Looking to speed up your post-processing with some Photoshop shortcuts?
Working in Photoshop can be quite time-consuming, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced editor. That’s why, in this article, we share our top 35 shortcut keys – so you can adjust tools, layers, and more with the press of a button.
We start with simple Photoshop shortcuts; these commands are commonly used and easy to pull off. Then we get into intermediate and advanced shortcuts, which require a bit more dexterity but are still worth learning!
Note: If you’re not used to using keyboard shortcuts with Photoshop, they might seem a bit fiddly at first. Like learning to touch type, the more you practice, the easier it becomes, and the less you have to think about where you are putting your fingers. Learning to use Photoshop shortcut keys takes time, but you can easily break it down and learn a few at a time.
Ready to double (or quadruple) your Photoshop workflow speed? Let’s get started!
1. Select the Hand tool
- The shortcut: The H key
The Hand tool lets you pan around a zoomed-in image. Use it to check for blemishes, evaluate sharpness, and move from one end of the photo to the other.
2. Select the Zoom tool
- The shortcut: The Z key
The Zoom tool lets you zoom in with a single click. Use it to inspect your file for quality issues and to check composited areas for realistic placement.
3. Zoom in and out
- The shortcut: Ctrl/Cmd++ and Ctrl/Cmd–
Repeatedly tap the + and – keys while viewing a file in Photoshop, and the window will zoom in and zoom out, respectively (without changing your current tool).
4. Fit to screen
- The shortcut: Ctrl/Cmd+0
This quick-and-dirty command fits your photo to the screen so you can view the image as a whole and check your overall editing progress.
5. Cycle through screen modes
- The shortcut: The F key
Use this Photoshop shortcut to switch between the normal screen, the full screen with a taskbar but without a title bar, and the full screen with a black background. It works great when used in conjunction with Tab to hide the toolbars; that way, you get maximum working space and no distractions.
6. Undo an edit
- The shortcut: Ctrl/Cmd+Z
We all make little mistakes. Use the Undo command to remove errors, such as a misplaced brush stroke or a clone job gone wrong.
7. Hide and show palettes
- The shortcut: The Tab key
Sometimes, the Photoshop interface can get too cluttered. Press the Tab key to hide all palettes; that way, you can concentrate on the image you’re editing. Plus, it’ll give you extra room to work!
8. Select the Brush tool
- The shortcut: The B key
9. Use the Brush tool crosshairs
- The shortcut: Caps Lock
Need a bit more precision when brushing? With the Brush Tool selected, if you tap the Caps Lock key, the cursor will transform into crosshairs. This allows you to position your Brush more effectively.
(It’s also a good shortcut to know how to undo! If you inadvertently turned the crosshairs on while using the Brush tool, you may wonder what’s happened; just hit Caps Lock again, and your normal cursor will reappear.
10. Decrease the Brush size
- The shortcut: The [ key
When working with the Brush tool, you’ll often need to get into tighter spots. Tap the [ key as many times as you need to progressively shrink the Brush size.
11. Increase the Brush size
- The shortcut: The ] key
This is the opposite of the Photoshop shortcut featured above. If you need to expand the Brush size, tap the ] key. Then use the Brush to paint over large swathes of your photo.
12. Decrease the Brush softness
- The shortcut: Shift+[
Need a harder brush for masking along fine edges? Use this command to harden your Brush edge by 25%.
13. Increase the Brush softness
- The shortcut: Shift+]
If you’re masking along rougher edges, use a soft Brush. This command will instantly increase softness by 25%.
14. Swap foreground and background colors
- The shortcut: The X key
The left-hand toolbar will show your foreground and background colors. By default, these are white (background) and black (foreground), but if you want to switch them – which I use all the time when dodging and burning, as well as when working with masks – just use this helpful shortcut.
15. Reset your foreground and background colors
- The shortcut: The D key
If you change your foreground and background colors, you can always force things back to normal with this easy shortcut. It’ll reset your foreground and background colors to black and white, respectively.
16. Adjust tool opacity
- The shortcut: 0 to 1 (the numerical keys)
When using the Brush tool or the Clone Stamp tool, you may wish to adjust the opacity for subtle (or not-so-subtle) effects. Simply press the number keys to set the opacity to any value between 1 and 100. Note that pressing one number will give you a multiple of 10 (so hit 4 to set an opacity of 40%), while pressing two numbers in quick succession will give you a precise value (so hit 4 then 3 to set an opacity of 43%).
17. Adjust tool flow
- The shortcut: Shift+0 to 1 (the numerical keys)
This works just like the opacity shortcut above, but with the Shift key held down. Use it to subtly dodge and burn, paint a light mask, and more.
18. Select the next point on a Curves graph
- The shortcut: Ctrl/Cmd+Tab
When working on a Curves graph, you can place multiple points and adjust them accordingly (using the Up and Down arrow keys). However, if you wish to select an already-placed point for adjustment, you may struggle to click without accidentally moving the point’s position. This shortcut lets you hop to the next point, make adjustments with the arrow keys, and so on.
19. Create a new layer (with the dialog box)
- The shortcut: Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+N
Want to quickly create a new layer? This shortcut will instantly bring up the New Layer dialog box – where you can customize the layer to your liking – and place a new layer on top of your active layer.
20. Create a new layer (without the dialog box)
- The shortcut: Ctrl/Cmd+Alt/Opt+Shift+N
If you’d prefer to skip the layer creation dialog box, use this command to place a new layer directly on top of the active layer.
21. Copy the merged layers
- The shortcut: Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+C
If you’re working with several layers and need to copy the entire project to your clipboard, simply press these keys. You’ll get a merged copy of the file sent to your clipboard, which you can then paste into a new layer or file.
Note that the command only works if you first make a selection of the image (use Ctrl/Cmd+A to select all); otherwise, you’ll get a copy of nothing.
22. Duplicate the layer
- The shortcut: Ctrl/Cmd+J
Need to duplicate a background layer or increase the intensity of an adjustment? You can always duplicate an existing active layer with this easy shortcut. Note that if you’ve already made a selection, this command will only copy the selected area to the new layer.
23. Stamp all visible layers
- The shortcut: Ctrl/Cmd+Alt/Opt+Shift+E
This command will copy all visible layers, merge them, and add them as a new layer to your layer stack. It’s basically the same as the copy-merge command (see above), except it places the copy directly in the layer stack.
24. Group layers
- The shortcut: Ctrl/Cmd+G
This command groups selected layers under a single folder (which you can then name). In my experience, it’s pretty handy when you’re working with a lot of different layers you need to keep organized. It can also be a useful way to apply a mask to several layers at once.
Adding Shift to this shortcut will ungroup layers when the grouped layer is selected.
25. Fill the layer with the foreground color
- The shortcut: Alt/Opt+Backspace
Looking for a quick way to fill in a layer? Use this shortcut to fill the layer with the current foreground color. To fill an empty layer with the current foreground or background color use Alt + Delete or Option + Backspace on the Mac to fill the layer with the Foreground color.
26. Fill the layer with the background color
- The shortcut: Ctrl/Cmd+Backspace
This one’s the same as above, but with a slight adjustment so you can fill your layer with the background color.
27. Enable/disable the layer mask
- The shortcut: Shift+Click
When working with masks, you may want to see the before and after effects. Disabling the mask – with this shortcut – allows you to check the results of your dodging and burning, your color grading adjustments, and so much more.
28. Toggle mask visibility
- The shortcut: Alt/Opt+Click
This Photoshop command will show you the selected mask as a grayscale image; that way, you can see what you’re working with. It can be especially useful if you have areas that need to be filled in or smoothed out, but you’re not quite sure where they are.
29. Select all
- The shortcut: Ctrl/Cmd+A
This one is pretty standard – use it to create a selection around the entire canvas.
30. Load a mask as a selection
- The shortcut: Ctrl/Cmd+Click
If you first create a mask, this shortcut will immediately select the white part of the mask (while grays will be partially selected). It’s very useful if you want to duplicate a mask or its inverse.
Note: Using this Photoshop shortcut on a layer without a mask will select the non-transparent pixels in that layer.
31. Hide selection lines
- The shortcut: Ctrl/Cmd+H
When working with selections, use this command to hide the marching ants from the screen while keeping the selection intact.
32. Invert the selection
- The shortcut: Shift+Ctrl/Cmd+I
If you’ve already made a selection, use this command to select the opposite of your selection. This is also a good Photoshop shortcut to use when working with masks.
33. Deselect the current selection
- The shortcut: Ctrl/Cmd+D
After working with your selection, use this combo to discard it! (This is one I use constantly!)
34. Reselect the last selection
- The shortcut: Shift+Ctrl/Cmd+D
This will restore the last active selection. It is super helpful if you deselect an element and then notice something else you need to alter.
35. Show all Photoshop keyboard shortcuts
- The shortcut: Ctrl/Cmd+Alt/Opt+Shift+K
Worried you might forget one of these shortcuts? Don’t be! You can always use this simple command to bring up the keyboard shortcut Help dialog, which displays literally every shortcut Photoshop offers.
Additional resources with helpful Photoshop shortcuts
I’ve been using Photoshop on a near-daily basis for the better part of a decade now. Over the years, I’ve picked up a ton of shortcuts, and I wanted to share some of my all-time favorites with you. These are the ones that rocked my world when I learned them, and if they’re new to you, I’m confident they’ll have the same effect!
Correction from the video: For the brush resizing trick, the PC instructions I gave didn’t seem to be working for most users. The correct translation (this is for PC users only) is to hold down the Alt key, then click and drag using the right mouse key. If you’re on a pen tablet, use whatever button you have set for the right-click.
Well? Is your mind blown!? The brush resize and zoom shortcuts seriously changed my life when I learned them. I can’t tell you how many years I spent right-clicking to change brush hardness and fumbling with bracket keys to resize the brush.
Photoshop shortcuts: final words
Hopefully, you appreciated at least a handful of these shortcuts! So memorize them – and incorporate them into your own workflow.
Now over to you:
Did I miss any critical Photoshop shortcut commands? Which do you use? And which of these commands do you plan to use regularly? Share your thoughts in the comments below!