While we’ve covered resizing an overall image in Photoshop, resizing layers is important for full creative control, namely inserting and repositioning content. Thankfully, the process is dead simple.
To resize a layer in Photoshop, the easiest option is hitting Control-T (in Windows) or Command-T (on a Mac) then holding down the Shift key while you drag the borders or corners of the selection box.
How to resize layers in Photoshop
Using the Free Transform shortcut
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- First, select the layer you want to resize.
- Activate the Free Transform shortcut by hitting Control-T (on Windows machines) or Command-T (on Macs).
- While holding down the Shift key, click and drag the corners (or edges) of the selection box to resize. Using Shift prevents distortions.
- You can reposition layer content by clicking and dragging the area inside the selection box.
- When the layer looks right, hit the Enter/Return key.
Using the Move tool
This method allows more precise resizing if a layer has to conform to exact dimensions.
- Select the layer you want to resize.
- Pick the Move tool from the lefthand toolbar.
- Under Options, click Show Transform Controls.
- Click on the box surrounding your layer.
- Adjust Width and Height values to scale your image. These default to percentages, but you can right-click in the percentage field to switch to values like pixels or inches.
- Hit the Enter/Return key when you’re done.
Note that using either method, you may want to consider converting your layer into a Smart Object before resizing to avoid image quality problems. To do that, right-click on the layer in the Layers panel and select Convert to Smart Object. This isn’t strictly necessary, however.