Adobe Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts 101: The Most Useful Commands
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You can always tell a Photoshop pro 10 Must-Know Introductory Photoshop Skills for Beginner Photographers 10 Must-Know Introductory Photoshop Skills for Beginner Photographers In this guide, we take a look at some Photoshop features you can dive straight into, even if you have little or no previous photo editing experience. Read More by how little they touch their mouse. You may know everything there is to know about Photoshop’s UI. Yet, if you’re not at least a bit familiar with the hundreds of keyboard command sitting just beyond your fingertips, you’ll always fall short.

Until now, that is. The following is a list of Photoshop keyboard commands you absolutely, positively have to know. No one’s saying you have to memorize them all, mind you. Practice regularly and you’ll learn them faster. And bookmark this page so you can always come back quickly!

While I don’t claim to know all of the Photoshop keyboard shortcuts, there are some I just can’t live without. Here they are:

Basic Command Shortcuts

Basic commands allow users to fix simple mistakes quickly.

Ctrl + Z: Undo a single action within your project.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Ctrl + Alt + Z: Undo multiple actions within your project.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

UI Command Shortcuts

User interface (UI) commands affect Photoshop’s interface and window listing.

Tab: Removes all dialog boxes from your Photoshop window. You can also toggle between different screen sizes by pressing the F key.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Right-click [workspace background]: Change the default workspace background. Right-click the background and select one of the options that follow (Dark Gray is the default).

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Alt + Reset: In a dialog window, holding Alt will change your Cancel option to a Reset option. Click on the Reset option to reset any changes you have made within the window.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Shift + Tool Hotkey: To quickly select tools and tool sub-menu items, hold Shift and press a tool’s hotkey. Not sure what that means? Check out our Photoshop tool hotkeys cheatsheet.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Ctrl + Scroll [mouse wheel]: Use this command to shift the art board. Ctrl + scroll up will shift your art board right while Ctrl + scroll down will shift it left.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Ctrl + Tab: This command cycles through tabs from left to right. To cycle right-to-left, press Ctrl + Shift + Tab. It’s just like moving between tabs in your browser.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Brush Command Shortcuts

Brush commands allow users to modify various brush aspects quickly.

Don’t forget that you can create your own Photoshop brushes A Beginners Guide to Creating Custom Brushes in Photoshop A Beginners Guide to Creating Custom Brushes in Photoshop Adobe Photoshop brushes are a handy way to add interest to your designs, and just as you can create your own custom patterns, you can just as easily design and create your own brushes. Read More too for maximum cutomizability!

[ or ]: Shrinks or enlarges brush size.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

{ or }: Increases or decreases brush hardness.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Caps Lock: Using this command will change your brush’s cursor from a brush preview to a crosshair.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Color Command Shortcuts

Color commands allow users to implement colors into their artwork using their keyboards.

D: Sets foreground and background colors to default (black and white).

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Alt + Backspace: Fills selections or a layer with foreground color.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Ctrl + Backspace: Fills selections or a layer with background color.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

X: Switch between foreground and background colors.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Layer Command Shortcuts

Layering is one of the most important — if not the most important — aspect of Photoshop. Which is why these Photoshop keyboard shortcuts are some of the most useful.

Number keys (1, 2, 3…): Selecting a particular layer and pressing a number button will automatically adjust the opacity of that layer (“1” = 10% opacity, “2” = 20%, “3” = 30%, and so on).

Quickly selecting two numbers will change a layer’s opacity to the percentage pressed (3 and 4 will give an opacity of 34%).

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Shift + Click [Layers panel]: To select multiple layers in your Layers panel, select a single layer, hold the Shift key, and select another layer. This command will select all layers in between the first and second layers selected.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Ctrl + Click [Layers panel]: To select more than one layer in your Layers panel, press and hold the Ctrl key while clicking individual layers.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Ctrl + J [Layers panel]: To duplicate a layer in your Layers panel, select the layer and press Ctrl + J on your keyboard.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Ctrl + New Layer [Layers panel]: Hold Ctrl and click on your New Layer button to add a new layer underneath the currently selected layer. To add a new layer above the currently selected layer, hold Shift and click on your New Layer button.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E: Copy and paste all visible elements on your art board into a new layer.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Ctrl + Thumbnail Click [Layers panel]: To select a layer’s borders automatically, hold Ctrl and click on a layer’s thumbnail in your Layers Panel.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Shift + “+” or “-” [Layers panel]: Toggles through Blending Options in your Layers Panel.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Transform Command Shortcuts

The transform tool allows users to resize and skew layers at will.

Ctrl + T: Selects your layer image and allows you to resize your image. To distort instead of resize, hold Ctrl after your image has been selected and drag the encircling square markers.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Alt + Shift + Drag: Resize an image while centered.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Shift + Drag [Transform tool]: Resize image with preserved size ratio.

essential adobe photoshop keyboard shortcuts

Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts Give You the Power

Practice these Photoshop keyboard shortcuts once, then again, then again. That’s the only way you’ll remember them all (and start your journey from Photoshop beginner Learn Photo Editing in Photoshop: Get the Basics Down in 1 Hour Learn Photo Editing in Photoshop: Get the Basics Down in 1 Hour Photoshop is an intimidating program—but with just one hour, you can learn all of the basics. Grab a photo you want to edit, and let's get started! Read More to expert). This is just a small selection of the available shortcuts — check the official Adobe keyboard shortcut repository if you don’t believe me.

The best thing about working through these commands, though: because Adobe software works in tandem with one another, you’ll be able to use most of these keyboard commands (where they apply) with other Adobe software.

There’s no limit to what you can do with Photoshop What Can You Actually Do With Adobe Photoshop? What Can You Actually Do With Adobe Photoshop? Photoshop can now do a lot more than just edit photos; some of the tools from programs like Illustrator have made their way into the software and vice versa. Read More . Even if you’ve mastered tutorial upon tutorial, learning your way around Photoshop’s keyboard commands will save you time. Better yet, it’ll save you the effort maneuvering about Photoshop’s cavernous UI. Try these out, and give your mouse a break!

Which Photoshop keyboard shortcuts do you use most often? Let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: Yaruta/Depositphotos

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