tutorials

63 Photoshop Shortcuts to Speed Up Your Workflow

63 Photoshop shortcuts to speed up your workflow

These shortcuts include layering, text, viewing and image handling.

When working in Photoshop, simple tasks can become a hindrance to your workflow. So to help out, we’ve got a great selection of Photoshop shortcuts right here, all guaranteed to speed up your workflow once you get the hang of them.

We’ve also got free Photoshop actions to create stunning effects and some brilliant Photoshop tutorials to help you put them into practise.

Whether you want to change the size of your text, deselect a layer or merge a series of layers – we’ve got it covered! There are also some handy hints for brushes, saving and closing, and viewing options. So if you’re using an old version of CS or the latest Creative Cloud, these shortcuts will speed up your workflow.

Layers

Manipulating and arranging layers is simple with these great shortcuts!

Create New layer

  • MAC: Shift+Cmd+N
  • WINDOWS: Shift+Ctrl+N

Get started on your latest project in next to no time with this handy shortcut that instantly whips up a new layer and dialog box.

Create new layer behind selected layer

  • MAC: Ctrl+New Layer icon
  • WINDOWS: Cmd+New Layer Icon

Mastering the new layer shortcut is a doddle, so once your ready to drop in a layer behind it, be sure to use this shortcut.

Fill a layer

  • MAC: Alt+Backspace (foreground) or Cmd+Backspace (background)
  • WINDOWS: Alt+Delete (foreground) or Ctrl+Delete (background)

This command will fill an empty later with the current foreground or background colour.

Flatten layers

  • MAC: Cmd+Alt+Shift+E
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E

Add a new, empty layer to the top of your stack, select it and use the above command to flatten the layers in an image to sharpen the result. This adds a flattened version of the image to the new layer but leaves the layers intact too.

Merge visible layers

  • MAC: Cmd+Shift+E
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Shift+E

This command will allow you merge all your existing layers in order to create one new layer. Beware! Once merged, they are extremely difficult to seperate.

Stamp down selected layers

  • MAC: Cmd+Alt+E
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Alt+E

Once you’ve selected your layers, use this command to merge them into just one layer. To see them merged as a new layer, simply add in the Shift modifier. This is useful if you need to make adjustments later on.

New layer via copy

  • MAC: Cmd+J
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+J

Use this command to create a new layer from an existing one. Sound complicated? Give it a go!

New layer via cut

  • MAC: Cmd+Shift+J
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Shift+J

Like creating a new layer via copy, this command will create a new layer with the selected image area in it, the only difference via cut is that it will remove the selected image portion from the original image.

Bring layer to top of stack

  • MAC: Cmd+Shift+]
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Shift+]

Here, you can move your preferred layer to the top of the stack of images you’re working with in Photoshop.

Send layer to bottom of stack

  • MAC: Cmd+Shift+[
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Shift+[

This is plenty self-explanatory in that it does exactly the same as the command above but in the opposite direction.

Bring layer forward

  • MAC: Cmd+]
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+]

This will allow you to bring any selected image to the front.

Send layer back

  • MAC: Cmd+[
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+[

If you decide to change your mind, you can always select the image and send it to the back of the pile!

Copy multiple layers

  • MAC: Shift+Cmd+C
  • WINDOWS: Shift+Ctrl+C

Draw a selection, then use this command to take every layer into the clippig, rather than just the current layer selection.

Selecting

Adding, subtracting, inverting! Getting selections right has never been easier.

Reselect

  • MAC: Cmd+Shift+D
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Shift+D

This is a great command for any of you that accidentally click away from a section. Pressing these buttons will have that section reselected in no time.

Invert selection

  • MAC: Cmd+Shift+I
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Shift+I

Select objects around an already pre-selected image. This way, you’ll be able to work around your main focus without losing it!

Select all layers

  • MAC: Cmd+Opt+A
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Alt+A

A perfect command for those times when you need to get everything in sync.

Select bottom layer

  • MAC: Opt+Comma(,)
  • WINDOWS: Alt+Comma(,)

This will select the bottom layer in the layers panel.

Select top layer

  • MAC: Opt+Period(.)
  • WINDOWS: Alt+Period(.)

This will select the top layer in the layers panel.

Deselect from the selection area

  • MAC: Opt+drag
  • WINDOWS: Alt+drag

If you need to deselect a certain area sharpish, then hit these keys.

Deselect all but the intersected area

  • MAC: Shift+Opt+drag
  • WINDOWS: Shift+Alt+drag

If you don’t want to deselect an area, you can use this shortcut to ensure you’re clicking on what you want.

Deselect the entire image

  • MAC: Cmd+D
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+D

If you need to get away from the image, use this shortcut to deselect anything that you’ve clicked on.

Find the sizing handles

  • MAC: Cmd+T, Cmd+0
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+T, then Ctrl+0

When pasting a layer or selection into a Photoshop image and it’s bigger than the current image, it can be difficult to find the sizing handles. This command selects Transform and sizes the image inside the window so you can see the sizing handles.

Move a selection

  • MAC: Spacebar+Marquee Tool
  • WINDOWS: Spacebar+Marquee Tool

Want to move a selection easily? Simple press and hold the Spacebar and continue to do so until the selection is in the correct place.

Select individual channels

  • MAC: Cmd+3(red),4(green),5(blue)
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+3(red),4(green),5(blue)

Selecting with Photoshop Channels makes removing a complex object from the background much easier than with other tools. And using this shortcut makes it even simpler.

Select a colour from an image

  • MAC: Opt+Brush Tool
  • WINDOWS: Alt+Brush Tool

When working with a Photoshop brush, if you want to sample a colour from an image, instead of clicking the Eyedropper tool, simply hold the Alt or Option key to switch temporarily. Then let go to return to the Brush tool.

Brushes/filling

Play with brush sizes and more with these great tips!

Increase/decrease brush size

  • MAC: ]/[
  • WINDOWS: ]/[

Getting your brush size just right is one of the most important aspects of Photoshop. Do it with this command.

Fill

  • MAC: Shift+F5
  • WINDOWS: Shift+F5

Whether you want to fill the selection with the foreground colour or with a selected pattern, use this shortcut to get the job done quickly.

Increase/decrease brush hardness

  • MAC: }/{
  • WINDOWS: }/{

Brush hardness is just as important, so get it right with this shortcut.

Previous/next brush

  • MAC: ,/.
  • WINDOWS: ,/.

Save time and distractions by using these simple commands to swiftly move through the various brushes on offer.

First/last brush

  • MAC: </>
  • WINDOWS: </>

If you don’t want to have go through the entire array of Brushes on offer, hit these commands to go back to the start or end.

Toggle airbrush option

  • MAC: Shift+Alt+P
  • WINDOWS: Shift+Alt+P

Simulate spraying painting with Photoshop’s airbrush tool using this helpful shortcut.

Saving and closing.

You’ll save most things. So these should come in handy.

Save for web & devices

Pretty self-explanatory but if you prefer not to drag your mouse onto a number of options, use this shortcut on your keyboard.

  • MAC: Cmd+Shift+Opt+S
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Shift+Alt+S

Close & go to bridge

As the name implies, this will close your document and then open up Adobe Bridge where you can select the next file you wish to work on.

  • MAC: Cmd+Shift+W
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Shift+W

Working with your images

We love Clipping Masks. Does that make us weird? DOES IT?! OK. Fair enough.

Levels

  • MAC: Command+L
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+L

When editing your images, you’ll be using the levels box regularly. Save yourself some time with this Photoshop shortcut.

Free Transform

  • MAC: Cmd+T
  • WINDOWS: Cmd+T

This command opens the free transform tool for resizing, rotating, and skewing the image using a draggable outline.

Curves

  • MAC: Cmd+M
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+M

This will allow you to quickly edit the Curves on your image.

Colour Balance

  • MAC: Cmd+B
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+B

This is a perfect Photoshop shortcut to edit the Colour Balance of your images.

Hue/Saturation

  • MAC: Cmd+U
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+U

These two powerful Photoshop tools will aid you in the colour balance battle, and will decrease the amount of crossover.

Desaturate

  • MAC: Cmd+Shift+U
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Shift+U

Convert your colour image to grayscale values, leaving the image in the same colour mode.

Quick image fixes

Auto Tone

  • MAC: Shift+Cmd+L
  • WINDOWS: Shift+Ctrl+L

Auto Contrast

  • MAC: Opt+Shift+Cmd+L
  • WINDOWS: Alt+Shift+Ctrl+L

Auto Color

  • MAC: Shift+Cmd+B
  • WINDOWS: Shift+Ctrl+B

After a quick fix for a photo? While they’re not reliable cure-alls, these tools are usually worth a go for automatically improving your images.

Lens correction

  • MAC: Shift+Cmd+R
  • WINDOWS: Shift+Ctrl+R

The camera always lies, particularly where lens distortion is involved. Use the lens correction filter to reduce the effect of barrel distortion, pincushion distortion and vignetting.

Adaptive Wide Angle

  • MAC: Opt+Shift+Cmd+A
  • WINDOWS: Opt+Shift+Ctrl+A

Wide angle lenses can bring their own particular distortions, and Photoshop has a filter for this. The Adaptive Wide Angle filter can quickly straighten lines that appear curved in panoramas, or photos taken with fish-eye and wide angle lenses.

Camera Raw Filter

  • MAC: Shift+Cmd+A
  • WINDOWS: Shift+Ctrl+A

With older versions of Photoshop you have to run Adobe Camera Raw as a separate program, but in Photoshop CC it’s available as a filter, enabling you to non-destructively apply sophisticated adjustments to any image type.

Content aware scale

  • MAC: Cmd+Shift+Opt+C
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Shift+Alt+C

Scale your image to your preferred state with this super quick shortcut.

Content-Aware Move

  • MAC & WINDOWS: Shift+J

The latest content-aware tool in Photoshop CC enables you to move objects around in a photograph, and it’ll intelligently fill in the gaps where they used to be.

Create clipping mask

  • MAC: Cmd+Opt+G
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Alt+G

A great way to keep shadows and shading where they belong, the clipping mask tool is a basic but useful tool.

Blending modes

  • MAC: Shift+plus(+) or minus(-)
  • WINDOWS: Shift+plus(+) or minus(-)

Photoshop has a variety of blending modes to create cool effects. Use this command to cycle through each.

Black and white dialog box

  • MAC: Shift+Cmd+Alt+B
  • WINDOWS: Shift+Ctrl+Alt+B

Speed up the process of converting colour photos to black and white with this shortcut, which opens the black and white adjustment dialog box.

Change image size

  • MAC: Cmd+Opt+i
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Alt+i

Set up your image sizes with ease with this quick and simple shortcut.

Next page: more Photoshop shortcuts.

3D work

Show/Hide Polygons

Within Selection

  • MAC: Opt+Cmd+X
  • WINDOWS: Opt+Ctrl+X

Reveal All

  • MAC: Opt+Shift+Cmd+X
  • WINDOWS: Opt+Shift+Ctrl+X

If you’re working with 3D assets, use this option to view the polygons that make up your 3D models.

Render

  • MAC: Opt+Shift+Cmd+R
  • WINDOWS: Opt+Shift+Ctrl+R

Once you’re happy with your 3D model, use this option to create a final render and create the highest quality version for output to web, print, or animation.

Viewing

Just how sharp is that pic of a knight? Only one way to tell: COMMAND/OPTION/ZERO, baby!

View actual pixels

  • MAC: Cmd+Opt+0
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Alt+0

Viewing an image in Photoshop in actual pixels gives you the chance to see each pixel individually – ensuring your work is perfect.

Fit on screen

  • MAC: Cmd+0
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+0

A great way to view your work in all its glory on screen.

Zoom in

  • MAC: Cmd+plus(+)
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+plus(+)

If you want to get down to the nitty gritty of your image, zoom right in with this shortcut command.

Zoom out

  • MAC: Cmd+Minus()
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Minus()

Get an insight into how your work will look from afar with this zoom out command.

Text in Photoshop

Text options are a pain to find in Photoshop, because everyone uses these!

Increase/decrease size of selected text by 2pts

  • MAC: Cmd+Shift+>/<
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Shift+>/<

Experiment with text in Photoshop by using this command to change its size by 2pts.

Increase/decrease size of selected text by 10pts

  • MAC: Cmd+Option+Shift->/<
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Alt+Shift+>/<

Works the same as the command above but it’s by 10pts this time.

Increase/decrease kerning or tracking

  • MAC: Option+Right/Left Arrow
  • WINDOWS: Alt+Right/Left Arrow

Adjust the space between your text in Photoshop with this handy command.

Align text left/center/right

  • MAC: Cmd-Shift-L/C/R
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Shift+L/C/R

A great way to experiment with the alignment of your text, this shortcut will enable you to do it quickly.

Show/Hide selection on selected type

  • MAC: Ctrl+H
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+H

Speed up selecting elements on type with this easy-to-remember shortcut.

HOW TO CHANGE THE BACKGROUND OF A PICTURE

Background Changing

Image Editing Tutorial

Here’s a common problem: Your subject looks great, but the background, not so great. Never fear, Photoshop is here to save the day and your photos. You can change backgrounds with the handy Quick Selection tool, which enables you to “paint” a selection with a brush, and then as you drag the brush the selection expands and automatically finds and follows the edges of the image. Here’s how you can take out a background and then replace it with something better…

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Step 1

Changing Backgrounds Step 1

The first step is to switch to quick mask mode by pressing Q, and then select the Quick Selection tool by pressing W. In the Option bar, you’ll want to select Subtract From. Then change the tool’s brush tip size in the Options bar by using the Diameter slider or typing in a pixel size. You can always use the right bracket ] to increase the size, or the left bracket [ to decrease the size of the brush tip.

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Step 2

Changing Backgrounds Step 2

You can choose “Sample All Layers” which generates a selection based on all the layers in the stack, instead of the currently selected one. Or choose Auto-Enhance, which reduces the jagged edges of the selection boundary. You can customize the edge refinement in the Refine Edge dialog box, which has options for Smooth, Contrast and Radius.

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Step 3

Changing Backgrounds Step 3

Select the Brush tool in the Toolbox, and then press X to switch the paint output to Black. Since you’re in Quick Mask mode, as you paint the rubylith overlay begins to cover the sky. Make sure that you paint out all the sky (zoom in and reduce the brush size if you need to for fine detail work); you might need to switch back to white paint to add back any portion of the Mask that you might have removed by mistake.

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Step 4

Changing Backgrounds Step 4

Next press Q to exit Quick Mask. You’ll have to invert the selection to finalize the extraction. You do this by pressing Cmd-Shift-I (PC: Control-Shift-I). Now you’re ready to replace the background. So just choose EDIT > CUT on the selection and it’s removed from the image. Now that you’ve cut out the overexposed sky, you need to bring the house to a new layer. So press Cmd-J (PC: Control-J) to copy the Extraction to a new layer, and then you can delete or just hide the original sky.

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Step 5

Changing Backgrounds Step 5

Now here’s where the magic happens. You need to open up your new background, in this case the vivid blue sky. Select the entire image then cut and paste it onto the house image. In the Layer Stack drop the Sky layer beneath the house, and without further ado, the picture has a new background (you can flatten the layer stack at this point to merge the foreground and background). The serious trick at this point is matching the lighting dynamics of the background with the foreground. You’ll need to make all manners of adjustments to make it look seamless.

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Before & After Background Changing

Before Changing the Background of a Digital Image
After Changing the Background of a Digital Image
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Conclusion

Changing backgrounds is not a technique for the faint of heart, because it requires adjusting both the foreground element and the background element. It’s done more often than you think to put people in front of famous backdrops or on solid color backgrounds for editorial photography. It’s useful to know how to do this so you can “create” images and compositions. Think of all the fun you can have.

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