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Top 10 Photoshop Shortcuts


Top 10 Photoshop Shortcuts Title Post

As you become more familiar with the Photoshop interface, you’ll find that you produce work with greater speed and efficiency. Shortcuts are very useful for streamlining the creative process, so here I have listed my essential Top 10 Photoshop Shortcuts. Im certain these would benefit any Photoshop user not familiar with them. These things are pretty subjective, so feel free to share your own in the comments section below ;)


10. Invert Selection

Hitting Ctrl / Cmd + I when there is an active selection will select the inverse, useful for selectively editing portions of a layer. Also handy: Ctrl / Cmd + Clicking a layer will create a selection based on the layers contents.


9. Group Layers

Life is so much nicer with Layer Groups. To quickly group selected layers, simply hit Ctrl / Cmd + G - this will automatically bring them all into a new Layer Group Folder, which you can rename if you wish. Layer Groups in themselves are excellent time-saving tools; no more hunting for those stray elements hidden in a cluttered layer stack!


8. Merge Down

Ctrl / Cmd + E will merge a layer down. If you have multiple layers selected in the stack (achieved by holding Shift or Ctrl / Cmd + Clicking layers), using Ctrl / Cmd + E will merge all the selected layers.


7. Increase / Decrease Brush Size

This little number is especially helpful when working with layer masks: use the bracket keys [ ] to increase / decrease the brush size. Less time tweaking with dialog settings = faster workflow.


6. Undo / Step Backward

It’s pretty mad but Ive only recently started using this shortcut combo, however it quickly became one of my essential shortcuts. Ctrl / Cmd + Z will undo the last action in Photoshop – Alt, Ctrl / Cmd + Z will step backward through your recent actions. Less time clicking through History states ;)


5. Switch Colours

When working with Layer Masks, this shortcut is a lifesaver – hitting X will cycle between the foreground and background colour.


4. Default Colours

Black and White are used often in Photoshop for a variety of functions. To quickly restore the foreground and background colours to the default of Black and White, simply hit D.


3. Move Tool

All the functions in the tools palette have their own shortcuts, it’s well worth learning the keys for your favourites. The Move Tool is one of the functions that’s used very often, so hitting V to quickly switch to it sure does come in handy ;)


2. Zoom Controls

A perennial favourite and absolute time saver! Use Ctrl / Cmd + (+ or -) to zoom in or out of the document, Ctrl / Cmd + 1 to view the document at actual size and Ctrl / Cmd + 0 to fit the document in the window. If you want to  selectively zoom into a specific area, simply hit Z to switch to the Zoom Tool.


1. Space Bar Panning

My absolute favourite of the bunch. Holding down the Space Bar will activate a temporary Hand Tool, which will allow you to pan the document with the mouse. The benefits of this are multitude. For instance, when zoomed in doing detailed work you can effectively move the document around, not having to fuss with the scroll bars. Sounds simple enough, but can literally save hours in the long run!



Everyone has their favourites, these were a few of mine. I’d love to learn some new time-saving shortcuts, so feel free to share yours in the comments below.

Conzz 8-)

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12 Responses to “Top 10 Photoshop Shortcuts”

  1. phoenixleo says:

    Yep. I use most of these. Very good and useful shortcuts. :)
    Not to mention the save(Ctrl+S) shortcut :D

  2. Irene L says:

    Good stuff! Shortcuts are incredibly efficient. Ctrl+T (Free transform) is one I use frequently, as well as the usual adjustment shortcuts for minor things that don’t need separate layers (Ctrl+L, Ctrl+M, Ctrl+B, Ctrl+U).
    Space bar panning is also something I use all the time, very practical. Another thing I just discovered, and very much needed, is zooming in the middle of a selection. Simple + and -.

  3. Lex says:

    Nice compilation of shortcuts, these are my bread and butter of everyday at work too. I also find myself using cmd+D for undo selections, and on the Merge Layers section, there is also shift+opt+cmd+E (shift+alt+ctrl+E not quite sure of this Windows version). Which merge all of the layers into one (by just selecting the first one on the top, without selecting them individually), in case you need to preview your layered work, without loosing any of the previous layers. Quite useful when working with images that require way too many layers and you need to constantly check how is looking altogether.

  4. Nisha says:

    Thanks for sharing :) very useful for beginners!

  5. Thanks so much for sharing this, very useful!
    I don’t think you mentioned this one but to zoom in/out I ALWAYS use the alt (hold it down) and the scroller of the mouse. Couldn’t work without it :)

    My other favs are Ctrl+T (transform), B ( brush too), E (eraser), Ctrl+Shift+Z (Undo), Ctrl+A (select all) and Ctrl+S, of course (save) ;)

  6. Owen says:

    My favourites apart from your list include using the F key to remove scroll bars meaning I can use the space bar to flick around the screen and get any part of the image including the edges and corners within easy access in the middle of the screen. Also Command ~ (tilda) to flick between open PS files. Sweeet.

  7. Glynn says:

    great list but I prefer for the brush tool the following shortcut -for windows – Control + Alt + Right Mouse -drag left right to decrease/ increase brush size and up/down decrease/ increase brush hardness. and for mac – Control + Option (Mac) – drag left/right in order to decrease/ increase brush size. Control + Option (Mac) – drag up/down to decrease/ increase brush hardness.

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