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In one of the really old versions of Photoshop, I think 7, you could shift-click a layer in the "Layer Browser" (don't know what you call the panel) and it'd select that entire layer in the image itself for manipulation. In the later versions, they seem to have removed this feature and I cannot find an easy way for me select the entire layer.

I should clarify: I don't mean the entire canvas, just whatever has "content" on that specific layer.

I'm using CS2 now, cannot figure it out and there doesn't seem to be an option for it under the Layer menu.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted
  • Windows: Ctrl-click on the thumbnail

  • OS X: Cmd-click on the thumbnail

This selects all pixels with content on the layer—not the entire layer. Shift-clicking doesn't do anything particular, except when you want to select a range of layers from the layer list.

See also: Adobe Photoshop Help – Keys for the Layers panel

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Thanks for the link-- I had to Ctrl-Click the thumbnail of the layer for this to work. – sab669 Jan 15 '14 at 13:48
Yes, I was a little unspecific there—you're right :) – slhck Jan 15 '14 at 15:02

Clicking the Layer in the Layer Browser and hitting v should let you move the entire layer.

Generally when I want to grab all the pixels on a specific layer, I do the above, then tap left then right on the keyboard. This nudges it out of place, then back into place and only selects pixels that have something in them.

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