It’s no secret I love Photoshop. I think it’s the fastest, most powerful way to make stunning graphics for your blog and business.
Yup, I said fastest. How is that possible?
Photoshop shortcuts. There are TONS of them, but you only need a few to become a Photoshop Rockstar Power User (unofficial term, but that should totally be a thing).
These are the Photoshop shortcuts I use the most, and the ones that we use in the tutorials on this blog.
Tips to learn Photoshop shortcuts
1 – Pick just a few to start
Do yourself a favor and DO NOT try to use every Photoshop shortcut I’m about to show you all at the same time during your next project. Your fingers will fall off.
Ok, not really.
But you will have a lot more success if you pick just a couple of Photoshop shortcuts to start with, and add to your toolkit as you get comfortable.
2 – Only learn shortcuts that you’ll use A LOT
There are a lot of Photoshop shortcuts out there. You really only need a few.
Knowing the shortcut to zoom in or out is pretty useful.
Knowing the shortcut to apply a multiply blend mode? Probably not something you’ll use every day. Skip it.
Save that brain space for the Photoshop shortcuts that will actually make life easier.
21 Photoshop Shortcuts
I’ve split these up into three levels:
- Absolutely Essential (start using these today)
- Make Life Easier (making Photoshop your second home)
- Watch Out World (super cool tricks that really come in handy)
Level 1 Photoshop Shortcuts: Absolutely Essential
These are the Photoshop shortcuts I use every single time I open Photoshop. They are so second-nature to me that I don’t even think about them. For example, I use the “save” shortcut so often that anytime I pause for a moment, my fingers automatically hit the right keys to save my work. It’s a fabulous habit because I never lose any work by a crash or forgetting to save.
- Ctrl+S (Windows)
- Cmd+S (Mac)
After you’ve saved your document under a new name, use this to keep saving your work.
Train your fingers to hit these keys after any major changes, or even if you’re just pausing for a moment to evaluate your design.
2. Save as
- Ctrl+Shift+S (Windows)
- Cmd+Shift+S (Mac)
Save your document under a new name.
I love using past projects as a template to make a new project, but I don’t want to overwrite my original design! Use this Photoshop shortcut to save your new project and keep right on working.
3. Save for web
- Ctrl+Shift+Alt+W (Windows)
- Cmd+Shift+Opt+W (Mac)
Save your design as a JPG or PNG for the web.
At first, this Photoshop shortcut will feel like twister for your fingers. And it’s fine if you don’t want to learn this one yet. You can also get here by File > Export > Export As. (Or Save for Web for CS6 users). But the more design work you do, the more this will come in handy.
- Ctrl+Z (Windows)
- Cmd+Z (Mac)
Wish you could undo that last step? There’s a Photoshop shortcut for that. This will let you undo one step. Use it again to redo that step. Helpful if you’re trying to decide if you like a change or not.
5. Undo multiple steps
- Ctrl+Alt+Z (Windows)
- Cmd+Opt+Z (Mac)
Sometimes you need to back up a bit further. Hold down Ctrl/Cmd and Alt/Opt and just keep hitting Z to go back several steps.
6. Select multiple elements at once
- Hold Shift (Windows & Mac)
Click an element like a shape or text box to select it. Hold shift and click several elements to select more than one at a time.
Level 2 Photoshop Shortcuts: Make Life Easer
This level is where things get fun. You’ll go from “Photoshop can do that?” to “I can totally do that in Photoshop.” It’s a powerful switch.
7. Zoom in / Zoom Out
- Ctrl and plus key (+) or minus key (-) (Windows)
- Cmd and plus key (+) or minus key (-) (Mac)
Need a better view of your work? Hold Ctrl / Cmd and press the + and – keys as many times as you need to zoom in or out.
8. Fit project on screen
- Ctrl+0 (zero) (Windows)
- Cmd+0 (zero) (Mac)
If you’ve zoomed in or out and want to reset your view, just use this Photoshop shortcut to fit your entire project inside the screen.
9. Hand tool
- Spacebar (Windows & Mac)
Easily move around your project while zoomed in.
Let’s say you’ve zoomed WAY in to your project and now you want to work in a different area. Just hold the spacebar and your mouse will switch to the Hand tool temporarily. Now just click and drag to start moving your project around.
10. Resize a photo properly
- Shift+drag from the corner (Windows & Mac)
Resize a photo (or shape or text box) without skewing the proportions.
Need to make a photo or other element larger or smaller? If you’re not careful, you will squish or stretch that thing into unrecognizable oblivion. Not a good look. To keep the proportions intact, hold shift while dragging from the corner.
NOTE: In Adobe Creative Cloud Photoshop, you no longer need to hold shift while resizing.
11. Draw a perfect square or circle
- Shift+drag while drawing a shape (Windows & Mac)
You can use the rectangle or ellipses tools, but wish there were a simple way to draw a PERFECT square or circle easily? Photoshop shortcuts for the win.
Select the shape tool, then hold Shift while drawing your shape to make a perfect shape.
12. Resize an element from the center
- Alt+drag from the corner (Windows)
- Opt+drag from the corner (Mac)
Use Alt / Opt to resize a photo, shape, or text box from the center. Helpful if you want to keep the element in the same spot, but resize it.
POWER COMBO: Use Alt / Opt plus Shift to resize from the center without distorting the proportions.
13. Move an element in a straight line
- Shift+drag (Windows & Mac)
Hold Shift while moving an element to move it in a straight line. Vertically, horizontally, diagonally. Useful if you have text (or another element) perfect centered, but want to move it up or down.
14. Duplicate an element
- Alt+drag (Windows)
- Opt+drag (Mac)
Want two instead of one? Hold Alt / Opt and click-drag a new shape from the old. Works with photos, shapes, text…
POWER COMBO: Use Alt / Opt plus Shift to duplicate a new element and keep it in line with the old element.
15. Rotate an element a perfect 45 / 90 / 180 degrees
- Shift+drag while rotating (Windows & Mac)
To rotate an element, select it and move your mouse out past the corner. Your cursor will switch to a rounded double arrow. Click and drag to rotate the element.
To rotate a perfect 90 degrees (or any increment of 15), hold Shift while you rotate the element. Great for turning a square into a diamond.
Level 3 Photoshop Shortcuts: Watch Out World
This is where you really start to get comfortable in Photoshop. One hand on the mouse, one hand on the keyboard, and your projects will begin to fly by.
16. Show or hide guides
- Ctrl+; (semicolon) (Windows)
- Cmd+; (semicolon) (Mac)
Guides are fabulously helpful to line up elements perfectly. To make one, just drag from the ruler at the top or bottom of your workspace (if you don’t see the rulers, Ctrl / Cmd + R).
Use this Photoshop shortcut to see your work without the guides. Use it again to turn the guides back on.
Keep in mind, guides don’t appear in the finished design when you export it. They’re for your benefit only.
17. Move a layer up or down
- Ctrl+[ or ] (Windows)
- Cmd+[ or ] (Mac)
Select a layer in the layers panel and use this Photoshop shortcut to move the layer up or down one layer. You can also just drag the layer to where you need it.
18. Send a layer to the very top or bottom
- Ctrl+Shift+[ or ] (Windows)
- Cmd+Shift+[ or ] (Mac)
Really helpful if you’ve added a photo and want it at the very bottom of your layers, or you want to move a text box to the top. Use this Photoshop shortcut to send a layer to the very top or bottom of the layers panel.
19. Fill selection with the foreground color
- Alt+Backspace (Windows)
- Opt+Backspace (Mac)
The foreground & background colors are the two little color boxes in your Tools panel, on the left side of your screen.
If you’ve made a new layer or you have a selection you want to quickly fill with the foreground color, use this Photoshop shortcut.
20. Fill selection with the background color
- Ctrl+Backspace (Windows)
- Cmd+Backspace (Mac)
Just like the last Photoshop shortcut, except this fills your layer or selection with the background color.
21. Switch foreground & background colors
- X (Windows & Mac)
Toggle the foreground & background colors without having to use your mouse.
These Photoshop shortcuts will come in handy on projects like these:
- Make a Moodboard in Minutes (+ free Photoshop templates)
- 3 Steps to a Pinterest-perfect Blog Post Graphic
Do you have a favorite Photoshop shortcut? Share below or #imaginedesignrepeat
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