool.

    The Move Tool in Photoshop
  2. Select Show Transform Controls.

    The "Show Transform Controls" option in Photoshop
  3. Select the bounds around the chosen layer and look back up to the top menu bar. Adjust the percentages next to W and H to scale the layer to a specific value.

    The scaling tools in Photoshop
  4. If you don't want to maintain the same aspect ratio, select the chainlink icon to remove the restriction.

    The ratio-lock button in Photoshop
  5. When you're happy with the results, press Enter or select the check mark on the right side of the menu bar.

    Press Esc or click the Cancel button (a circle with a line through it) next to the check mark to undo your changes.

    The confirm button in Photoshop
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