How To Unflatten an Image in Photoshop

Unflattening an image is crucial for a lot of reasons. Further, learning how to unflatten an image in Photoshop would be a career-boosting step. Because without proper steps, you might not be able to recover the flattened images at all. Today we will go into all the steps to unflatten an image via Photoshop.

But in reality, you have a narrow chance of unflattening images in Photoshop. But with certain steps, you could get all of the image layers back into your file. It’s also possible to edit and apply effects to the unflattened images. So let’s get into it.

Tips on How To Unflatten an Image in Photoshop

How To Unflatten an Image in Photoshop

Unflattening image layers in Photoshop is certainly possible. You need to follow a certain pathway to unflatten an image. Below, we will unveil some of the ways you could follow to unflatten an image. Let’s get into the steps that would be a lot more efficient to recover any flattened image.

Use The Undo Function Of Photoshop

As a first step, you could use the undo functionalities of Photoshop. For example, if you have just accidentally flattened a Photoshop file, you could use the undo function. You need to press Ctrl + Z on your keyboard to do so. Further, Photoshop provides you with multiple undo functionality. Alternatively, you could go into the Edit > Undo option of Photoshop.

This is why you must use the same command multiple times if you need it. If anyone doesn’t find the recently saved steps, the Photoshop history option is also available.

Note: If you are using an older version of Photoshop, you need to go into the Edit > Step Backward option. On the other hand, if you are using shortcuts, press “Shift” + “Ctrl” + “Z”. On the other hand, if anyone is using the Mac platform, you could “Shift” + “Command” + “Z” on the keyboard.

Check Into the History Panel

If you are interested in knowing how to unflatten layers in Photoshop after saving, here is the answer. If you have just flattened the image and haven’t closed the Photoshop software yet, check out the History Panel. It’s most likely; that your action is saved on the History panel. You need to go into Windows > History to access the History panel. It would open up your previous action right away.

Once you find out the steps named “Flatten Image”, use the following step and recover it. But, one thing to remember is that the History panel would not work once you saved the File and closed Photoshop. This is why we recommend using the History panel in Photoshop if you haven’t saved and closed the following Photoshop file.

Go For The Backup File

In many professional projects, people tend to save a backup file of the image before getting into other steps. For example, if the Undo function and the History panel are not working for you, go for the backup File of your same image. For the same reason, it is recommended to create a backup of your Photoshop file before flattening and merging a file.

Check Into The Auto-Save Of Previews Step

A newer version of Photoshop offers Auto-Save features to recover any file that is not saved. You could check out if the current Photoshop has auto-save features or not. To do so, go into Edit > Preferences > File Handling as a Windows user. Afterward, you would get an option named Automatically Save Recovery Information Every. Plus, it would show you the time it auto-saves the File.

This means if you haven’t saved the flattened image layer and the Photoshop crushes, you will get it on the Autosave file. You only need to re-open the Photoshop software, and it will offer you the autosave file. Once you get the autosave file with the unflattened image, Go into the File> Save > rename the File, and save it on your storage drive.

Read More: Photoshop Vs Illustrator

How To Unlayer in Photoshop

You could unlock or unlayer in Photoshop using a couple of simple steps. For example, if you need to lock a layer in Photoshop, first select the following layer. Afterward, check out the lock icon at the top of the layer and click on it. A lock icon would appear based on the name of the layer. Similarly, click on the lock icon while selecting the layer when you want to unlock the same layer.

How To Get Layers Back in Photoshop

If you can’t find the image layer panel in Photoshop, follow the mentioned steps. Just go into Windows > Layers to get into the layers panel. It would present you with the Layers panel and all the layers the following image contains. To eliminate the image layers panel, click on the cross icon at the top left of the panel. It would remove the layers panel from your Photoshop interface.

Steps On How to Unflatten a Smart Object

When you have just flattened layers into smart objects, you also have options. Smart object features offer you the option to retrieve the image layers into your Photoshop files. Let’s get into the tutorial on unflatten smart objects in the Photoshop interface.

Step 1: Navigate into the layers panel with Windows > Layers

layers panel Photoshop

Step 2: Click on the thumbnail of the smart layer. Just hover the mouse on the thumbnail and click on it.

smart layer

Step 3: Afterward, all containing layers will open in a separate document. Plus, it would show you all of the layers in the layers panel. Now you need to select all of the layers from the panel. Press Ctrl and click on all of the showing layers.

all containing layers Photoshop

Step 4: Click on the menu icon located at the top right side of the panel. Then choose the option “Duplicate Layers” option from the appearing menu.

Duplicate Layers Photoshop

Step 5: Choose your main document name in the “Document” section from the appearing dialogue box. For example, it could be the “All Image.psd”, and you have to select it from the drop-down menu.

Document Photoshop

Step 6: At last, close down the new document and open your main document. In the main document, you will find all of the layers you have merged into the smart object.

Let’s get into the questions regarding how to unflatten JPEG images in Photoshop.

merged into the smart object

How to Unmerge Layers in Photoshop?

When you have just merged layers in Photoshop, and you need to unmerge, use the undo function. For example, if you press “Ctrl” + “Z”, the layer would get unmerged as well. But the following trick only works if you have merged the layers in recent action.

Should I Flatten An Image In Photoshop?

Flattening an image has great benefits. For example, you could decrease the file size in a significant way. Further, flattening the image makes sending and uploading via the web easier. But it’s advised to have a backup file before you flatten the image. It would make your task to recover the flattened image a lot easier.

Does Flattening An Image Affect Quality?

In short, no, it won’t affect the image quality. Because when you merge different layers in Photoshop, it doesn’t reduce the quality. Instead, the flattening command combines each layer into one simple layer. As a result, the height and weight of the image stay the same. You won’t notice any difference in the size of the Photoshop file.


In the end, learning how to unflatten an image in Photoshop would make your workflow a lot more non-destructive. Furthermore, it would help you to better prepare for your workflow to recover flattened images. Follow any of the mentioned processes to recover your flattened image layers.

Further, you must flatten images in smart objects. It would provide you with a great feature to recover all the flattened images. Further, it would make your task easier to get the images back into your Photoshop files. This is why you need to follow any non-destructive process while working.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *