18 Exceptionally Useful Photoshop Shortcuts

18 Exceptionally Useful Photoshop Shortcuts

Keyboard-ShortcutsThis guest post was submitted by Brian Auer from Epic Edits Weblog.

Working with Photoshop can be quite time consuming for both beginners and advanced users. Once you’ve worked with it for a while, you begin to find that you’re constantly going back and forth between the same menu items or palette buttons. If you’re anything like me, you’re switching tools so often that most of your time spent in Photoshop isn’t even on the photo — it’s messing with the vast array of editing tools. Fortunately there’s a way to help streamline your Photoshop workflow.

Keyboard commands, or shortcuts, are simply a way to bypass a few mouse clicks when doing tool changes or tool property adjustments. They’re a little awkward and cumbersome at first, but once you pick up a couple of commands on the keyboard you’ll never go back. The whole idea is that while one hand is running the mouse, the other hand might as well be doing something too. This method of working with Photoshop can really decrease your time spent on the computer and give you more time to get behind the camera.

The following are 18 of my most commonly used shortcuts, broken out into three groups: simple, intermediate, and advanced. The simple commands are pretty easy to pull off, and they’re heavily used. The advanced commands take a little coordination, and I don’t use them quite as often. The intermediate commands are somewhere between the two. Again, these are MY most used Photoshop shortcuts. I’m also only showing the commands for Photoshop CS3 (thought CS2 should be almost identical) on a PC (sorry Mac users). So if you want to learn more about this topic, read to the bottom of the article for additional resources.

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Simple Photoshop Shortcut Commands


  • H (Hand Tool) — When zoomed in to a portion of your photo, this command brings up the hand tool which allows for quick panning. Also, if the hand tool is active and you hold down the Ctrl key, you can zoom in without changing to the zoom tool. Likewise, if you hold down the Alt key, you can zoom out without changing tools.
  • Z (Zoom Tool) — This command just brings up the zoom tool, which allows you to zoom in. Like with the hand tool, if you hold down the Alt key, it temporarily switches to the zoom out mode.
  • Ctrl + 0 (Fit on Screen) — This is a quick-and-dirty command to get the entire photo in front of your eyes. That’s Ctrl + zero, not the letter “O”.
  • B (Brush Tool) — The brush is an extremely useful tool when working with masks, and I’m constantly using this command along with the hand and zoom tools.
  • Ctrl + Z (Undo) — Very useful for the little mistakes we all make.
  • Tab (Hide/Show Palettes) — Hiding the palettes gives you a little more working room, thus decreasing your need to pan and zoom while editing.

Intermediate Photoshop Shortcut Commands


  • [ (Decrease Brush Size) — Quickly decrease your brush size to get into those tighter spots.
  • ] (Increase Brush Size) — Quickly increase your brush size for the larger areas.
  • Shift + [ (Decrease Brush Softness) — Decrease the softness of the brush by 25%.
  • Shift + ] (Increase Brush Softness) — Increase the softness of the brush by 25%.
  • 1->0 (Tool Opacity) — I usually run my brush opacity around 5% or 10%, but some things require a bit more opacity. Just press one of the numbers from 1 to 0 and your tool opacity will change from 10% up to 100%. If you want finer control, press a second number quickly after the first, and you can get any percentage you want. So pressing 4 will get you 40% opacity, while pressing 4 then 3 will give you 43% opacity.
  • Shift + 1->0 (Tool Flow) — This works exactly like the opacity changer, but you just have to hold the Shift key down while you hit the numbers.
  • Ctrl + Tab (Next Point on Curves Adjustment) — When using the curves adjustment dialog, you can place multiple points on the curve and adjust them accordingly. Sometimes you want to make very minor shifts in those points by nudging with the keyboard, but clicking on the point to activate it usually moves it to an undesired location. Use this command to switch focus from point to point without moving them around.

Advanced Photoshop Shortcut Commands


  • Ctrl + Shift + N (New Layer) — This will bring up the new layer dialog box and place a new layer on top of the active layer.
  • Ctrl + Alt + Shift + N (New Layer No Dialog) — This command skips the dialog box and just places a new layer on top of the active layer.
  • Ctrl + Shift + C (Copy Merged) — This works basically like the copy command, except you get a merged copy of the composite image sent to the clipboard. This command only works if you’ve made a selection on the image first (use Ctrl+A to select all), otherwise you’ll get a copy of nothing. This is useful if you want to duplicate what you see on the screen into another image file or even another layer.
  • Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E (Stamp Visible) — This is actually one of my favorite commands. First, I’ll create a new empty layer on top of the stack. Then I’ll select that new layer and use this command. It does basically the same thing as the copy merged command, except it places the copy right into the new layer. I use this for creating layer blends, sharpening, and any other type of editing that can’t be done non-destructively.
  • Ctrl + Alt + Shift + K (Show Keyboard Commands) — If you forget any of these commands, or if you want to check on other commands, use this to bring up the help dialog on keyboard shortcuts.

These are only the Photoshop keyboard shortcuts that I commonly use during post-processing, but there are certainly a lot more of them that may be useful for you. Check out the Photoshop help topics for more information on this topic. In addition to that, I found a great resource at Trevor Morris Photographics where you can download PDF documents of all the shortcuts for each version of Photoshop all the way back to PS5, plus he has documents for Bridge and Camera Raw. I find that his documents are much easier to use than the Photoshop documentation.

So did I miss any critical photoshop shortcut commands? Which others do you find useful and use?

Update: We’ve added another 28 Exceptionally Useful Photoshop Shortcuts post to the blog.

Brian Auer is a photography enthusiast of four years, and he is the author of the Epic Edits Weblog which written to provide a photography resource for the aspiring hobbyist.

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • richard s. September 7, 2013 02:10 am

    I never use the Zoom tool, or Hand – I use the Navigator panel for panning/ sometimes zooming, and alt+scroll to zoom in/out (mostly). My fingers are constantly on V, B and M because that way, 95% of the time I don’t need to move my hand to switch to a tool I need. (Oh, and when I need to undo/redo, I have macro buttons on my mouse for that, which is brilliant…)

    Read more: https://digital-photography-school.com/photoshop-shortcut-commands#ixzz2e85SgOBb

  • Nitai Roy March 22, 2013 08:18 pm

    Yes, these shortcuts are helpful.

    Cmd+L shortcut is for colour level. This shortcut is used for balancing colour.

  • Anthony Aird February 9, 2013 08:52 pm

    Those are great shortcuts. It's a good list you've put together. Thanks.

  • Jacquelin Vanderwood October 26, 2012 05:53 pm

    Just to clarify one of the shortcuts you have. It's the one that is Shift+Control+Alt+E...it is not necessary to create a new layer, all you have to do is be on the top layer.

  • Steve Swift April 14, 2012 12:06 am

    Wow- very helpful! Thanks for listing all these! In case anyone else needs some more help with Photoshop, I decided to create a Photoshop shortcut sticker sheet with all the commands. Check it out here: http://www.shortcutstickers.com/graphic-design/adobe-photoshop/adobe-photoshop-sticker-set-color

  • Brett April 11, 2012 04:11 am

    I use shortcuts all day long. Finally found this site to teach me how to change the Flow (Fill) with the keyboard. Your tip is Shift + Numbers.

    I use Fill 0% a lot to work solely with Layer Styles. How do I get to 0%? Shift+0 goes to 100%. Shit+0+0 does nothing. Shift+0+1 gets me to 1% which still doesn't help me. Any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Simon November 30, 2011 05:04 pm

    I never use the Zoom tool, or Hand - I use the Navigator panel for panning/ sometimes zooming, and alt+scroll to zoom in/out (mostly). My fingers are constantly on V, B and M because that way, 95% of the time I don't need to move my hand to switch to a tool I need. (Oh, and when I need to undo/redo, I have macro buttons on my mouse for that, which is brilliant...)

  • Crysta October 27, 2011 06:50 pm

    Karena try hitting the enter button first then the brush opacity u want then hit enter again. it works for me

  • Karena DIxon October 25, 2011 04:38 am

    Anyone kno how to get my Brush Opacity shortcut back? I can no longer hit a number for the % I want. It changes the flow size.

  • Crysta October 24, 2011 01:27 pm

    V = move tool
    Ctrl + T = Free transform

    Any one have any shortcuts for layer masks?

  • Indezoo September 26, 2011 06:19 pm

    this really saved my time..thank you for sharing

  • Antony September 5, 2011 01:35 am

    It's great to see how popular this article has been,
    over 4 years worth of comments and they still keep coming....

    An invaluable resource.

  • Clipping Path June 30, 2011 08:09 pm

    Great list of photoshop actions.. it does make life a little easier..

  • Edward - Florida SEO April 21, 2011 03:56 am

    @Grayson ...

    Knowledge is power ... I hate not being able to use keyboard commands ...

    I've been click on a different tool to deselect text edit mode in Illustrator forever ...

    Thanks a million for the ctrl+enter tip ...


  • Todd March 25, 2011 12:57 am


    I may be late in the game here but, you can use ( on MAC anyways) your speech tool to command photoshop to run all these shortcuts just by speaking them. I have just started using it and it works very well indeed!


  • Florin February 24, 2011 10:22 pm

    Does anyone know how you toggle between first (the open state) and last step of the history pallet?
    I know the Cmd + Alt/Shift + Z stuff I was just wondering if there is such an option.

  • neuroxik December 14, 2010 05:36 pm

    @Josh : Wow, exactly what I was looking for! Also, the "click and drag" is "right-click and drag", just in case other people try that out.

    I'd also like to point out to others in case they wouldn't know, it's far smoother & quicker to just press Alt ( or Option on a Mac if I'm not mistaken ) and use the scrollwheel to zoom in/out

  • Geri-Jean December 10, 2010 02:41 am

    Does anyone know a keyboard shortcut for “Duplicate image” ?
    For CS5 on a Mac ?

    Read more: https://digital-photography-school.com/photoshop-shortcut-commands#ixzz17dLGYazo

  • Mariah December 9, 2010 08:05 am

    THANK YOU...

    I learned a couple of new things thanks to you!!!!

  • anne December 7, 2010 11:42 pm

    I love the clarity and simplicity of your tutorial. I have been looking for this kind help and finally i have found it. thank you!


  • Geri-Jean November 29, 2010 02:43 pm

    Does anyone know a keyboard shortcut for "Duplicate image" ?
    For CS5 on a Mac ?

  • pdf search engine October 3, 2010 05:46 am

    Grate spray brushes. Thanks for sharing good in formations.

  • Alexi June 28, 2010 04:28 pm

    Anyone know how to select between the pixel portion of a layer and the layer mask of the same layer using only a keyboard command?

  • Helen June 26, 2010 02:05 am

    Does anyone know of a shortcut or hotkey which works as an alternative to hitting the enter key to insert a line break into text? Enter works fine on my stand-alone pc, but has no effect on text on my laptop and I've been told that it should be possible to program an alternative...

  • Ciara June 17, 2010 11:20 pm

    SHIFT + F5 brings up the fill tool.

  • Arpan Kumar Kar May 31, 2010 12:01 am

    Great tricks on Photoshop...Thanks a lot

  • Vaby Tech May 14, 2010 07:16 pm

    thank for sharing these amazing tricks about photoshop

  • jeremy April 16, 2010 12:41 am

    CTL + TAB to switch between files (tabs) while in FULL SCREEN MODE.

  • Aivea March 25, 2010 06:16 pm

    Great informative tutorials. Nice effort!!!

  • Marc March 23, 2010 03:30 am

    To jump out of a textbox (without a numeric keypad) hit Apple/Command + Return. Best shortcut ever.

  • Desktop wallpapers Download March 14, 2010 05:13 pm

    i use the toolbox shortcuts the most

    then [F] and [Tab] to switch views

  • chip January 11, 2010 10:46 pm

    I found this article looking for another shortcut, and I learnt some other useful shortcuts. I'll have a look at the other 28 when I get used to these new ones. :)

  • Lotti Voute January 6, 2010 01:56 am

    As far as I know it IS F12. Nothing else.

  • adhila December 12, 2009 06:31 am

    am not too sure but its got a F12 in it... plz help!

  • adhila December 12, 2009 06:29 am

    does anybody knw the shortcut that undoes everything and returns to the original picture?

  • vivek bandebuche November 27, 2009 02:47 pm

    Ctrl + Tab (Next Point on Curves Adjustment) — When using the curves adjustment dialog, you can place multiple points on the curve and adjust them accordingly. Sometimes you want to make very minor shifts in those points by nudging with the keyboard, but clicking on the point to activate it usually moves it to an undesired location. Use this command to switch focus from point to point without moving them around.

    Read more: https://digital-photography-school.com/photoshop-shortcut-commands#ixzz0Y23983Wy

    this post is very cool...keep writting

  • heizel November 13, 2009 01:43 pm

    thnx guys for sharing all your ideas about shortcut key in photoshop...
    im looking for that because i have to be familliarized with that shortcut key..
    tnx guys it will help me a lot...

  • manisha October 30, 2009 04:01 pm

    I like all the shortcuts. U can check more shortcuts by day to day update here : http://www.amkaysweb.blogspot.com/

  • josh September 19, 2009 05:24 am

    with the brush or other resizable tool selected, hold coltrol + option and click-drag your cursor for quick resize on the fly.

  • Chris Grayson July 10, 2009 03:42 am

    Your most helpful tip is [F] to toggle screen mode. I have CS4 at home and CS3 at the office. The clickable toggle is in two different places (CS3 = bottom of toolbox, CS4 = task bar up top). Using the shortcut key will help me from confusing/frustrating myself when I go back and forth from CS3 to CS4.

    My own methods:

    When I'm working in PhotoShop, my left hand is holding a Wacom pen, the keybopard is at a 45° angle, over to the right, and the thumb of my right hand rests near the [Command] Key. This also keeps it immediately adjacent to the other modifier keys: [Option], [Control] and [Shift]. My "rested" state is always in the Marquee tool.

    [M] - calls up the Marquee (selection) tool.

    There are several reasons to work with the marquee tool selected, not just for making selections. When in the marquee tool, the [Space Bar] toggles to the "Hand" tool, the [Command] Key toggles to the arrow "Move" tool. [Command]+[Option] toggles to 'drag a duplicate layer.' [Space Bar]+[Command] toggles to the zoom-in tool [Space Bar]+[Command]+[Option] toggles to the zoom-out tool. You get to all of these tools from the Marquee tool, and when you release, it remains in the Marquee tool.

    The other big advantage to always pulling up the Marquee tool the second you finish your business at hand, is that you cannot screw anything up from the Marquee tool. If you keep your toolbox set to most other tools, and accidentally click or simply bump your pen/mouse, you can end up with a blemish or accident.

    Another extremely useful shortcut is [Command]+[Return] which deselects out of any text block.

    Other shortcuts I use frequestly:

    [Command]+[M] brings up Curves
    [Command]+[U] brings up Hue/Saturation
    [Command]+[B] brings up Color Balance
    [Command]+[L] brings up Color Levels

    [P] calls the Pen tool
    [T] calls the Type tool
    [I] calls the Eye-Dropper tool
    [B] calls the Brush tool

    Also, when you're in the "Brush" tool, holding down [Option] toggles the "Eye-Dropper"

    [Shift]+[F5] brings up the "Fill" dialog box

    [Command]+[Option]+[I] brings up the "Image Size/Resize" dialog box

    [Tab] to hide all floating palettes

    [Command]+[;] toggles your guides on and off
    [Command]+['] toggles your grid on and off

    [Command]+[-] & [Command]+[+] Zooms in and Out

    [Command]+[J] duplicates the current selection OR layer if nothing is selected
    [Command]+[Shift]+[C] Copy Merged (copies all layers)

    [Command]+[G] groups selected layers
    [Command]+[E] merges selected layers

    [Command]+[Delete] fills with background color
    [Command]+[Option]+[Delete] fills with White

    I also write a lot of actions and assign them to ["modifier key"]+["F key"] quick keys, so I can combine several common tasks into a single key-stroke.


    I guess we could also include the obvious ones that are standard in all applications, but are probably used more than any of the above (I'm astounded when I see people select "Copy" or "Paste" or "Print" from a pull-down menu). I assume everyone who has used a computer longer than a year knows these:

    [Command]+[Z] Undo
    [Command]+[X] Cut
    [Command]+[C] Copy
    [Command]+[V] Paste

    [Command]+[A] Select All
    [Command]+[D] Deselect

    [Command]+[S] Save
    [Command]+[P] Print
    [Command]+[O] Open
    [Command]+[W] Close Window
    [Command]+[Q] Quit

    [Return] key selects the default button for whatever dialog box is open (usually "OK").
    [Command]+[ . ] is Cancel
    In the "Save" dialog box, [Command]+[D] is Don't Save.


    That's what I've got.


  • barbara May 2, 2009 08:41 am

    why not just buy the stickers that go your keys???

  • Lu May 1, 2009 10:32 pm

    For Janice.

    I taught myself Photoshop with Adobe's Classroom in a Book. Photography is only a hobby for me. I primarily use it to create collages and for color correcting/cropping, etc. I needed something that would teach me more than the basics, but didn't need to get into web development or the really advanced stuff. I have CS4 (I believe the CS stands for Creative Suite...but I only have Photoshop CS4, not the entire suite, so I'm not sure why they still call it that, other than the fact that it is part of the Creative Suite if you purchase all of it).

    I believe there is a Classroom in a Book for Photoshop Elements. These books give you a CD of lessons consisting of several photographs in various stages of development. They include a photo that shows what the finished product looks like, as well as the photos needed to start a project and to add to that project. When you open a photo, it may come complete with the layers needed to get to that point. The book itself has you go through various steps on the photos supplied in the lessons, so that you can learn different features. I thought I could skip some chapters, because they didn't apply to my needs, but it turns out that they might slip in some really useful advice/technique/shortcut while learning to do something you might not really use. For example, in an early chapter, they may use the menu to save your work, in another they may use the shortcut to show you there are many ways to achieve the same result.

    I discovered these books because of my daughter. When she attended collage, the course she was taking required her to learn Photoshop and Illustrator using these books. The instructor gave the assignments and did the critiquing, but didn't actually teach how to use the programs. She learned that by doing the lessons in the book, and then applying them to her own work.

    Once I get a working knowledge about a certain technique, but still need to refer to the book to remember "how did they do that?", I find going to the tutorials that are available on the internet are fantastic. At that point, I may do a search for a particular tool, or technique.

    By the Way, when I picked up my copy of Photoshop CS4 I couldn't find it at first. They did a search at Barnes and Nobel and found they had 5 copies, somewhere. It turned out they were at the front desk. People try to rip off the CD that is attached inside the book. This is so ridiculous, the CD just has the photos used for the lessons; without the book, it is worthless.

  • Lu May 1, 2009 10:04 pm

    Favorite Shortcuts:

    Control S to Save
    Control Z to Undo
    Control D to deselect Selection

    While I use many others, these are used with just about every project I work on.

  • liam May 1, 2009 02:08 am

    Wouldn't it be great is someone did a harrow vertical cribsheet with these on so we could stick it to our monitor!? Remember how they used to do it on keyboards for computer games... ooooh, those were the days!!!

  • dileep March 21, 2009 10:45 pm

    550+ Keyboard shortcuts for Adobe Photoshop CS4


  • ProjectCenter March 17, 2009 11:32 am

    Excellent cheat sheet, but then some of the comments have even more, which is great.

  • Jung February 19, 2009 09:36 pm

    I want to assign F12 as the shortcut of 'save for web' on photoshop (Mac), and when I've try to put (click) F12 in the blank space beside of 'save for web' at the dialogue, it does not do anything but showing sound increase. How do I put F12 into the blank space of the shortcut change dialogue? I am new at Mac. Please guys be kind enough to let me know. Thanks in advance.

  • Sonia December 30, 2008 01:20 pm

    The 120 buttons on the enterpad are just perfect to fire shortcuts without having to remember them.


  • ym December 12, 2008 01:47 am

    the brush increase/decrease size is something I couldn't remember (I once saw a friend of mine who was a photoshop whiz do some shortcut) now I know how :) thanks! so useful...

  • Millard December 5, 2008 09:25 pm

    As has been said, Ctr(cmd) + and - are real life savers.

  • Vonwa November 18, 2008 12:30 am

    Hi there, this is all I need but i'm french and by the way i've got a french keyboard and english version of Photoshop with which "special" shorcut don't work ( "[" to increase brush size for instance). How do you think i can change this or make shortcut usable ?

  • Melvin October 22, 2008 02:05 pm

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  • Janice September 19, 2008 01:48 pm


    i'm new to photoshop and am a bit overwhelmed with all the info without a proper introduction. Can somebody reccommend the best way to learn photoshop? I have photoshop 7 and keep seeing CS3 after the name. I can't figure what that is? I also have elements.

    Would you suggest a video tutorial vs a book? I'm diabled and single and do not work and am on a fixed income. Please advise what you might choose in my situation? I am a fast learner.
    Thanks for your feedback,

  • hemant July 29, 2008 04:43 pm

    i want to selection tool (m) to change in alt+s+t i mean transform selection. so which key in this selection increase or decrease.

  • Greg Goodman July 17, 2008 01:42 am

    I spend my life using control + and control - to zoom in and out of images that I'm editing. Those, in my opinion, are my most useful shortcuts and ones that everyone should know for easy image editing and creation...especially for creating images for Web pages.


  • Dubai Web Design, Development June 17, 2008 11:47 pm

    Thanks guyes for a long list of short cuts for adobe photoshop. Although it is difficult to remember them all but i will note down some where else to use them during my work.

  • olivier lalin June 3, 2008 03:25 am

    Looking for an extensive list fo photoshop shortcuts that I can print out.
    "French wedding Photographer"

  • Ross May 19, 2008 08:04 pm

    Using keyboard commands are the way to go. I have to use Photoshop a lot so I hit F until my workspace is the largest then hit tab to make it fullscreen. From here I use the generic windows commands to access the toolbar by clicking:


    F = file
    E = edit
    I = image
    L = layer
    S = select
    T = filter
    A = analysis
    V = view
    W = window
    H = help

    So remember these if you like to work fullscreen.

  • Batuka March 29, 2008 04:35 am

    You can utilize all of the F keys by setting your own shortcuts via Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts. You can set keys F1 to F15 to whatever functions you want. I am a big fan of shortcuts and these are very handy for functions I use for almost every session.

  • Paula Wood February 22, 2008 09:47 pm

    Thanks for this info, now I can send my son off to school. He is my expert and info person!

  • Eva-Maria December 7, 2007 07:01 pm

    Toby's "[ctrl + clicking the layer thumbnail] gives you a selection of all non transparent pixels." I usually hit Ctrl + a to select all and press Ctrl + --> (arrow) to Nudge non-transparent pixels. It also results with the mentioned selection, at least while 'Move' is current Tool.
    Ctrl+drag is useful to move layers while other tool is active.

    As I always have too many layers to scroll them on the sidebar, I do Merge this way: 'Move' is active, Autoselect Layers is checked at the toolbar, hold down the Ctrl and click the actual layers around the picture. Unmerge works the same way, holding down Ctrl and clicking the layer to unmerge.

  • Ken November 2, 2007 03:28 am

    Great list, I've picked up some good ones (if I can remember them when I need them!)-- thanks everyone...
    One I don't think I've seen here is 'Ctrl H' to hide selection lines--good for previewing what things are going to look like before committing. Just don't forget to turn it off, as your selection is still 'selected'! This also cycles through showing grids if you've already gone there. You can even use this when transforming, although it makes navigation a bit more difficult.
    Oh, and holding down 'Shift' to constrain transformations to squares or circles...
    Thanks again!

  • Brian Auer October 5, 2007 05:49 am

    hmm... I suppose you've got a point GG. My intent was just to avoid extra clutter by including both sets of commands for the entire list. I guess I had assumed that most users know the conversion between PC and MAC, but it would have been good of me to mention that Ctrl->Cmd and Alt->Opt. I'll be sure to do at least that from now on when writing about any keyboard commands, thanks for bringing that up.

  • GG September 27, 2007 05:49 am

    Nice list but I would like to mention that because PS is used by so many Windows AND Mac users, writing things such as "Sorry Mac users" is just plain lazy and discourteous. Any book you find on PS will show both sets of shortcuts or at least explain if there are any differences (alt vs. option for example). As an experienced user in both environments, I don't have much of a problem translating any keyboard shortcuts between the two platforms, but people who are solely Mac users might.

    Normally when I see something like "Sorry Mac users" I just click away. There are plenty of other sites with better coverage for both platforms.

  • angela September 26, 2007 02:50 am

    i'm just begining all this stuff and well do you think you could give me some pointers

  • jab August 27, 2007 07:03 pm

    One of my favorite sites for keyboard shortcuts is keyxl.com.


    They must have hundreds of programs listed.

  • K-OS August 27, 2007 01:00 am

    A company called zCover (zcover.com) makes awesome Photoshop Shortcut keyboard covers... for Mac's anyway (the only computer that matters...lol)

    I had no idea of half of these commands before I got this cover... most of them are simple to remember as they are on the corresponding key of the first letter in the tool... ie .

    C for Crop
    Z for Zoom
    E for Eraser
    H for Hand tool
    B for Brush tool
    L for Lasso tool
    S for clone Stamp

    etc. etc. I would recommend this cover to anyone that uses PS a LOT, it is well worth the $49 CAD...

  • Andy August 15, 2007 11:40 pm

    Oh, also.


    If you have nothing selected, it duplicates the current layer. If you do have something selected, it copies the selection to a new layer and maintains the layer properties of the selection's original layer (blending mode, etc.).

    I use it all the time.

  • Andy August 15, 2007 11:24 pm

    Wow, guys.

    I knew almost all of these beforehand, but somehow I missed every single one of the spacebar-related shortcuts.

    This is going to save me so much time.

  • Zoobie August 15, 2007 06:10 am

    This is a nice looking list..^^

    Thanks a bunch for sharing!

  • Raymond July 29, 2007 04:43 am

    instead of using the zoom tool, just use space + ctrl or space + alt to zoom in and out with the tool without actually switching to the zoom tool.

  • Emad July 28, 2007 11:57 pm

    Excellent list of shortcuts... There are more shortcuts at http://www.kbshortcuts.com/ for photoshop and other applications.


  • Michael July 28, 2007 04:54 pm

    @ Lau

    from the window menu, call up the Actions Panel. In this Panel there is a command to record all the activity you do on an image.

    Search "how to make custom actions in Photoshop" you should find quite a good deal.


  • Michael July 28, 2007 04:52 pm

    I normally use ctrl+shift+alt+E to make a merged copy of all the layers I have selected. This command creates a new layer automatically, so there is no need to make a new one before applying the comand.

    To exit the text-editing mode I use ctrl+enter, a very useful shortcut for laptop users.

    On a side note, while editing text, keeping the ctrl key down will let you move the text while you're typing. You can do it afterwards, it's true, but I find it useful some times and wanted to share it.

    Great post, it's going to be one of my favorites.

    May I translate it in Italian?

  • Lau July 28, 2007 10:36 am

    Great knowing these tips! When I make the frame for my pictures I really loose a lot of time... Someone told me a wile ago that I could record some commands and then replay the recorded process to an entire directory. But I forgot how to record and do this think. I would appreciate if someone could remind me.

  • Brian S. July 27, 2007 12:21 pm

    Also, one thing I forgot on the pen tool: change the fill on the shape layer so that you can see what you're selecting.

  • Brian S. July 27, 2007 12:09 pm

    Some of my favorites not mentioned are:

    It was mentioned that [Ctrl + click] on a layer thumb selects the layer transparency, but when you already have a selection made, holding [ctrl + shift] adds that layer transparency selection to the current selection, [ctrl + alt] subtracts it, while [crtl + shift + alt] intersects it. It changes your cursor to reflect this. This can be very useful when making complex selections from multiple layers.

    Also, while using the marquee tool, you can hold down [shift] to constrain your selection to a perfect square (or circle when in elliptical mode), along with the [alt] for changing your start point to the center. You can even hold them both down and [space] at the same time. Also, once you've made a selection, you can nudge it around using the arrow keys, just like layers.

    When using the pen tool (which is the absolute best for making selections IMO - when you finally get the hang of it, it's indispensable), holding down [alt] while clicking a point you just made converts that point to a hard edge (deletes the trailing handle). You can hold down [ctrl] to move points and handle points around, and add [alt] to that to break the handles. I highly recommend playing around with the pen tool. Once you've made a shape, you can make the shape a selection by holding [ctrl] and clicking on the layer thumb, just like any other layer. It makes nice and smooth anti-aliased selections.

    [alt + ctrl + d] brings up the feather dialog when you have a selection.

    Holding the [shift] key while moving almost anything (moving a layer or selection, moving a vector point with the pen tool, etc.) turns on a snap feature, which allows you to move something in one direction only.

    I'm sure there's more, but that's all I can remember right now.

  • Tom July 26, 2007 01:49 am

    Mikko: you're a genius! Many thanks.

  • Mitch July 25, 2007 11:42 pm

    As many said above, I think the space bar is definitely the most useful "shortcut". I hate it when other design programs don't have a feature like this.

  • toby July 25, 2007 08:59 pm

    First of all, great posts by everyone and a great article. Here are some additional shortcuts I use.

    Ctrl + Alt + E merges all selected layers onto their own new merged layer without getting rid of your existing layers.

    Andy, I'm not sure why you wanted to define [ctrl + alt + shift + c] as a crop tool shortcut since just pressing the letter 'c' is already the default shortcut for that tool.

    Also, Jayhan, [ctrl + clicking the layer thumbnail] gives you a selection of all non transparent pixels in that layer, maybe that's what you meant by 'get to the layer transparency?'.

    Like Sparky's [ctrl + Q] command for cropping to selection, some time ago, I too created a custom shortcut for that same action: [ctrl + /] is mine. It's nice to see someone else who needed a shortcut for that feature.

    Another custom shortcut I created is for when you wish to straighten an image using the ruler tool. After you draw a line with the ruler tool, I press [ctrl + alt + shift + A] to bring up the 'rotate canvas (arbitrary)' dialogue box with the roation angle already calculated by photoshop. This makes straightening an image a snap.

    I also often use:
    [ctrl + s] to 'save'
    [ctrl + shift + s] to 'save as'
    [ctrl + shift + alt + s] to 'save for web'

    My most frequent (by far) shortcuts are the tool shortcuts which have been mentioned already B,V,E,C,P,A...etc. Make sure that on your photoshop preferences (ctrl k to get to this dialogue box) you have 'use shift key for tool switch' DESELECTED to enable these shortcuts without having to also press the ctrl key. I also use my scroll wheel on my mouse to zoom rather than using the zoom tool. You also must enable this feature in the PS preferences dialogue.

    Also holding down the spacebar while drawing a marquee selection allows you to move the marquee selection around the screen while you are still drawing it.

  • ken July 25, 2007 06:53 pm

    One of the most useful keyboard shortcuts (and one of the least known, in my experience) is Space Bar during a marquee selection. Don't worry if you didn't get the first pixel right, with space held you can move the STARTING POINT of your selection.

  • Mikko Tikkanen July 25, 2007 06:37 pm

    Btw, surprise surprise the certain poster above doesn't have any kind of contact information mentioned (in this case, his website).. Oh well, guess that's the basic first-time-drunk angry teenager strategy when they go barking around. Guess you can't win every time.


  • Mikko Tikkanen July 25, 2007 05:25 pm

    Tom, try keypad enter.


  • You are all lame July 25, 2007 09:54 am

    Thank you, you 1.0 noob. I feel like "Maddoxing-out" on you right now but I don't have the energy. Please learn faster you digital photography wonk noob. If people actually go to your school and think they're competent, then they are bigger morons than you.

  • Aaron July 25, 2007 08:31 am

    I meant CTRL+ALT+RIGHT CLICKon the graphic and you’re taken to that layer.

  • Aaron July 25, 2007 08:27 am

    When working with multiple layers, CTRL+ALT+LEFT CLICK on the graphic and you're taken to that layer. Or, right click on the graphic with the move tool and you'll get list of every layer under your cursor.

  • chi July 25, 2007 01:33 am

    and i guess finally

    ctrl + f4 to shut down photoshop then
    ctrl + f4, then S to put your computer into standby


  • Tom July 25, 2007 12:36 am

    Very useful, thanks. One shortcut I'd love to have: when editing text, is there a keyboard shortcut to jump *out* of text-editing mode and back to the caret? I hate having to click on another tool just to leave text editing mode.

    Ctrl-S (Save) will do this, but it can be slow when working with big images.

  • gellpak July 25, 2007 12:19 am

    To add to the selection shortcuts a couple posts up:

    When initially drawing a selection, you can use alt to center the selection on your start point. i.e. when normally if you started in the center and dragged to the right edge, the selection would stretch from the center to the edge, with alt it will expand in the other directions as well. Very nice for centering your selections on objects such as eyes and whatnot. You can also move the selection while still drawing it by holding space (mentioned above).

  • Travis Nelson July 24, 2007 11:59 pm

    Nice tips, I learned a few. I'm a keyboard shortcut lover for sure.

    One of my favorites is V to select the move tool, and then Ctrl+LeftClick to select a layer. This is an alternate option to the "automatically select layer" option for the move tool. This has to be done with the move tool though, even though most tools switch to it when holding Ctrl.

    (well, not really my favorite per se, but about the only one I didn't see mentioned in the article or comments, unless I missed it. =)

  • zeb00 July 24, 2007 10:30 pm

    actually the most important shortcut is: Ctrl + S.


  • Mikko Tikkanen July 24, 2007 10:06 pm

    Uhm. Selection can also be moved just by making it and then grabbing it with the same selection tool.. ;) (But yeah, that'll come handy time to time when you have to make pixel perfect selections. Thanks. :)

    My personal favorite shotcuts (not mentioning the most obvious ones):
    M - Marquee
    V - Move
    A - Selection tools (for path editing)
    T - Text
    B - Brush
    S - Stamp tool
    Q - Quick mask
    Z - Zoom tool
    X - Swap foreground & background color
    Spacebar - Pan
    F - Toggle fullscreen
    TAB - Toggle the panel visibilities
    CTRL + 0 - Fit to screen
    CTRL + ALT + 0 - Actual pixels (1:1)
    CTRL + keypad +/- - Zoom in/out
    CTRL + SHIFT + I - Invert selection
    CTRL + D - Deselect
    CTRL + H - Show/hide extras
    CTRL + R - Toggle rulers
    CTRL + T - Free transform
    ALT + Backspace - Fill with foreground color
    CTRL + Backspace - Fill with background color
    CTRL + E - Merge down
    CTRL + G - Group layers
    CTRL + I (while layer mask selected) - Invert layer mask

    Move tool + ALT - Copies selection/layer

    0-9 while layer selected - Modifies the layer opacity (as with tools)

    Personally I do slicing for web at ImageReady (CS2) which handles it smoother than PS.

    Where as zooming, I found myself nowadays preferring the zoom tool which allows me to zoom directly to the part I want to concentrate and then zoom quickly out with CTRL+SHIFT+keypad 0 or CTRL+keypad 0.

    I guess that's it. Turned out to be quite long of a list but living without those shortcuts would be pain-in-the-backside for me. :)


  • Andy Beeching July 24, 2007 07:34 pm

    Couple of extra bits I use a lot,

    I've defined ctl + alt + shift + c for the crop tool which speeds up slicing of comps for the web, ctrl + alt + shift + s is the Save for Web shortcut, and for quick zooming for a particular area (useful to go down to pixel level for precision cropping), then use space + ctrl and simply draw a selection on the canvas. The image will zoom in automagically.

    Final tips are learn the selection shortcuts, holding space whilst drawing a selection allows you to move it, shift constrains the shape (i.e. a perfect square or circle). It also allows you to add to an existing selection. Alt lets you remove parts of a selection.

    Nice post,


  • beo July 24, 2007 07:30 pm

    Why doesn´t anyone use mouse scroll wheel for zooming? I think that´s much faster than any of those keyboard shortcuts..

  • Andreas July 24, 2007 07:22 pm

    Cool. Very helpful.
    I usually use CTRL+T to resize images.

  • Matty July 24, 2007 06:07 pm

    Don't forget Ctrl + Shift + Alt + S to save for web :) Also Ctrl + D to deselect.

  • johnny July 24, 2007 05:53 pm

    Great work Brian. I use Photoshop every day but I still found out a few new shortcuts. One of my favorite shortcuts is CTRL + T. This is used to scale and rotate a picture manually. It is quite useful when trying to put together more pictures or rotating them and it is much easier then guessing how much a 35 degree rotation will move your picture. :-)
    I also use "G" for the bucket/ gradient tool and "L" for the Magnetic Lasso which is great for cutting stuff out from your pictures. :-)

  • James July 24, 2007 05:04 pm

    one pretty simple shortcut not mentioned is the caps lock key for toggling the crosshairs and brush outline when using the paint brush. Real handy for making precise touch ups on the fly.

  • jayhan July 24, 2007 04:17 pm

    Those are common useful shortcuts, thanks. there is more i want to share:

    as mention earlier, the spacebar + mouse drag. Another one is shift+tool shortcut. For example if i wan to do white to transparent gradient, i would hit D (default) color, then X, switch to white, the G and Shift G to get the gradient tool.

    and ctrl+A to select all, Ctrl+click on layer thumb to get the layer transparency.

    These are some shortcuts i used normally.

  • Free Nature Photography Wallpaper July 24, 2007 03:40 pm

    very nice and useful! thank you!

  • Jack July 24, 2007 03:19 pm

    don't forget the f-key

    cycles through the different full-screen display modes. Useful for viewing your work without the canvas, as well as editing things near the edge of the canvas

  • Sparky July 24, 2007 02:36 pm

    As I read I was going to post about the spacebar shortcuts but I see that has been well-covered in the comments. It's essential and I use it all the time.

    One custom shortcut that I've built that I use all the time is Ctrl+Q for cropping to selection. Saves me a ton of time, but you have to remember to set it up on a new install of PS or it will... close the program. Urgh!

  • shroticg July 24, 2007 02:02 pm

    a very useful idea which otherwise go unnoticed by hundred of photoshoppers. main thing is saving the time and electricity.

  • Jonic July 24, 2007 01:43 pm

    Great article :)

    I use Photoshop to create graphics for websites, so I spend a great deal of time in the program. Over the past few years I've taught myself to rely on quite a few keyboard shortcuts to help make my life (and my job) a whole lot easier. Here are some of the shortcuts that I use on a day-to-day basis (there's quite a few, so I apologise if the list is too long!)

    X - Switches colors in foreground/background
    D - Resets colors to Black (fore) and White (back)
    V - Pointer
    T - Text
    Ctrl + Shift + Alt - Save for web
    Ctrl + E - Merge Down
    G - Gradient
    M - Marquee
    Ctrl + ';' - Shows/hides extras (guides, slices, grid etc)
    Ctrl + Shift + ';' - Activates/Deactivates snap

    And possibly the most useful: Ctrl + plus/minus which zooms in and out over set defaults. Very useful, as others have noted :)

    It's also worth mentioning that if the appropriate setting is checked in the options (as it is by default), then holding Shift while hitting any of the single keys I listed above will cycle through the different modes for each tool. For example, hitting Shift and G while in Gradient mode will switch to Fill mode, and vice versa.

    There are still dozens (if not a couple hundred) shortcuts that I still don't know, so I've got a long way to go before I've got full control. Thanks for teaching me a few I hadn't picked up on yet :)

  • won July 24, 2007 12:57 pm

    "F"to toggle fullscreen (with gray background and visible menubar on a Mac, not sure what that includes on a Windows machine), "F" again to toggle fullscreen with black background and no menubar and "F" a third time to return to the original windowed mode.

    "M" for the marquee tool (to make selections), Shift-M to toggle between rectangular and elliptical selections. Further, hold down Shift to constrain selections to a square or circle before/while/after dragging. Press Command-D (presumably Control-D in Windows) to deselect.

  • skinny01 July 24, 2007 12:04 pm

    Here's one that helps when you're doing some fine-tuning. Do ctrl-h to hide the "marching ants" of a selection so you can see better. Works in illustrator also to hide the alternate-color outline of a selection. Be careful that you know this command because you can hit it by accident in illustrator when you're grouping (ctrl-g). If you don't know it, you may be wondering why you can't select anything anymore! You can, you just can't see that it's selected.

  • Bob Dobbs July 24, 2007 12:04 pm

    To elaborate on the Space Bar short cuts...

    Not only can the space bar be toggled for use as the hand tool (hold space), but SPACE + CMD toggles the zoom tool, and SPACE + CMD + OPT toggles the zoom-out tool.

    Using these shortcuts I pretty much never need to use Z or H (Hand and Zoom tools).

  • Sharon July 24, 2007 10:39 am

    Some great shortcuts - thanks. In addition to the ones that have already been mentioned in the comments, I also use Ctrl-E to merge down and Ctrl-G to group a layer with the one below it (I am an Elements user so that is how I access masks).

  • Brian Auer July 24, 2007 08:03 am

    It sounds like there are quite a few Photoshop savvy photographers out there. Thanks for adding the additional keyboard commands! I might have to get in the habit of using the spacebar shortcut -- I don't know why I never got hooked on that one.

  • Rogerio July 24, 2007 07:32 am

    Remember also that many of these shortcuts work for other Adobe products as well. In Acrobat Reader I particularly like to use the spacebar to move the page around; ctrl+spacebar to zoom-in and ctrl+alt+spacebar to zoom-out; ctrl+0 for fit-to-screen and ctrl+shift+0 for 100% zoom.

  • a.saliga July 24, 2007 06:59 am

    Keyboard shortcuts are the best. I find it hard to remember what program or platform I'm on at times. As a student I'm learning Photoshop, After Effects, Flash, DVD Studio Pro, Director, and Avid...it gets confusing. But keyboard shortcuts are essential in my field for efficiency.

    To add to the Photoshop ones though...

    Control+spacebar - temporarily brings up the zoom tool (add the ALT modifier to zoom out

    Also, one that works for Windows only is double clicking the background within Photoshop (not an open image) to bring up the "Open" dialog box.

    Some others that I use often are "Control+D" to deselect, "D" to set the foreground and background colors to their default, and "X" to swap the foreground and background colors.

  • Andrew Ferguson July 24, 2007 06:55 am

    Wow! Excellent roundup Brian! Now to print this and put it up next to my monitor so I'll remember.

    I wind up using my mouse for everything in Photoshop because I keep forgetting which keyboard shortcuts I'm supposed to be memorizing.

    The spacebar shortcut in the comments sounds really useful as well.

  • CP July 24, 2007 06:00 am

    I don't ever use the zoom tool, myself -- I just use Ctrl+ or Ctrl- to zoom in or out of the image I'm working with.

  • Amanda July 24, 2007 03:09 am

    You forgot a few more useful ones...

    X - switches your forground and background color

    CMD (or ctrl on pc) + J creates a new layer from the layer you have selected.

    CMD + or - zooms in or out.

  • Tasha July 24, 2007 02:51 am

    Thanks for these. I'd love to see more PS tips here, especially info about actions; I've seen some cool cross-processing and bleach bypass actions, and other examples would be great.

  • Visual Photo Guide July 24, 2007 02:44 am

    I agree with Yurik - the spacebar shortcut (for moving the workspace around once you go fullscreen after pressing F) is something that's indispensable once you start using it.

  • Ed Z July 24, 2007 02:05 am

    this is great! I do the bulk of my PP in Lightroom, but for those that need roundtrips to PS, I'm printing this out for reference.

  • Mark Whitaker July 24, 2007 01:41 am

    My personal favourite is Ctrl+Alt+Z which keeps undoing right up the history list (like Ctrl+Z in most other apps). In Photoshop, pressing Ctrl+Z repeatedly just toggles between undoing and redoing the most recent action. Grrr. :-)

  • Yurik July 24, 2007 01:15 am

    I think a very useful shortcut is the spacebar, which, when you hold, temporarily brings up the hand tool, and when you release the spacebar key, goes back to the last tool you were using.

    Just hold down the spacebar key when you need to move around the picture instead of switching to the hand tool and then back to your previous tool.