How would you like to simply click on an object in Photoshop to make it active, just as you do in Illustrator. Seems simple, right? Well, it is! With the Move tool (V) selected, turn on Auto-Select in the top Options Bar, and choose Layer in the drop-down menu to the right. To know which layer is selected and have access to transform handles at all times, also turn on Show Transform Controls. 

So why wouldn’t you leave Auto-Select on all the time? This option is great if you have lots of small objects on your page that you’re rearranging, but this behavior can get in the way if you only have a few overlapping layers and you’re trying to do something to a specific layer. You don’t always want to select everything you click on. 

This tip previously published in Colin Smith’s Photoshop Tips column, in the June, 2020 issue of Photoshop User magazine.