How to Flatten an Image in Photoshop CS5: A Step-by-Step Guide

Flattening an image in Photoshop CS5 is a process of merging all visible layers into one. This action reduces the file size and makes the image easier to manage. It’s particularly useful when you’ve completed your design and want to save it for web or print. The process is straightforward and can be done in a few clicks. After reading this quick overview, you’ll be able to flatten an image with confidence.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Flatten an Image in Photoshop CS5

Before diving into the steps, it’s important to understand that flattening an image will merge all your layers into one single background layer. This means you’ll no longer be able to edit individual layers, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re completely happy with your image before flattening.

Step 1: Open your image in Photoshop CS5

Open the image you want to flatten in Photoshop.

This initial step is pretty self-explanatory. You’ll need to have Adobe Photoshop CS5 open and your desired image loaded into the program.

Step 2: Check your layers

Make sure all the layers you want to flatten are visible.

Before flattening, it’s crucial to ensure that all layers you want included in the final image are visible. Any hidden layers will not be included after the flattening process.

Step 3: Go to the Layer menu

Navigate to the Layer menu at the top of the screen.

In the Layer menu, you’ll find various options for managing your layers. This is where the ‘Flatten Image’ command is located.

Step 4: Select ‘Flatten Image’

Click on ‘Flatten Image’ at the bottom of the Layer menu.

Once you click on ‘Flatten Image,’ Photoshop will merge all visible layers into one. Remember, this action cannot be undone once you’ve saved and closed the document.

After you complete the action, you’ll notice that Photoshop has merged all your layers into a single background layer. This means your image is now flattened and ready to be saved for web or print use.

Tips: How to Flatten an Image in Photoshop CS5

  • Always make sure to save a copy of your layered file before flattening, in case you need to make future edits.
  • Remember that flattening an image is irreversible once the file is saved and closed. Keep an editable version handy.
  • If you’re not sure whether to flatten your image, consider using the ‘Merge Layers’ command instead for more control.
  • Use the ‘History’ panel to undo the flattening if you haven’t closed the file yet.
  • After flattening, you can still make global adjustments to your image using adjustment layers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is flattening an image?

Flattening an image means combining all the layers into one to reduce the file size and simplify editing.

Can I undo flattening in Photoshop CS5?

You can undo the flattening if you haven’t saved and closed the file. Use the ‘History’ panel to step back.

Will flattening an image affect its quality?

No, flattening an image will not degrade its quality. It simply merges the layers.

Can I flatten only selected layers?

To merge selected layers, use the ‘Merge Layers’ command instead of ‘Flatten Image.’

What’s the difference between flattening an image and merging layers?

Flattening merges all layers into one and discards hidden layers, whereas merging layers only combines selected layers.


  1. Open your image in Photoshop CS5.
  2. Check that all layers you want to flatten are visible.
  3. Navigate to the Layer menu.
  4. Click on ‘Flatten Image.’


Flattening an image in Photoshop CS5 is a breeze once you know the steps. It’s a handy skill that streamlines your workflow, especially when prepping images for web or print. Just remember, once you flatten an image and save your file, there’s no going back to those individual layers. So, always keep a backup of the unflattened file, just in case you need to make changes later on.

Photoshop offers a multitude of tools and commands to manage layers effectively, and knowing when and how to use them is a critical aspect of mastering the software. Whether you’re a budding designer or a seasoned pro, understanding how to flatten an image is a staple in your Photoshop skillset. So go ahead, give it a try, and watch your designs come together in a clean, final form.

Get Our Free Newsletter

How-to guides and tech deals

You may opt out at any time.
Read our Privacy Policy