Photoshop 201
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Add Hours to Your Life With Keyboard Shortcuts

Category: Photoshop, Tools, Video
Feb 07

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Make Your Workflow Cheetah Fast

A big part of being a professional photographer is making sure your workflow is as efficient as possible. Even if you’re not a professional, using keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop will drastically shorten the amount of time it takes to edit photos. You can use this time saved to be more creative with your editing, or even join a water polo class.

All of these shortcuts work for PC computers as well! Just use CTRL instead of Command and ALT instead of Option.

List of Keyboard Shortcuts


  • Save As: Cmd Shift S
  • Save for Web: Cmd Shift Alt S
  • Undo: Cmd Z
  • Step back: Cmd Alt Z (lets you keep going back in time)
  • Stamp Visible: Cmd Shift Alt E
  • Hide selection: Cmd H
  • Fullscreen: F


  • Default Colors: D (black and white)
  • Flip Foreground and Background colors: X
  • Rotate View: R (Make sure OpenGL setting is turned on in your preferences)
  • Move around image: (hand Tool) Hold Spacebar


  • Invert: Cmd I
  • Delete Layer: Delete
  • Transform: Cmd T
  • New Layer: Cmd Shift Alt N
  • Duplicate Layer, or if selection is active, Duplicate Selection: Cmd J
  • Transform menu: right click on layer, Cmd T
  • Step and Repeat: Cmd Alt T(first step), Cmd Alt Shift T (second step)
  • Move Layer Up: Cmd ]
  • Move Layer Down: Cmd [
  • Move Layer to Top: Cmd Shift ]
  • Move Layer to Bottom: Cmd Shift [
  • Group Layers: Cmd G

Layer Masks

  • Select: Cmd Click on thumb
  • Temporarily disable: Shift Click on Thumb
  • Show black and white: Alt Click on Thumb
  • Show quick mask display: \
  • Fill with Foreground: Alt Del
  • Fill with BG Color: Cmd Del
  • Fill Dialogue: Shift Del


  • Inverse: Shift Cmd I (for selections)
  • Select All: Cmd A
  • Deselect: Cmd D
  • Select Layer: Cmd Click on Thumb

Tool Commands

  • Brush Opacity: 1-0
  • Brush Flow:Shift + 1-0
  • Brush Larger: ]
  • Brush Smaller: [
  • Brush Harder: Shift ]
  • Brush Softer: Shift [


  • Levels: Cmd L
  • Hue/Sat: Cmd U
  • Curves: Cmd M
  • Darek Szwedo

    I wish you could print them as stickers for the keyboard, I was looking for something like that some time ago but they all look cheap and colour full, but his is just nice and simple

  • Shannon Carr

    Found it challenging sometimes to keep up with on a couple of tutorials.. so I ordered one of these to keep up.. Haven’t received it as of yet but think it will help alot of the peeps..

  • Shannon Carr

    checkout photojojo’s overlays..

  • balint.alovits

    im getting this message after accepting the custom shortcut:

    Could not complete the Keyboard Shortcuts command because the disk is not available.


  • Claude Lee Sadik

    Is there anyway to change to control+option+drag shortcut? I’m left handed and it would be easier for me to use cmd+option+drag ! All I see in the keyboard shortcut pref panel is the [ ] keyboard shortcuts…

  • zhouen

    Don’t forget Cmd/ctrl shift D to reselect your last selection, I use it quite a bit. It’s for situations when some how I manage to lose my section or use the selection again to create another layer mask.

    Now my question is how to delete just the mask from a layer without deleting the layer it self using only keyboard?

  • Simon Walther

    Hey Aaron, you might have already covered this already, but I would really like an episode about the adjustments window. I notice that yours look different than mine, how can I change that?
    Thanks for making another educational video!

    Cheers! :)

  • vikentijs

    Aaron you always make me smile in the end and that is a nice bonus to the amazing work that you do!

    also love the pro tuts and the free ones! it is just amazing! :)

    p.s. one little question – where / how do I can setup a shortcut for a (add layer mask) I cant find under the section > layer > layer mask
    I think I have seen u also using this shortcut but I cant figure it out :(

  • Borut Vozelj

    Go to keyboard shortcuts and find layer -> Layer mask -> reveal all/hide all. Reveal all adds a white and hide all a black layer mask.

    If you can’t remember the shortcuts and want to make your workflow even faster, I recommend using a gaming keyboard with special macro keys (I use Logitech G110, but any other similar keyboard will do). You then assign most used keyboard shortcuts to the special keys. The most used shortcuts are now only a key away :)

    Bonus: I created actions to hide and reveal the current layer and mapped it to special keys. I can now hide and reveal a layer without clicking on that tiny eye icon :)

  • Mariusz

    Hi Aaron.

    I just found this priceless video. I have a question: I can’t find shortcut for changing size and hardness of my brush. Is that shortcut which you present “cmd+alt and moving pointer up or down, right or left” is as develop or you created by yourself? If this is your creation where I need to go to create this for me?


  • Luis Pacheco

    On a pc it is actually alt + right click and drag side to side for size, up and down for hardness

Episode Transcript

Today, I’m going to add hours to your life. Hey guys, welcome to the floor and my name is Aaron Nace. You could find me on Twitter @aknacer. Today I’ve got something really exciting for you. Actually, you might think it’s totally lame but I think it’s really exciting. We’re going to talk about keyboard shortcuts. I’m going to show you guys some of the commonly used ones, and how to make your own and below we got a link to our commonly used keyboard shortcut list.

Why are we doing this? The biggest thing that makes me fast in Photoshop is using keyboard shortcuts. When I watch other people do Photoshop and they’re like hunting and moving all around the screen and things like that, it’s just taking up valuable time. Although it might not seem like it matters a lot, if you can save a few minutes here and a few minutes there eventually, it’s going to add up and you get more time of your life back because you can edit much, much faster. Creating keyboard shortcuts are going to really help that out and especially if you can create custom keyboard shortcuts the things that you do most common in Photoshop.

I’m going to show you guys just a quick example of how I use keyboard shortcuts and then we’re going to talk about how to create some custom ones. Here we are in Photoshop. I don’t have a document open and that’s on purpose because I’m going to create a new one by hitting command N. by the way, anytime I say command, if you guys are on PC, it’s going to be ctrl. If I say option it’s going to alt for you and shift remains the same. Command N creates a new document and then you can just say that looks good and hit okay. For the most part I work on my images with full screen. I like that it take up the entire screen. You can get to that by hitting F. if you’d like to get out of it you can hit shift F or F3 tab.

Let’s go to our full screen mode. If you want to move things around hold down your space-bar and click and move anywhere you want. I’m not even using my [inaudible 0:02:09] today. All of the tools over here on the left also have keyboard shortcuts to get to them. Things like on the top left you have your marquee tool. M is your marquee tool and you can see if you hover over it it’ll say elliptical marquee, there we go, and it’ll have [inaudible 00:02:25] M. If you’d like to go through there are a couple of different marquee tools. If you want to go through those you can hold down the shift key and then hit M, and you could see that it’s flipping through those.

Let’s say L is our lasso tool so you can hit L for there and then hold shift and hit L a couple of times. That’s going to rotate through those. W is the wand tool. V is the move tool. C is the crop tool. J is the healing brush tool. S is the clone stamp tool. B is the brush tool. G is the gradient tool. E is the eraser tool. All these things you can see you can hit a button and if you’re in the middle of working on a document you don’t have to go back over here and work on things. Those are some really big things that are going to help save a lot of time.

Let’s to our brush tool and I’ll talk about a couple of these keyboard shortcuts that are really going to help you save time as well. It’s going to be control and option, if you guys are on a Mac … sorry, it’s going to be control and alt if you guys are on a PC. Just hit those two buttons down and click and if you drag it left to the right it’s going to make your brush either larger or smaller and if you drag up or down it’s going to make your brush harder or softer. It’s some really great ways to control your brush size very easily.

Let’s do a couple of cool things. I’m going to hit M for my marquee tool and I’m going to create a little marquee, and then we’re going to fill this with a color. This is very handy. Filling selected with colors on your layer mask is what I mostly use for. Let’s say you have a layer mask and you want to make everything invisible, you can fill with that either your foreground or background color. Let’s hit the D key on our keyboard. D is going to bring up your default colors which will always be black and white. D for your default colors. Your foreground color will be black, your background color will be white. If I want to fill a selection with my foreground color, you hold down option and hit delete. If I want to fill it with my background color, command and hit delete. Pretty cool, huh?

Let’s just fill the entire thing, option delete, with our foreground color. Then if I want to invert that, which I do very frequently on layer mask, command I, will then invert it. You see, you can do just about anything with a keyboard shortcut instead of going to invert image, adjustments down here, and then you got to look for it. Oh, there it is, command I is to invert, just quite a bit faster. Now, if you guys are not used to using keyboard shortcuts you can find them here. Everything you see will actually have a keyboard shortcut if there already is a keyboard shortcut assigned to it, but we can take that a step further.

Let’s just say filter and blur. Let’s say our Gaussian blur … I created a custom keyboard shortcut for my Gaussian blur because I use it quite frequently. I’ll show you guys how to do that right now. Unless you’ve already done it, you do not have a custom keyboard shortcut for a Gaussian blur. Let’s say I wanted to fill that with a color, I’ll option delete fill with black, command D to deselect and then my keyboard shortcut for my Gaussian blur is shift option command G, which brings up my Gaussian blur and now we can go ahead and blur that. You can see it just saves quite a bit of time. I use blurs all the time and it’s a good way to do it. [Inaudible 00:05:29] will take a step back in time.

I’ll show you guys how to do that same thing. You can create any keyboard shortcut that you’d like. Just go to edit right over here and then go down to where you see keyboard shortcuts, or you can hit shift option command K. There we go. Here are our keyboard shortcuts and they’re really easy to create in Photoshop and make it very easy for you. What we’re going to do we’re going to go ahead and go to the blur. We’re going to go to filter and we could just basically scroll down. You have your blur and then you have your few different blurs and right over here you would see Gaussian blur. Let’s just go ahead and subtract that out. This is basically how it’s going to look on yours if you don’t have one setup.

Let’s say Gaussian blur we want to setup a keyboard shortcut. Literally, all you do is hold down the keys which you need to. Those are going to be the keys that are going to create the keyboard shortcuts. In this case we’re going to hold on shift, option command and hit G and we’ll say accept. Now, our keyboard shortcut for the Gaussian blur is shift option command G. If you have other ones like adaptive right angle, shift command A. I’ve never used that in my life but it’s that one that you want now they’re listed here as well.

Let’s try another one. Let’s just say we’re going to go file and I want to go to … if I want to go to save. Let’s say I don’t even like the keyboard shortcut for save. I want to make it my own. Let’s look over here and I’m going to hit shift command S. What it’s going to tell me is shift command S is already in use and will be removed from file save as, if accepted. You can undo this change. You can, okay it’s already used I don’t want to use it up or you can just say, okay, I’ll accept that and I’ll go to accept the conflict. Now save is shift option command S and then save as can be command S. If you want to switch those around you can totally do that too. I don’t like that, so I’m going to switch it back. Command S, accept to go to conflict and then save as will be shift command S. There we go. Accept that as well. A really great way to add keyboard shortcuts if you’re not already using them.

A couple of them that I add, shift option command G, we already talked about that one. That’s a pretty good one for the Gaussian blur. Let’s just hit cancel there. If I want to … let’s just fill that with white. Shift option command N will create a new layer. That comes loaded by default. Let’s go ahead and fill this. If I do want to crop to a certain area, which I do quite often, I can hold down the command key and click on whatever’s on the layer and then setup the crop. To do that, I don’t have it setup on this computer. I have it setup on the one behind me. Let’s setup crop, what do you say? We’ll go to image and then we’ll go down here to crop and I have that one setup as shift option command C. I believe it’s down here at the bottom. There we go. Shift option command C and it will [inaudible 00:08:27] scale, which is okay because I don’t ever use that. We’re going to say okay. This is selected. Shift option command C will now crop to exactly what you have selected which is very nice. All right, option command Z will undo that.

The high pass filter I have setup. I use that for sharpening quite a bit so that is setup to shift option command H. there we go. We’ve added a high pass filter onto a circle which makes it gray. Very nice. You can use it for sharpening. In this case it really doesn’t do much. Delete will delete the layer you’re currently on so you don’t have to click it and drag it to the trash can. Shift option command N will create a new layer. Delete will create a deleted layer. It won’t create anything, it’s just going to delete your current layer that you have.

That’s it guys. Some of the keyboard shortcuts that I use quite frequently and then how to create them and then down below we have a very simple list of the keyboard shortcuts we used as well as some really cool wallpapers that you guys can put on your computer. If there’s anything that I missed guys, if you have some keyboard shortcuts that you use and love, make sure to leave them in a comment down below. Help everyone out. Help the community. Help the family. Help one another and that’s the end of the episode. Thanks so much guys. I’ll phone you later. Bye everyone.

Photoshop now responds to audible shortcuts as well. When I clap my hands twice it’s going to be the keyboard shortcut to end this episode.

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