Deal 9: Hacking Photography mega-deal
This guest post was submitted by Brian Auer from Epic Edits Weblog.
The last article I wrote for dPS titled “18 Exceptionally Useful Photoshop Shortcuts” was taken in very well by all the wonderful photographers here. Darren had the idea of creating a follow-up article that outlined additional shortcuts and keyboard commands in Photoshop, and naturally I was more than happy to whip something up.
There were so many comments that brought up additional shortcuts on the last post, that 80% of the following tips came from all of you. It was great to see that level of contribution from the readers, and I learned a few very useful Photoshop tricks along the way. The other 20% of the following tips are some that weren’t mentioned at all in the last post, and I’ve even included a few side notes and mouse-related shortcuts. Also, be sure to read all the way to the bottom — I have a question for you.
Again, I’m using the commands for Photoshop CS3 running on Windows, but most of these should also work with Photoshop CS2 and some versions lower. So to start things off, I’m admitting defeat. In the last post, apparently I left out THE most useful shortcut in Photoshop.
SPACEBAR (Temporary Hand Tool) — Hold down the spacebar to temporarily bring up the hand tool so you can move around while doing those zoomed-in edits. Also, use the Ctrl modifier to zoom in, and the Alt modifier to zoom out.
So I think we’ve gathered a fairly comprehensive list of Photoshop shortcuts that are useful for us photographers.
Now I’d like to take it a step further — let’s make a top 10 list.
How can you help? Just leave a comment and include the top 3 shortcuts that are most useful to you, taking your selections from this list and the previous list.
After the comments die down, Darren or I will gather up all the votes and make a top 10 list based on your input. I look forward to it, and thanks for reading.
August 13, 2013 02:58 pm
One of the most important shortcuts in working with layers is the CTRL + [ or CTRL + ] shortcut. This moves layers up and down.
October 12, 2012 12:34 am
I set my own up in the preferences. There are a few combinations already taken but SHIFT + OPTION (ALT) + COMMAND + F was available. Very soon your fingers will get used the gymnastics involved in pressing them all simultaneously but it's worth it for speeding up workflow.
October 8, 2012 03:43 am
is there a simple command to flatten? I use commands most of the way through all of my editing, but have not found one to flatten. I don't mean merge, but flatten. Thanks!
May 18, 2012 05:32 pm
That still works in CS5 (and 5.5). Just holds down the Command-key (not ctrl).
Hope that helps,
May 18, 2012 04:16 am
Can any of you help me with Photoshop CS5 on a mac please?
I work with a mac in Photoshop CS5 and I've been looking on now to select a layer in the layer palette as it was once possible by hovering over the layer in the palette with the cursor, then clicking ctrl and clicking on the tracking pad and seeing the dotted selection line around the desired layer so I can use this exact shape to crop away at another but the feature isn't there in CS5 it seems? Is there another way please guys?
January 28, 2012 02:07 pm
since these are quite a lot but there are some more that I think people use more often
Ctrl + Shift + Z to step backward
Ctrl + [ to increase brush size
Ctrl + ] to decrease brush size
Ctrl + 0 to fit document on screen
Shift + Ctrl + N to create a new layer
however, the best way to check them is Edit>Keyboard Shortcuts
Have fun :)
January 11, 2012 12:33 am
I agree with Knittenjen, creating shortcuts for actions is invaluable. The actions (and shortcuts I've created for them) that I use most are 'save for web', convert RGB to CMYK, and Save As Jpeg. It saves a few step each to just hit the shortcut.
The other big shortcut is to create a Droplet for an action and put it on your desktop. Then you can drop an entire folder onto your Droplet, and it will perform the action to all the files in the folder. For example, you can compress all of the large files from your recent party to upload onto the web faster. You just drop in the folder and walk away, and it will automatically open Photoshop, resize and compress each photo, then save it to a specified folder. Voila!
September 16, 2011 04:45 pm
Use the square brackets [ ] to increase or decrease current brush size. Really quick for retouching work.
May 17, 2011 03:23 am
My favs are Ctrl C/V and D, but I'm still looking for the shortcut for "Apply Transformation," which I would definitely use to the max.
May 7, 2011 03:09 pm
I think we all mostly use- Ctrl+A, ctrl+S, Ctrl+N..lol Also- Ctrl+D, Ctrl+Shift+I, Ctrl+J
March 13, 2011 03:59 am
I like "Tab" shortcut (hide toolbar and little boxes),
It's very useful especially when you work at pc's with narrow monitors.
And my second favorite is Ctrl + Space (zoom in/out), which makes zoom really easy..
February 8, 2011 02:30 pm
I'm going crazy trying to remember this keyboard command:
Anyone know the command to drop the photo behind the mask so it shows up inside of it, not behind the black/grey layer?
January 24, 2011 03:20 pm
January 24, 2011 04:37 am
@ook - "Is there keyboard shortcut to switch between editing a layer and editing it’s mask?"
If you're on the layer you can click Ctrl + \ to get to the mask. I don't know the key to switch the other way.
December 30, 2010 12:52 am
Ooh, wait, one other thing - all my function keys do things, because I created "actions" to do simple tasks that I do over and over like "create layers" to separate my original layer from all the effects I put on it, stroke and unstroke as I check for jaggies and missing pixels, create a drop shadow on the layer below, link and merge layers in all kinds of combinations, etc - being able to create simple actions and assign them to function keys is SO helpful, because each person can create them for their own personal tasks that take maybe 2 or 3 steps, and turn them into one-key tasks!
December 30, 2010 12:50 am
I'm not a photographer but digital designer - I see that some of the shortcuts must change, I use CS5, and Ctrl+Alt+I brings up the image size dialog box (which I use a lot) and Ctrl+Shift+I is select inverse (THANKS I do this ALL the time, but did not know the shortcut!!). One that is SUPER handy for me is Ctrl+1 (the numeral 1) brings to 100% - not sure that would matter as a photographer, but as a digital designer, I have to know that things are not blurry or otherwise impaired at 100%, so that is SUPER helpful - not sure if it was there in previous versions - doesn't work in PSE 6 is all I know for sure. This list is SOOOO helpful!
October 6, 2010 11:34 am
Corrections to tutorial and comments:
Running PSCS3 on Windows:
Ctrl + I = Invert color
Ctrl + Shift + I = Invert selection
Otherwise great article. Thank you!
Another really cool command for PS3-:
Ctrl + Alt + ~ = Select RGB luminosity
Then create a new layer and set to Multiply mode to fix overexposed pictures. Or, Ctrl + Shift + I to select and isolate the RGB luminosity inversion....
February 13, 2010 07:29 am
Is there keyboard shortcut to switch between editing a layer and editing it's mask?
January 23, 2010 08:56 am
I noticed A LOT of comments wanting a color picker hotkey.
So for all those who were looking for the color picker photoshop, I wrote a how-to that might help you out with that here:
Hope this helps!
November 12, 2009 08:07 pm
Maybe I have missed this somewhere on here but could somebody please tell me whether you can deselect text once you have finished typing in the type tool, without clicking out of it? This is in CS3. I have been going up to the selection tool to deselect and it’s driving me mad!
Has been a long time since this comment was posted, but I was looking for the same shortcut. It's
Cmd + Enter on Apple, and I guess it's
Ctrl + Enter on Windows machines.
October 30, 2009 04:00 pm
I like all the shortcuts. U can check more shortcuts by day to day update here : http://www.amkaysweb.blogspot.com/
August 27, 2009 06:03 pm
Ctrl + Backspace for filling background color
Alt + Backspace for filling foreground color
Space for hand tool, even when you have selected other tool...
Ctrl + Alt + I for invert selection
August 19, 2009 04:56 am
Ctrl + Alt + Shift + R (Rotate Arbitrary Dialog) — bring up the rotate dialog to straighten out your horizon… but it’s not typically used since we all take perfect photos, right?
I do not agree with this. Its a useful command. It is widely used for scanned documents especially for drawings of big scale and size we can straighten the horizon using the arbitrary tool. Thousands of pdf drawings (autocad to pdf) are also coming for this purpose every day!
July 29, 2009 04:07 am
I do appreciate the joke, but I prefer Ctrl+Shift+Escape to kill photoshop, particularly when using vista. This brings up the task manager immediately instead of bringing up the intermediate screen.
July 14, 2009 04:51 am
Hi, is it cheating to give short sequences...?
1. From the layers palette, select a layer, then ctrl + click the new layer icon (cmd on mac) and the new layer appears 'under' the selected one.
2. To create more screen space, "F" to view full screen, Tab to remove all palettes, then F7 to bring up just the layers palette.
3. When trying our filters on a layer (overlay, luminosity, etc), make sure you've got the move tool V selected and then hit shift and + / - to scroll through the filters.
Also, I set up my own shortcut in preferences. ctrl+alt+cmd (Mac) to flatten an image.
July 1, 2009 07:57 am
I use the one here a lot.
imogen to exit out of text when selected into it hit the numpad enter.
I also didn't see it on here and use the ' [ ' and the ' ] ' a lot for brush size as well as shift with the same keys for adjusting brush softness.
May 2, 2009 10:22 am
I believe the use of shortcuts may help one avoid carpal tunnel injuries. Thanks!
May 2, 2009 06:57 am
In the case of Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), does it have the ability to treat scanned images in the same manner as photographs. So far, I understand this plug-in is only used in the case of digital photos. I know there is a new one ready to ship for CS4. Mostly my research that I have read is for the CS3 plug-ins.
Do you know of any short cu editing process for scanned images? Please advise. Thank you in advance.
February 6, 2009 04:38 am
hei there great tut , I have chosen for the 3 best shortcuts these:D :
1. P- pen tool
2. ALT - for the pen tool , changes the direction point
3. B - for the long lasting BRUSH :D
al the best for more astonishing tutorials :D
February 5, 2009 02:16 am
However to invert selection is not CTRL + I but CTRL + ALT + I .
Otherwise excellent stuff :)
Here's a neat trick - holding SHFT while using the BRUSH tool draws only straight lines or if you click point A and then point B it will draw a straight line between the two...
January 4, 2009 11:09 am
Thanks you for the article. Shortcuts are evrything, but one important is not bindable in Photoshop: the Color Picker.
You can see on this website a software that **can open Photoshop color picker with a keyboard shortcut**. Hope it will be helpful ;)
November 17, 2008 05:48 pm
I use many of them and they are really usefull,
once you know them, you cant live without them am i right ;)
Ctrl + J is also useful
brings the selected Area into a new Layer by copy
November 14, 2008 02:04 am
thanks for this post!
my 3 most used shortcuts are:
ctrl + (shift) z
[ and ]
ctrl + C/V
September 5, 2008 09:09 pm
Maybe I have missed this somewhere on here but could somebody please tell me whether you can deselect text once you have finished typing in the type tool, without clicking out of it? This is in CS3. I have been going up to the selection tool to deselect and it's driving me mad!
July 4, 2008 03:43 am
more shortcut commands are @
June 20, 2008 10:53 am
Hmm! Ctrl I is Invert not Inverse, or at least that is the way it is on a Mac. As the Invert converts colour information to its spectral opposite, perhaps you could clarify this.
May 3, 2008 04:30 am
If you need the upper menu (file, edit,...) in full screen with black background and without toolbar (TAB), you can use SHIFT + F to return to the previous screen mode.
Shift + TAB, hide all panels (Layers, Channels,...) except the toolbar.
Ctrl + Shift + F, Fade command.
Ctrl + Alt + I, Image Size dialogue.
Ctrl + Alt + Shift + I, Metadata dialogue.
Shift + mouse scroll, zoom in/out on intervals.
Ctrl + W, close image.
Ctrl + Q, close Photoshop.
April 28, 2008 07:03 pm
Adobe Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts
I got something for u
Adobe Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts . Enjoy the following link
If u like my search share something u have,
March 11, 2008 08:25 am
memorizing all of these might get a little more difficult for ware
January 29, 2008 04:37 pm
Hi. I understand that Ctrl-Click-in-the-canvas to select a layer is no longer (to my dislike). Is there a way I can alter this shortcut in PS so that it does select the layer, not the group? (Other than not using groups, which is necessary when using large files with numerous layers)?
October 13, 2007 03:33 am
oh, and of course Command+M for the curves and Commend+L for the Levels. And you can edit the shortcuts too, which I do a bit of.
October 13, 2007 03:31 am
i switch between tools using the single letter shortcuts. (but it doesn't work when you are typing. don't know if this works the same on a pc as it does on a mac.)
B for brush
V for move
M is for marquee (rectangular selection)
J is for the healing brush
S is for clone stamp
G is for fill
etc, hover on the tool in the pallette and PS will tell you what the shortcut is.
September 28, 2007 12:01 pm
Of the ones already listed, I use ctrl+T, Tab, Ctrl+0 and spacebar. The ones I *most often* use are:
Ctrl+L, brings up the levels dialogue box.
Q, toggles quick mask.
I also use ctrl+spacebar+left mouse click (increase magnifcation) and ctrl+alt+spacebar+left mouse click (decrease magnifcation). Used these ones before I had a scroll button on the mouse.
Hold down the ctrl key to move selection.
hold down ctrl+alt keys to move and copy selection.
NB. I work with a very old version of photoshop (v6-shocking I know!) but I'm sure these shortcuts will still be there in later versions.
September 28, 2007 01:22 am
The shortcut that I use a lot and don't remember seeing (although, I may have over looked it) is
ctrl+alt+P which gives a print preview before actually printing.
I also use ctrl-T (transform), & ctrl-D to deselect
I find I also use ctrl-S (save) quite often during a project.
I can't stop at 3 because I am finding more & more shortcuts that make the work easier.
September 27, 2007 09:05 am
Frequently I like to use Photoshop to alter my screen shots.
ctr+ Prnt Screen
alt + tab to Photoshop
ctrl+ N for new screen
But from there I need to use the tool bar to crop the desired section, I usually crop out the browsers and bottom tool bars of my screen shots.
September 27, 2007 04:00 am
cntrl + alt + z
alt + scroll
ctrl + j
September 27, 2007 02:12 am
Sad... so many windows users... Photoshop is so MAC :) heheh.
For those of you on mac.. you can exchange anything that says CTRL and use the CMD (apple) key instead.. it'll do the same thing :)
September 27, 2007 01:09 am
Can I just say....I WANT that keyboard!! Hehe! I've only been using photoshop on and off for a year or so, I'd like to think I'm ok at some aspects of it, but I could be better! These are some pretty useful tools, so thanks! :D
September 26, 2007 06:58 pm
for COMPLETE photoshop shortcuts,...you can download the pdf from :
September 26, 2007 05:19 pm
I notice a mistake in your shortcuts. Ctrl + I is inverse (turns the colors of the selected area to negative) but Shift + Ctrl + I does the trick (Select -> Inverse) that you mentioned.
September 26, 2007 05:14 pm
my top shortcuts are:
ctrl + S (save)
ctrl + Z (step back)
ctrl + D (deselect)
ctrl + 0 (fit in page)
ctrl + C (copy)
ctrl + V (paste)
ctrl + A (select all)
ctrl + I (invert selection)
ctrl + [+]/[-] (zoom in / out)
ctrl + T (free transform)
ctrl + G (group layers)
September 26, 2007 04:41 pm
My most used shortcuts:
Ctrl+t - Free transform
x - switch fore-/background-colors (really useful in masking)
Spacebar - Panning
(If I could go for a fourth, it would propably be CTRL-j (duplicate layer/selected pixels)
September 26, 2007 04:07 pm
My fav. presses are:-
ALT + Click - to move from layer to layer at the click (kinda fails a bit when things are grouped but still v handy)
I also think the best thing to do is to customise your version of photoshop as opposed to learning someone else's keys.
Everyone seems to be learning the defaults - and that's great, but hosting your config file online or on your usb pen and then simply using those key presses can be far easier and faster.
Everyone has their own way of doing things of course!
September 26, 2007 01:24 pm
Thanks for those - especially the mask shortcuts. I am an Elements user and don't have masks built in but use Grant's Tools to give me this function. I just tested the shortcuts and they work with my set up. Another shortcut that I use a bit (being a scrapbooker) is Ctrl-Shift-J when you are clicked into a text box to fully justify the text(not sure if it works the same way for Photoshop proper).
My main shortcuts:
Ctrl-J to duplicate a layer
Ctrl-Shift-N to creat a new layer (thanks for letting me know how to avoid the dialogue box)
Ctrl-[ / ] (and Ctrl-Shift-[ / ] )to promote/demote layers
I use the Spacebar (temporary hand tool) a lot now too, since reading about it in your article.
September 26, 2007 12:46 pm
September 26, 2007 12:27 pm
a nice selection of shortcuts!! but its so hard to cut down to 3!!
the ones I would pick are...
Ctrl+D & Ctrl+T (from 18 tips page) & D
I'm tempted to include the save/history, but since other applications use similar shortcuts i decided to choose the more 'unique' shortcuts to photoshop.
there is one 'shortcut' that is missing...and that is when you are selecting with your mouse hold down 'space' so move the selection (rather than resizing it).
ps. i've also written a post for photoshop shortcuts, feel free to have a look: http://psychopyko.com/nifty-tips/photoshop-shortcuts/ :)
September 26, 2007 10:40 am
If you create a new empty layer and press Cmd+alt+Shift+E, the visible layers will be merged into the new one, leaving them intact for further editing.
Pressing Alt will turn the Cancel button into a very useful "Reset". This works in several adjustments.
Cmd+Alt+L(/M/U/etc.) will open the adjustment window with the last used values preloaded.
You can use the spacebar to drag a marquee selection while making it; once you release the key, the marquee tool will continue its job.
Thank you for the list.
September 26, 2007 09:16 am
This is great! Handy when you're in a hurry or you just wanna show off! =)
September 26, 2007 09:15 am
This was great info. Thanks for compiling it all.
One thing to add: you mention that you can Alt/Option scroll wheel to Zoom, whereas, regularly, the scroll wheel just navigates up and down in an image. It might be useful to note that in the Preferences>General tab, this can be reversed using "Zoom with Scroll Wheel". This will cause the regular scroll wheel to zoom, and the Alt/Option scroll wheel to navigate up and down.
Also, in the Mask Visibility area, Shift+Alt/Option will allow you to view your mask as an overlay on your layer. That way, you can see the Quickmask style overlay feature to refine your mask, while actually working on the Layer Mask. This is especially useful on intricate selections.
As for my 3 most used (hard to cut it to just 3), I'd say X, D, and Ctrl/Cmd D. Of course, if I could add 2, I'd add Alt/Opt Backspace/Delete, and Ctrl/Cmd Backspace/Delete.... sheesh, I see why you chose to use just Windows commands! =D
September 26, 2007 03:49 am
1) Ctrl-Alt-Del ha-ha-ha.
September 26, 2007 03:20 am
It's not crucial, but I like using ALT + BACKSPACE and CTRL + BACKSPACE for "fill with foreground color" and "fill with background color", respectively.
I use it most when I wanna quickly make a transparent layer opaque. But it can probably help with masks and other things, too.
September 26, 2007 02:23 am
Remembering shortcuts is a part of working with any application. I mean, who just tries to memorize them by heart? :)
September 26, 2007 02:03 am
Thanks for the tips. As you mentioned there are close to a trillion different shortcuts in Photoshop. For a user like me that only uses it occasionally it's hard to remember all the cool shurtcuts from time to time. Guess it's all about practice. Thanks again for pointing out the ones I shouldn't be without :-)
September 26, 2007 01:39 am
Not really a shoortcut, but if you want to straighten your horizon in PS rather than ACR, use the measure tool (I) to measure the angle of the horizon in the photo, and then bring up the Rotate Arbitrary Dialogue (Ctrl + Alt + Shift + R) and it'll pre-fill it with the correct angle...
Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook
Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook
Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook
Sign up to the free DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE
GET DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS Feed