There are two phases to mastering Photoshop. The first is to learn how Photoshop works – knowing what tool to use to solve a particular problem. The second is all about working faster and more efficiently – knowing how to quickly call upon the tools and functions you use most often.
Keyboard shortcuts can help you work faster and more efficiently than ever. Whether you’re tapping B to grab your trusty Brush Tool or doing something more complex, like creating a Clipping Mask with CMD + OPTN + G (MAC) or CTRL + ALT + G (PC), we’ll show you how to make the most out of using your keyboard.
In this tutorial, you will learn how to create custom keyboard shortcuts to help you speed up your workflow and break down the barriers between software and your creativity.
Not every tool or feature in Photoshop needs a keyboard shortcut (although many of them have one by default.) Knowing what shortcuts you need to know and when you should create your own will come once you’re comfortable with Photoshop and have established your own editing routine (or as the pros call it, a workflow).
You should create a shortcut whenever you notice that there is a tool or technique you use often, that you find yourself click-click-clicking away to find in a menu. In our example, Aaron creates a keyboard shortcut that will apply a Gaussian Blur to a layer. Gaussian Blur does not come with a keyboard shortcut by default and it’s a tool you might find yourself using often to evenly blend color and lighting effects.
How to Create a Shortcut
To create a shortcut, click on the Edit menu and then select Keyboard Shortcuts near the bottom of the list. The list of available keyboard shortcuts is organized by the options that are in the top menu bar of Photoshop.
Using our Gaussian Blur example, the Gaussian Blur option is located under the Filter menu, within the Blur section. If you follow that path within the keyboard shortcut editor, you’ll notice that there is no assigned shortcut to this command.
To add a custom command, simply click on the empty space under the Shortcut column. Now press the keys that you want to assign to this function. If you choose a shortcut that is already assigned to something else, you’ll see a warning down below. We recommend using a combination of SHIFT + OPTN + CMD or SHIFT + ALT + CTRL plus any letter you want. Using a four key combination will be less likely to conflict with any existing shortcuts.
Before you go making your own shortcuts, be sure to looks at all of the existing shortcuts that are available in Photoshop. Your favorite tools might already be a quick keystroke away!