Check out here 18 of the most useful shortcuts for mastering Adobe Photoshop, saving you a lot of time, streamlining your work, and greatly improving your productivity.
Working with Photoshop can be time-consuming for both beginners and advanced users. Once you have worked with it for a while, you begin to find that you are constantly going back and forth between the same menu items or palette buttons. And the range of editing tools is vast. Fortunately, there is a way to help simplify the workflow with Photoshop shortcuts.
Shortcuts are simply a way to save a few mouse clicks when making tool changes or property adjustments. They may be a little hard to memorize at first, but once you pick up some commands on the keyboard, you’ll never forget it again.
And while one hand is turning the mouse, the other hand may be doing something as well. This method of working with Photoshop can actually decrease the time spent on the computer and give you more time for other tasks.
The following are 18 most used shortcuts, divided into three groups: Simple, intermediate and advanced. The simple commands are very easy to execute and are very used. Advanced commands need a bit of coordination and are not used so often. The intermediate commands are between the two.
Simple Photoshop Shortcut Commands
- H ( Hand Tool) – When enlarged to a part of your photo, this command brings the hand tool, which allows you to apply the panning effect (photos that appear to be moving). Also, if the hand tool is active and you press the Ctrl key, you can zoom in without clicking the zoom tool. Similarly, if you press the Alt key, you can zoom out without touching the tools.
- Z (Zoom Tool) – This command only brings the zoom tool. As with the hand tool, if you hold down the Alt key, it temporarily changes to zoom out mode.
- Ctrl + 0 (Fit on Screen ) – This is a quick command to put the entire photo on the Photoshop screen. The correct command is Ctrl + zero, not the letter “O”.
- B ( Brush Tool) – The brush is an extremely useful tool when working with masks.
- Ctrl + Z ( Undo ) – Coming back, very useful for the little mistakes we all make.
- Tab (Hide / Show Palettes) – Hide the palettes to give a little more work area, thus reducing your need for planning and zooming during editing.
Mid-level Photoshop shortcuts
- [ ( Decrease Brush Size) – Quickly reduces the size of the brush to capture smaller points.
- ] (Brush size increase) – Brush size increases rapidly for larger areas.
- Shift + [ ( Reduces brush softness) – Reduces brush softness by 25%.
- Shift +] (Increases brush smoothness) – Increases brush smoothness by 25%.
- 1> 0 (Tool opacity) – Simply press one of the numbers from 1 to 0 and the opacity of the tool will change from 10% to 100%. If you want better control, press a second number quickly after the first, and you can get any percentage you want. Then pressing 4 will have 40% opacity, while pressing 4 and 3 will give you 43% opacity.
- Shift + 1> 0 (Tool Flow) – Works exactly like the opacity changer, but you only have to hold the Shift key while you hit the numbers.
- Ctrl + Tab (Next point in curve fitting) – When using the curve adjustment dialog, you can place several points on the curve and adjust them accordingly. Sometimes you want to make very small changes at these points by nudging with the keyboard, but clicking on the point to activate it usually moves you to an unwanted location. Use this command to toggle focus from point to point without moving them.
Advanced Photoshop Shortcuts
- Ctrl + Shift + N (New Layer) – This will open the new Layer dialog box, and place a new layer on top of the active layer.
- Ctrl + Alt + Shift + N (New Layer Without Dialog) – This command skips the dialog box and only places a new layer at the top of the active layer.
- Ctrl + Shift + C (Copy Merge) – Works basically like the copy command except that you get a merged copy of the composite image sent to the clipboard. This command only works if you have made a selection in the image first (use Ctrl + A to select everything), otherwise you will get a copy of nothing. This is useful if you want to duplicate what you see on the screen in another image file, or even on another layer.
- Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E (Visible Stamp) – First, create a new empty layer at the top of the stack. So select this new layer and use this command, which does basically the same thing as the merge copy command, except that it puts the copy directly into the new layer. It’s great for creating layer blends, sharpness and any other type of editing that can not be done non-destructively.
- Ctrl + Alt + Shift + K (Show keyboard commands) – If you forget any of these commands, or if you want to check other commands, use this key combination to display a help dialog box with all keyboard shortcuts.
These are just the keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop for use during post-processing, and there are certainly many more of them that may be useful to you. Check out the Photoshop Help topics for more information on this topic.