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Sometimes it's useful to be able to apply a certain change to or involving a number of layers that for visual layering reasons one doesn't want to put in the same group (to tie this in with an earlier suggestion of mine, this can be important for snapping); symbols could theoretically do a lot of this, but they're kind of messy and inelegant to work with, especially for certain applications.

What I am suggesting is to add another tab similar to the one used for layers, symbols, etc., this one being a list of special "groups" that unlike normal groups do not act as a layer (/influence the layering order) or appear as such in the layers menu. When one clicks on such a grouping's symbol in the tab, it is selected and the tab shows options for "add layer to group from layers menu" and "remove layer from group" (instead of its default option to create a new example of whatever these non-standard groups would be called, or the option when layers have been selected otherwise to create a group from said layers), and while this grouping is selected in this way, while one cannot reorganize any of the shapes involved layer-wise, it limits the context for most operations to just the layers grouped in this way, allowing for easier synchronization of certain effects.

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Color tags will get you part way there.  If you right-click a layer in the Layers panel then there is a set of colors at the bottom you can choose from to "tag" the layers with them.  You can assign the same color to various layers to make them part of such a "group".  Once they are tagged, you can select one of the layers with a given color tag and use Select -> Select Same -> Tag Color to select all of the layers with that tag, then perform some operation which is based on the selection.

This would work for applying Layer FX for example, but not for adjustment layers, since an adjustment layer is itself a layer and needs to appear at a specific place in the hierarchy, preventing it from being used on a discontiguous set of layers.

Color tags do have some downsides, such as the fact that there is only a fixed, finite number of them; this has already been brought up in other threads.

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