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 18 shortcut keys – so you can adjust tools, layers, and more with the press of a button.
Note that we start with simple 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!
Ready to double 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. 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.
4. Select the Brush tool
- The shortcut: The B key
5. 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.
6. 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!
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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%.
10. 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%.
11. 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%).
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
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!
About the author: Brian Auer is a photography enthusiast and the author of the Epic Edits Weblog, which provides photography resources for the aspiring hobbyist.