How to Export a Single Layer as Image in Photoshop

Saikat Basu 28-11-2017

Layers are the most powerful feature in Adobe Photoshop. It’s the core Photoshop feature 17 Essential Terms Every Photoshop Beginner Needs to Know Photoshop comes with a steep learning curve, especially with terminology. Don't worry though, we're here to help you sort your "blend modes" from your "layer masks." Read More around which other tools revolve. Like transparent sheets on top of one another, you can shuffle layers around to make anything.


So, as a Photoshop beginner, you will have to learn the ins and outs of managing layers. But sometimes you’ll find that you want to save one particular layer as an image. How do you do this without having to hide every single other layer, then unhide them when you’re done?

How to Save a Photoshop Layer as Image

You can quickly extract a layer as a separate image with the Quick Export as PNG method (see screenshot below), but this does not give you any control.

With Photoshop CC 2017, the more precise and powerful Export as dialog is accessible to each layer in a multi-layered Photoshop document.

To bring up this dialog for layers, select the layer you want to extract in the Layers panel. Right-click this selection and select Export As from the context menu.

Right-Click-PhotoShop Layer


The Export As dialog is displayed. This dialog helps you fine-tune each image on a layer before you export it. For instance:

  1. Choose a format (PNG, JPG, GIF, or SVG) and the format specific settings.
  2. Specify the width and height of the image you want to export.
  3. Use a resampling method to change the image quality by either deleting or adding pixels.
  4. Set a final canvas size when you want your image to have a certain width and height.

Export As Dialog in Photoshop

You can see the other options in the dialog box. One of the settings on the left allows you to scale the image up or down when you export it. Select a relative asset size.

There are a few more ways to extract a specific layer as an asset from a multi-layered image, but the Export As dialog is the preferred tool for the job.

You might want to export one layer in a specific format and the others in another format. You might want to switch on the transparency for one image. Or you may want to send someone a compact version of an image asset from the layers. It’s all possible.

How useful do you find this method? Which is the other way you use to automate layer export from Photoshop?

Related topics: Adobe Photoshop, Graphic Design.

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  1. steveb
    November 28, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    For CS6 (Non-subscription) users.

    Open an image - creates the 'Background Layer'.
    Cntrl J - duplicates that layer and creates 'Background copy'
    Switch off the background layer
    Create say a HSL layer
    Right click on either 'live' layers and 'Merge Visible'
    Then go to File > Scripts > Export Layers to Files where you can select a destination, name, type, quality and also whether to include the ICC profile and whether or not to include visible layers only.

    • Saikat Basu
      November 28, 2017 at 3:06 pm

      That works too!

      • steveb
        November 28, 2017 at 6:26 pm

        I use it in an Action to generate a contact sheet for an image treated with different colour profiles.