Menu Search
Jump to the content X X
SmashingConf London Avatar

We use ad-blockers as well, you know. We gotta keep those servers running though. Did you know that we publish useful books and run friendly conferences — crafted for pros like yourself? E.g. our upcoming SmashingConf London, dedicated to all things web performance.

Photoshop Secrets: Unknown Tricks and Time-Savers

We all have shortcuts that are essential to our daily workflow. A majority of them are staples such as Copy (Command + C) and Paste (Command + V), but occasionally we stumble upon a shortcut we wish we’d learned years ago. Suddenly, this simple shortcut has streamlined our process and shaved quite a bit of time off our day.

Collected here are some lesser known but extremely useful shortcuts. Many of these are not documented in the “Keyboard Shortcuts” menu, and some of them don’t even have equivalent menu options. [Updated May/02/2017]

Further Reading on SmashingMag: Link

Please note that all of the shortcuts listed below assume that you are using Photoshop CS4 on OS X. They will work on the Windows platform by converting as follows: Command → Control and Option → Alt.

Photoshop Secrets

Layers Link

Selection Link

Sifting through nests of layer sets to find the layer you need quickly becomes tiresome. Luckily, there are a number of ways to select layers more intuitively. Using the Move tool (V), you can Command + click on the canvas to select the uppermost layer with pixel data located directly below the mouse. If your layers are grouped within layer sets, this action may have selected the entire folder. You can change this behavior to select the actual layer by using the Auto-select drop-down in the Move tool’s property bar.

Layer Auto-Select
Changing auto-select behavior.

There will be times when you want to select a layer that is located below a number of other layers. By right-clicking with the Move tool, you’ll bring up a contextual menu containing a list of all layers located below the cursor. If your layers are properly named, you should be able to quickly select the layer you need. By holding Shift while using either of the selection methods above, you can select multiple layers. After selecting multiple layers, you can link the layers together by right-clicking and selecting Link Layers.

Layer List
Right-clicking to display all layers beneath the cursor.

The keyboard can also be used to select layers. Pressing Option + [ or Option + ] selects the layer below or above the current layer, respectively. Pressing Option + < selects the bottommost layer, and Option + > selects the uppermost. Option + Shift + < selects all layers between the current layer and the bottommost layer, and Option + Shift + > selects all layers between the current and uppermost.

Layer Selection

Sorting Link

Sorting layers with the mouse can be clumsy and slow. A few shortcuts speeds up the organizing. Command + [ and Command + ] moves the selected layer up or down one position in the stack. If multiple layers are selected, they’ll move relative to the uppermost or bottommost layer. Pressing Command + Shift + [ or Command + Shift + ] brings the selected layer to the top or bottom of its current layer group. If the layer is already at the top or bottom of the layer group, it jumps to the top or bottom of the parent layer group.

Layer Sorting

Viewing Link

Option + clicking the eye icon of a layer is a commonly known way to hide or show all other layers. There is also a way to expand and collapse layer groups: by Command + clicking the arrow next to the layer group, you can close or expand all other layer groups; this does not work on nested layer groups. Alternatively, right-clicking the arrow gives you a menu to perform the same actions; but this will work on nested layer groups.

Duplicating Link

There are a number of ways to duplicate data from one layer to another. Duplicating an entire layer is as simple as pressing Command + J. If a selection is active, you can use the same shortcut (Command + J) to create a new layer based on the selected area of the original layer. Pressing Command + Shift + J with a selection creates a new layer while cutting the data from the original layer. Holding Option while pressing one of the arrow keys allows you to duplicate the current layer and nudge it by 1 pixel. Holding Shift and Option nudges the new layer by 10 pixels.

Layer Duplication

Duplicating data from multiple layers can also be done more quickly using some keyboard commands. Using Command + Shift + C with an active selection copies the data contained within it to the clipboard. You can then paste it to a new layer (Command + Option + Shift + N, Command + V). If you’d like to create a flattened copy of the entire document, use the shortcut Command + Option + Shift + E: a composite of all visible layers will be added as a new layer to the top of your layer stack.

Layer Duplication

Brushes Link

Shape and Size Link

Being able to quickly adjust the brush tool is crucial to getting a swift workflow. Many know about using [ and ] to decrease and increase the brush’s diameter, as well as Shift + [ and Shift + ] to decrease and increase the brush’s hardness. However, CS4 introduced an even more intuitive way to do this. By holding Control + Option and dragging on the canvas, you can change the brush’s diameter with a visual aid. Control + Command + Option and dragging gives you control of the brush’s hardness.

The On-Canvas Drag makes brush adjustments more intuitive.
The on-canvas drag makes brush adjustments more intuitive.

If you would like to completely change the brush shape to a different preset, press < or > to cycle through them and Shift + < or Shift + > to select the first or last brush. Right-clicking inside the canvas also displays a condensed menu of brushes.

Brush Shape

Opacity, Flow and Mode Link

The opacity of the brush tool can be quickly tweaked using the number keys: 3 = 30%; 3 + 5 = 35%; 0 + 3 = 3%; 0 = 100%. Holding Shift when inputting the numbers sets the flow of the tool. Note that if Airbrush mode is on, these two shortcuts swap (i.e. holding Shift controls opacity instead of flow). You can toggle Airbrush mode on and off using Option + Shift + P. The same numeric input method can be used to determine the opacity of a layer when the Move tool (V) is active; pressing Shift allows you to alter the Fill of the layer.

Brush Opacity

Quick Fill Link

Instead of selecting the Fill tool (G), you can quickly bring up the Fill menu using Shift + F5. Even better, bypass the menu entirely using Option + Backspace to fill with the foreground color or Command + Backspace to fill with the background color. These keyboard commands can also be used to quickly set the color of a type or shape layer. To preserve transparency when filling, you could first lock the transparency of the layer by pressing / and then fill, but there’s an easier way. Pressing Option + Shift + Backspace or Command + Shift + Backspace fills with the foreground or background color while preserving transparency.

Quick Fill

Pressing Command + Shift + Backspace to preserve transparency while filling.
Pressing Command + Shift + Backspace to preserve transparency while filling.

Blending Modes Link

You can cycle through blending modes or jump to a specific one by using just the keyboard. By pressing Option + Shift + (+) or Option + Shift + (-), you can cycle forward or backward through available modes. Alternatively, you can set a specific mode using the shortcuts below.

Blending Modes

Typesetting Link

Setting type is a delicate and time-consuming process, but shortcuts speed it up. First off, hiding the inversed block that is created by selecting text is extremely beneficial. Command + H allows you to toggle the visibility of both the highlight and baseline stroke, making it easier to see the final result. When finished editing your text, you can commit changes by pressing Enter on the numeric keypad or Command + Return. Pressing Esc discards changes.

Type Setting

Variants Link

There are six shortcuts for changing the font variant, but they should be used with caution. If the appropriate variant or character does not exist within the currently selected font family, Photoshop creates a faux variant. These fake variants are frowned upon within the typosphere and are extremely easy to spot. So, if you use these shortcuts, make sure that Photoshop has selected an actual variant and not faked it. Now, onto the shortcuts:

Type Variants

Justification Link

To set the justification, use one of the commands below. Note that a selection must be made within the target paragraph for these to work.

Type Justification

Spacing and Sizing Link

Properly sizing and spacing type is a tedious task, but Photoshop does provide some handy—albeit broad—shortcuts. Unfortunately, there is no way to fine-tune the increments by which they adjust. Note that these shortcuts will work only if a text selection is made; selecting a type layer is not enough. To change the type size by increments of 2, press either Command + Shift + < or >. To bump the increment up to 10 points, use Command + Option + Shift + < or >. Leading can also be modified by 2 or 10 point increments using Option + Up or Down arrow or by Command + Option + Up or Down arrow.

Type Sizing

The arrow keys can also be used to adjust kerning and tracking. Pressing Option + Left or Right either kerns or tracks 20 units depending on whether or not a type selection is active (i.e. if the cursor is between two characters, kerning is applied; if multiple characters are selected, then tracking is adjusted). The increment can also be changed to 100 units using Command + Option + Left or Right arrow. Finally, the baseline can be shifted by 2 or 10 points using Option + Shift + Up or Down arrow or Command + Option + Shift + Up or Down arrow, respectively.

Type Spacing

Resets Link

Sometimes, we have to return to the defaults. Below are some shortcuts to get you back on track.

Type Resets

Hidden within many of Photoshop’s menus are a number of shortcuts that make adjustments faster and easier. Just about every menu—whether for Adjustment, Filter or anything else—allows you to revert to the original settings; by simply holding Option, the Cancel button will turn into a Reset button. Depending on the menu, holding Option might even change some of the other buttons (e.g. the Done button in the “Save for Web and Devices” menu will change to Remember). Certain menus, such as the Filter Gallery, also allow you to hold Command to turn the Cancel button into a Default button.

Using modifier keys to uncover in-menu options.

Spring-loaded Commands Link

By default, most menus transform the cursor into the Hand tool or Move tool. These tools can be used on the canvas while the menu is open to pan the document or to adjust settings, such as the Angle and Distance settings for a Drop Shadow. More tools, however, are available via spring-loaded shortcuts. The zoom tools can be accessed using either Command (to zoom in) and Option (to zoom out) or Command + Space (to zoom in) and Command + Option + Space (to zoom out). The hand tool can also be accessed by holding the space bar.

Holding Command + Spacebar to access the zoom tool within Blending Options.
Holding Command + Spacebar to access the zoom tool within the Blending options.

Adjustment Menus and Layers Link

The Curves adjustment, like most other adjustments, contains some handy shortcuts. Similar to how you can cycle through the Channels in a document, you can cycle through the adjustment’s channels using Option + 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. You can also cycle through the points on the actual curves using and =. With a point selected, you can nudge the points in increments of 2 in any direction using the arrow keys. Holding Shift in conjunction with the arrow keys moves the point by 16 units. When working with an adjustment menu, you can toggle the Preview option on and off by pressing P. Adjustment layers don’t have a Preview option, but you can temporarily disable it by pressing and holding .

Adjustment Menus and Layers

Photoshop Secrets Summary Link

Hopefully, reading this has taught you a few new tricks and uncovered for you some of the more obscure options within Photoshop. While memorizing shortcuts can be a chore, integrating them into your daily workflow saves you an incredible amount of time. Do you have other obscure time-savers? Share your favorites in the comments!


Footnotes Link

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7

↑ Back to top Tweet itShare on Facebook

Tom Giannattasio happily makes things at nclud. He works as an Editor for Smashing Magazine and teaches at Boston University Center for Digital Imaging Arts. He loves to experiment and share his work on his personal site: attasi.

  1. 1

    Very useful article.
    Does anyone have a trick to select all INVISIBLE layers ?

    • 2

      There is a “Delete invisible layers” command in the layers palette menu.

      • 3

        SK, what versions have the “Delete invisible layer” command? Is that for Empty Layers?

  2. 4

    What a fantastic post, wow.

  3. 5


    • 6

      A brilliant assessment, FreakSoap. Your one-word critique calls to mind the first word ever uttered by our knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing troglodyte ancestors and echoed by vacuous eighth-graders everywhere.

      • 7


        • 8

          Nothing really new here.. I was actually quite excited when I saw the title.. but shouldn’t most of us know these already by heart?

          • 9


          • 10

            don’t want to be mean but, isn’t that article just a transcription of all keyboard shortcuts of PS? I mean… Why on earth is this published? I can just open my PS and read them out loud to myself. Ctrl-Y is “step back”! nice….

    • 11

      It might not be the most exciting post ever, but it is an important one. Some of these tricks will save us a lot of time, while you keep looking at pwetty pictuwsz.

      • 12

        If it was so important than why not post the Win. equivalant?

        Thank you Immelmann
        January 20th, 2010 8:20 am
        Control = Ctrl, Option = Alt, for all you windows fans

        • 13

          If you’re work is so important, design on a Mac.

          • 14

            How about design on whatever is most comfortable for you. This is 2010. Photoshop works equally well on both platforms.

          • 15

            Nice going fan boy – what is so good about your “mac”…

            The photoshop, the OS, the screen… there are infintately better options in every case – bar maybe the first… so take you “precious” and go sit in a dark cave.

  4. 16

    Very helpful article, especially the shortcut infos! Another interesting feature which helps you to save time and energy are Photoshop-Actions! If you tried them once, you don’t wanna miss them anymore.

  5. 17

    love this post! i’m a keyboard command addict, it’s nice to see a good photoshop list!

  6. 18

    SCHWEET! Extremely useful info, I saved time while reading this article!

  7. 19

    Awesome article. I glanced over it. Will definitely bookmark for future reading and studying. Thanks again.

  8. 20

    This post is God. Thanks, God.

  9. 21

    Very nice…,

  10. 22

    Nice post, these will help make things faster for me. Thanks.

  11. 24

    Using shortcuts in Photoshop are a major time saver… anyone would do well to learn them if they are serious about working in the program.

    I knew many of these but one that’s always alluded me was the shortcut to duplicate a layer. That’ll come in handy.

  12. 26

    Nice. I know 90% of these, but there are few gems that I didn’t know that will make my life easier!

  13. 27
  14. 28

    anyone knows how to use these shortcuts in a spanish keyboard?

  15. 29

    Thanks a lot for your post! :)

  16. 30

    Great List. I use most of these often.

    Here are a couple others that i use a lot that were not mentioned:
    – Tab Key (to hide toolbars)
    – F Key (to change the view to only show the document. If you hit the F key a couple times it will focus on the document only with a black background). This is great for viewing mockups without anything distracting the eye.
    – Command + R to hide the rulers
    – Command + – Key or Command + + for quick zooming of the document
    – Command + 0 to fit to the open area of the screen

  17. 32

    very nice indeed… thank you!

  18. 33

    Control = Ctrl, Option = Alt, for all you windows fans. I know I couldn’t remember right away.

  19. 34

    Ctrl + click on tool bar items to quickly get the flyout of alternate items -or- option + click to scroll to the next tool underneath.

    Also ⌘ + E to merge selected layers.

    • 35

      George Coghill

      January 20, 2010 2:35 pm

      And my new fave, Command + Option + E to merge only the selected layers into a new layer.

      Also: Option + Shift click a layer mask thumnail in the layers panel to show the “rubylith” red overlay so you can see you mask superimposed on your actual layer contents. Priceless!

  20. 36

    Soulayman – If you are looking to delete all hidden layers there is a command under
    layers / delete/ delete all hidden layers.

    I use that often.

    Another awesome trick is when you are using a brush for anything, erasing/painting/sharpening/etc. if the cursor magically disappears and you are only left with a “target” tip, your caps lock is on. Took me forever to figure this out.


    • 37

      Wow. I would’ve never found this out. I thought it was just a random thing. Thanks for posting this on the comments! =D

      edit: I meant, I never would’ve found out why my cursor changes randomly.

  21. 38

    As a developer I’m happy with just knowing CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + S to save for web :)

    • 39

      Yeah one of my fav’s… saves me loads of time! My left hand can form the required shape as easily as a Vulcan greeting now… ah geeky!

  22. 40

    Perfect! Thanks a lot!

  23. 41

    This is excellent piece of information, we are certainly going to use these tips for design :)

  24. 42

    Am I missing something? The baseline shift and increase/decrease leading shortcuts are the same.

    • 43

      Thomas Giannattasio

      January 20, 2010 9:19 am

      Marcel, You’re not missing anything. There was a mistake on the leading image. I’ve just updated it. Option+UP, Option+DOWN, Command+Option+UP, Command+Option+DOWN will control the leading. Thanks for catching that!

  25. 44

    bright as yellow

    January 20, 2010 8:36 am

    Thanks for posting these! I have a feeling they’ll be coming in handy in the near future.

  26. 45

    I LOVE this post! I just twittered it. These are great shortcuts that will surely speed up my production time. Thanks guys and ROCK ON!

  27. 46

    Does anyone know how to select the layers within a selection? I found a tutorial on “Rubber band selections” that does this… but it doesn’t appear to work in cs3? Thanks.

  28. 47

    Nice job, Thomas. Good information, well presented.

  29. 48

    I knew most of these already, but there were a few that I had no idea about! These tips are great fo people just learning Photoshop. Thanks!

  30. 49

    Extremely useful article. More so because it documents them together nicely. Well done! Bookmarked.

  31. 50

    Most of the shortcuts are only available on a Mac…

  32. 52

    Good one! I use most of these but didn’t know about alot of them. Great post!

  33. 53

    Didn’t knew about ctrl + shift + del, cool thing.

  34. 54

    Waheed Akhtar

    January 20, 2010 9:56 am

    Is this written for mac users only ?

  35. 55

    good job writing it only for Mac users…. :(

    • 56

      Just substitute Command → Control and Option → Alt, it says so on the very top of the article :|

  36. 57

    Nice collection Thomas, good work.As @Jan mentioned there is a good collection at webdesignerwall, but this looks more organized and you have documented only frequently used shortcuts, thats good.
    I also back @EMS’s suggestion of including shortcuts to hide Tool-bars (TAB) and similar ones under ‘changing views’ ….hide/show grids, guides,rulers,all,smart guides etc can be included.
    My personal favorite among photoshop shortcuts is double clicking on ‘zoom tool’ to get to actual pixels. :)
    Thomas, keep updating this list as you get more useful shortcuts.

  37. 58

    Great Post!! Very helpfull!

  38. 59

    Great post Thomas, there are many here that I didn’t know! One trick that always saves me time in web design is duplicating multiple layers at once.

    1. Select layers
    2. Hold “Alt” (both PC and Mac) and drag the layers.

    You can hold “Shift” as well to drag them on a straight line.

    This really comes in handy when creating navigation buttons or ad spaces.

  39. 60

    Been using Photoshop for about ten years now, yet every time one of these comes out, I learn a few new keyboard shortcuts that I wind up using. Thanks! Love the key graphics, by the way—though I’m somewhat biased, as my weapon of choice is an MBP.

  40. 61


  41. 62

    Thank you!
    Very useful article.

  42. 63

    Nice job!

  43. 64

    What a great tips!
    Really excellent, thanks for sharing :)

  44. 65

    Excellent. A few in there to keep my busy for a while longer.

  45. 66

    It’s nice to have these all listed out. While there are certainly many others, there’s one shortcut I can’t live without—actions. I’ve found it incredibly useful to apply actions to my most common commands. For example:

    Shift F1 = flattening image
    Shift F2 = layer properties
    etc …

    The best part is that using actions can be customized to your own workflow, and doesn’t require you to be on a Mac, or PC.

    Does anyone know how to duplicate a layer “without” the new layer attaching the word “copy” to the end of it? This is extremely frustrating as I spend most of my time renaming or deleting the word copy after all my duplicate layers. Very annoying.

    • 67

      How do you asign “layer properties” to an action?!
      I would love to bring op the “Layer propertys pannel” with a shortcut…

  46. 68

    Cmd T : Thanks a lot , Cmd S : So good !

  47. 69

    ok that works on MAC, what about us the PC users?

  48. 70

    excellent, its makes you work faster and eficient.

  49. 71

    Awesome article Thomas! Thanks for the shortcuts!

  50. 72

    You are a GOD.

  51. 73


    January 20, 2010 12:05 pm

    CTRL + ‘

    Shows grid.

    CTRL+H removes and reapplies all helpers liek rulers and such..

  52. 74

    Holy crap! That’s an awesome list of shortcuts.

  53. 75

    What’s the Windows equivalent of the Command key? I tried using the Windows key to no avail.

    Any ideas?

    • 76

      Thomas Giannattasio

      January 20, 2010 2:19 pm

      Hey Paul,
      The conversion from Mac to Windows is: Command → Control and Option → Alt

  54. 77

    It’s sickening how many of these I know. Outside of a computer, my brain is filled with so much useless knowledge.

  55. 78

    It is so much about practicing for me than just reading an article, but this has a few great tools I will have to try. Thanks.

  56. 80

    Not bad at all, Thomas! Like some, I knew many of these, but there are some real winners in there I had no knowledge of that will speed up my work for certain. Thanks much!

  57. 81

    NICE.. thanks, this will save time like hell for me!

  58. 82

    Ufff, my head hurts! :)

  59. 83

    Probably the most useful one and another that people often seem not to know is to press the Spacebar after you’ve started a selection with a marquee tool to freely reposition the start point. Saved hours over the years.

  60. 84

    Didn’t know about the hidden Reset and Default buttons in the dialogs. Thanks!

  61. 85


  62. 86

    Great list of shortcuts… I have a comment specifically for the very fist shortcut listed here about selecting layers. I feel it is necessary and beneficial to add another tip to what was already said here.

    I like to use this method to select my layers, groups of layers, and individual layers within groups; however, I don’t want to have to change my Auto-select option each time I want to use this feature; that in itself is a waste of time. So here is a simple tip I have found most people don’t even know about that will allow you to keep your setting to group but still be able to select an individual layer within a group.

    From this article you were told to hold down Command(mac)/Control(pc) + click on the canvas to select the layer or group of layers with that specific art. If you want to get to the exact layer within that group, instead of changing your auto-select option just hold down Option(mac)/Alt(pc) + right click on the canvas and it will select the exact layer within the group.

    Hope this helps some of you.

  63. 87

    I’m pretty sure most designers use a PC, so using control instead of ctrl and option instead of alt is pretty “hey I’m a mac” behaviour. Not cool.

    • 88

      Where’d you pull that statistic from, Piry? This isn’t “hey I’m a mac” behaviour, it’s just less confusing to write an article favouring one keyboard layout over another. Expand your mind, man.

    • 89

      Erm… how difficult is it to mentally swap Command/Option with Ctrl/Alt, seriously.

      P.S. the vast majority of Macs exist in the design/creative industries – it’s not “hey, I’m using a Mac behaviour” at all. They just made the mistake of believing PC users were smart enough to transpose two keys. An unfortunate over-estimation in your instance.

  64. 90

    Matthew Mueller

    January 20, 2010 4:07 pm

    Big fan of this post. Thanks!

  65. 91

    Shift + Option + Cmd + Ctrl + M = Downloads all keyboard shortcuts into my brain, directly, without having to learn them one by one. I wish.

  66. 92

    Does anyone know of a key shortcut to scroll through your font menu when type is selected? I would love to know that even for Illustrator or InDesign. (Mac OS)

    • 93

      If you select your type, click on your font list pulldown so the current font name is highlighted, you can then use the up and down arrows to move through the list one at a time. It only shows the default weight but it’s better than nothing and much quicker than selecting one at a time.

      Works the same in Flash, Illustrator etc. That’s PC btw, but presume it’s the same on a mac.

      • 94

        Yeah, its not :( I use both, that is one advantage of a PC, and I cannot for the life of me figure out why mac users haven’t flipped out about it yet to Adobe. Perhaps ignorance really is bliss.

  67. 95

    Good post except creating a new layer without dialog is Shift, Option, Command+N, not C

    • 96

      Thomas Giannattasio

      January 21, 2010 5:14 am

      Tony, you’re right. The image has been updated to show the proper shortcut. Thanks for spotting that!

  68. 97

    Excellet post wow…….. amazing…

    I like It…

  69. 98

    Nice trick! very useful and save my time.

  70. 99

    Shimi Varghese

    January 20, 2010 9:41 pm

    Wonderful post … Thnx alot

  71. 100

    Nice tutorial ….

  72. 101

    Very useful, I know some of these keyboard shortcuts, and learn new ones, thanks!!!!

  73. 102

    And now a list for azerty keyboards :-D

  74. 103

    Wow, a post about shortcuts! Maybe next time you could tell me what’s inside the illustrator manual, or explain the word menu! And the presentation you came up with is just so smart, you know, the way reuse this because it’s all in just one page so I only have to scroll up and down to see them all!

    Please try harder next time…

    • 104

      Menu: >n. 1. a list of dishes to be served or available for a meal. 2. a list or display of options, esp. as displayed on a computer screen.

      I hope this helps to explain the word menu for you; as for what’s inside the illustrator manual you can find everything you need at

      Instead of wasting everyone’s time here maybe you should look up the difference between constructive criticism and rude behavior. Good day to you.

  75. 105

    These are important and useful…..Thanks

  76. 106

    Best post in a while! There even are a few that I don’t know, so thanks Smashing!

  77. 107

    If you don’t know by now that command on a Mac equals Control on a PC, just give up on life as a designer. You are retarded.

    No really, you are f’ing retarded. Go seek medical help.

    The stupidity of some people just baffles me.


    Heaven forbid we read those things called “words” to figure out what’s going on instead of just looking at the pretty pictures….

  78. 108

    Really useful, just shows you there’s always something to learn when it comes to workflow.

  79. 109

    This is the best list I’ve yet seen. Thanks, as most posters have noted, your effort is greatly appreciated!

    Photoshop also allows you to define your own custom shortcuts. Bring up the dialog box with:

    Option + Shift + Cmd + K
    or this ‘shortcut’

  80. 110

    [quote]…Command + Space (to zoom in) and Command + Option + Space (to zoom out)[/quote]

    Actually for zoom out, Option + Space is enough.

    Very useful article, I knew some of the shortcuts but I was totally unaware of others. Thanks Smashmag!

  81. 111

    Redundant post if you ask me. There are hunderds of Photoshop cheat sheets on the web already. Making a big list of sometimes impossible (cmon who uses all those command+option+shift) shortcuts and calling it ‘TimeSavers’ is a bit silly.

  82. 112

    This article is written halfway. Is it so hard to explore shortcuts for PC?
    Sorry Alex, but you are not right, there is alot differences between Mac and PC keyboard layout for Photoshop.
    Much more than just Command → Control and Option → Alt…

    • 113


      January 21, 2010 5:13 am

      Thanks… i was wondering what the hell was “command” and “option”… xD. PC should be the default system in tutorials, because you know… Mac… bleh!

  83. 114

    Thanks for the post. It’s not always about the information itself, but about the time the information is released. I looked through several Ps Shortcut lists already but you won’t learn them all at once. So you just keep on using the 5 new you learnt and forget about the rest. Now this article actually tought me some new shortcuts I wasn’t aware of and I will use definitely. Especially the simple autoselect “layers” instead of “group” is a timesaver for me. Also the direct shortcuts to change the layer modes are great.

    I really think its good to release a post like this every 2 months to update your own workflow with hotkeys and ofcourse introduce new designers to timesaving hotkeys. Thanks for sharing!

  84. 115

    Sailesh Joshi

    January 21, 2010 3:46 am

    Thanx it is really helpful

  85. 116

    Being a shortcut addict I loved this post. Got some new ones to add to my arsenal – reckon the text formatting ones will be the most useful. Thanks.

  86. 117

    I implore everyone to stop using Photoshop to set type. Unless you want to design everything in 1,000,000 dpi. Thanks.

  87. 118

    Great article! I use shortcuts religiously, and there are some here that will help even more. Thanks!!!

  88. 119

    Wow! Great article, one of the most useful and comprehensive Photoshop shortcut roundups I’ve ever read :) Thanks!

  89. 120

    Very instructive ! thank you

  90. 121

    Great tips! Are these shortcut for certain version of Photoshop only? I cannot seem to get the change brush setting with visual aide shortcut to work.

    • 122

      Thomas Giannattasio

      January 21, 2010 10:09 am

      Yes, the brush’s visual aid was introduced in Photoshop CS4.

    • 123

      The “adjust brush size with visual aid” doesn’t work like that for Windows users. Still, I figured out how it does:

      Alt + rmb drag = Brush Size
      Alt + Shift + rmb drag = Brush Hardness

      Thanks anyway for many useful Tips :)

  91. 124

    Great post! Thanks!

  92. 125

    Klaus Shmidheiser

    January 21, 2010 10:45 am

    I thought I was a power user, always have LOVED quick keys, but I just got owned.

  93. 126

    Wow those adjust brush size with visuals is great!!!

    Thanks a lot Smashing!

  94. 127

    I think every designer should have their own set of shortcuts for each program aside from the original shortcuts and have them saved somewhere so you can use it for both home and work.
    I do that and it does save quite a bit of time. And for people who don’t use shortcuts and use the mouse instead to navigate through all the menus, you REALLY NEED TO start using shortcuts. Thanks me later.
    This is a useful post for me because sometimes I forget what shortcut I need for changing transfer modes and a few others. Thanks!

  95. 128


  96. 129

    Wow! I’ve been using Photoshop since version 2 (ahem showing my age) and this article is tremendous. Great work + more superlatives.

  97. 130

    Fantastic post great start to the new year so far.

  98. 131

    Bryan McAnulty

    January 21, 2010 7:01 pm

    Great shortcuts! A few good ones that are new to me.

  99. 132

    Good presentation

  100. 133

    Most of the shortcut keys i am using from last 3 years
    but over all nice post…

  101. 134

    Wow. I’m not bragging but I know a ton of shortcuts in photoshop. So I went into this article thinking “bring it”. Well by the end of the article I learned a some new ones. Really cool ones indeed. Thanks Thomas. Your the man!

  102. 135

    Very Great Presentation.

  103. 136

    Thanks for the obvious list of shortcuts that if you have a little brain will find in google in 10 secs. Also no everyone use Mac some of us use real computers.

    • 137

      Did your real computer teach you grammar?

      “Thank you for the obvious list of shortcuts. Anyone with a small brain could find these shortcuts using Google. Also, not everyone uses a Mac computer. Some of us use real computers.”

      I think this is what you meant.


    • 138

      I’m sure you knew all of these by heart then? Cool! How come you didn’t link YOUR article that you spent your own time to create (for FREE) and share with us your vast wealth of PS knowledge? I’m sure you have a super cool portfolio too! Do let us take a peek. I can’t wait to see how you’ve harnessed the awesome powers of photoshop to edit a cool car in your driveway or make some ‘beast’ manga fanart!

      You’re the worst kind of troll: a natural one.

    • 139

      Anyone that googles ‘photoshop shortcuts’ will be taken to this article, so…

  104. 140

    love the quick fill and brush size shortcuts!

    does anyone know a shortcut to select/highlight an entire layer? ) ie – when you double click the ‘T’ thumbnail in your layer panel, it highlights that text in your workspace). when i worked on a pc years ago i used to use this a ton, and since enlightenment [converting to a mac], i haven’t been able to discover it again/it’s not the same command. :(

    • 141

      Thomas Giannattasio

      January 22, 2010 8:35 am

      You can Command + Click the thumbnail of a layer to create a selection from that layer’s alpha.

  105. 142

    Great Post!!

  106. 143

    useful shortcut keys
    I know half of them already. But, almost 50% are new to me.
    Nice post. Luv it.

  107. 144

    Really good roundup, I learned a new thing or two myself :)

  108. 145

    awesome shortcuts but i’m a windows user :( option = alt ? command = shift? or viceversa, thanks for this tips :)

  109. 146

    To select a layer inside a group without changing the auto-select behavior, just ctrl+alt+RMB. :-)

  110. 147

    Great post! It’s a whole lot of shortcuts!
    but you should have considered windows user also. Still 85% of the computers are Windows!

  111. 148

    wow! and i thought i know a lot about photoshop shortcuts. thanks for this most awesome post!

  112. 149

    Jayesh Mallah

    January 23, 2010 6:20 am

    That’s Very Great Idea,Its Like you are angel giving good ideas

  113. 150

    Ctrl + Mac = Sux

  114. 151


  115. 152

    thank you so much….

  116. 153

    Thanks so much! Very usefull article.

  117. 154

    Michael Knight

    January 24, 2010 10:42 am

    Nice, but as others have mentioned. Not everyone uses a Mac. A designer would use cross browser code, a Graphic Designer would convert for different print versions, so an author should cater for more than one operating system.

    Bad practise really.

    • 155

      I don’t get what the big deal is, it’s clearly explained at the beginning of the article: “They will work on the Windows platform by converting as follows: Command → Control and Option → Alt.”

      I think it’s a great post!

      • 156

        Michael Knight

        January 25, 2010 3:33 am

        The point I was making is that the author stated ‘Please note that all of the shortcuts listed below assume that you are using Photoshop CS4 on OS X.’ But they work on Windows!!!

        Not all of them do, and the author also never took into account foreign keyboard layouts or languages.

        Slightly narrow minded. Though I do agree, its a great post. I’m not knocking that!

  118. 157

    wat abou windows users??????

  119. 158

    I was looking for layer management shortcuts for ages!! thx so much!

  120. 159

    Is a lot of shortcuts to remind, besides i have a Spanish keyboard and many of them don’t work for me.

    But i’m just amazed about the mode to select the layer instead the group. That has been a headache for me since the version cs1. I just can’t select the stupid layer and instead i got the whole group. LOL, what a noob, i didnt know that i could change it, thank u so much.

  121. 160

    So many tricks, thanks a lot.

  122. 161

    Its super tips..thanks

  123. 162

    How do you do commands like command + control + option + x on windows? And before you write that I shouls juat read the beginning of the post, please actually read WHAT exactl I wrote. Thanks a lot in advance

    (if command = ctrl and option = alt, then what does the mac control equate to?)

    • 163

      thomas giannattasio

      January 26, 2010 12:48 pm

      Holding control is what toggles the right mouse button functionality for Mac users. Therefore, the PC equivalent of Control + Option + Drag would be Alt + Drag with the right mouse button. I apologize for this exclusion. Hopefully this clears it up.

  124. 164

    It would be helpful to include the PC shortcuts as well in the article. I see you included a refresher at the top on which keys translate to the PC, thank you, it just would be awesome to see them side by side in the article. This is a fantastic article, thank you for all the tips! Always looking to make my work flow more efficient! I would love to see similar articles in Illustrator and Indesign!!

  125. 165

    In the interest of clarity; Cmd(Ctl) + F5 brings up the fill dialog, but so does Shift+Delete. Which is much easier to remember with Cmd+Delete for background color fill, and Opt+Delete for foreground color fill. I don’t remember whether this works with Windows using the Backspace key (where the Delete key is on a Mac).
    A couple of others I stress to my students for efficiency: Cmd+; to toggle guides, and Cmd+’ to toggle the grid.
    The others I use a lot are Cmd+Opt+2 (3,4,or 5) to select the brightness mask of the full color, red, green, or blue channels.

  126. 166

    Great collection and fantastic legends. I’m a die hard keyboard shortcut guy but I really need to remember some of these. Thanks for taking the time to put this together – I’m sure it took a while.

  127. 167

    i was pretty impressed in this post. awesome!!!!!!!!!!

  128. 168

    Does anyone know of a really good program (better than “Gimp”) that gives high resolution (over 3500pix) for producing great graphics and art. Art is becoming a whole new ball game and I believe it will be the future. ( can u buy this program for under $100.00 ?)
    I sure would like to know the very best program –

  129. 169

    Very Useful article, thanks for sharing to us.

  130. 170

    Cool shortcuts! One I love (not sure if this counts) but if you press ctrl+a (select all), click the appropriate layer, then use the align tool, it’ll align that layer to the canvas area.

  131. 171

    I don’t have an “option” key…”command” too

  132. 172

    Great article! Straight to the point and full of useful tips.
    This will save me loads of time ;)

  133. 173

    my life is forever changed with the discover of the command click layers feature. thank you so much

  134. 174

    Dont know if it’s already mentioned but this is a shortcuts that I use a lot in cs4.

    command+~=to scroll through your photo’s. saves you some clicking. And great one in combination with F.

  135. 175

    Thanks for this useful tricks, but i have win7 :'(

  136. 176

    Bruno Alberto Byington Neto De Figueiredo

    March 5, 2010 3:30 am

    The Shortcut that saves my life:

    cmd + alt + z for undo more then once.



  137. 177

    good stuff!

  138. 178

    Wow! This was so helpful.. I’ve been trying to figure this out for a while. Thanks!

  139. 179

    the fill & preserve transparency shortcuts make this article worth reading… thanks!!

  140. 180

    Awesome list but do they seriously expect us to remember all those shortcuts?

  141. 181

    Subhash Khatri

    June 30, 2010 2:18 am

    “Subscript command” shortcut is wrong, it should be “command” + “option” + “shift” + “+ key”

    also “Small caps” shortcut is wrong, it should be “command” + “shift” + “H”

  142. 182

    Just found a funny new shortcut on my mac (with PS CS4):
    Pressing “cmd” + 5 (5 with %, above the characters) shifts the whole photoshop file to grey (say black and white)!
    Did not find any equivalence whatsoever in the menu or elsewhere. Strange!

    • 183

      thomas giannattasio

      July 21, 2010 12:55 pm


      You’ve just activated the Blue channel and turned all other channels off. You can press Command + 2, 3, 4 or 5 to cycle through RGB, R, G or B.

  143. 184

    Wow. That’s one long but really time saving article. Thanks for sharing mate!

  144. 185

    very good articl

  145. 186

    This website is awesome! Thank you!

  146. 187

    thaks for sharing im new in mac and im frustated, this artikel just light me ^_^)/

  147. 188

    Hello You
    You know, Me have to tell you, Me really find it funny this site and teh insight from everyone who participates. Me find it to be refreshing and very informative. Me wish there were more blogs like it. Anyway, Me felt it was about time Me posted, I
    Really like your blog. thankz

  148. 189

    Marcelo Marchant

    August 19, 2010 8:19 pm

    Me parece muy bien.

  149. 190

    Nice article for quick learners

  150. 191

    cat litter box cover

    August 31, 2010 2:58 pm

    meself find it to be cool

  151. 192

    james bond villain

    September 3, 2010 6:13 pm

    The download didnt work for me, thank you extremely much for teh info though

  152. 193

    Thanks for putting light on these shortcuts, I appreciate it..

  153. 194

    Really very nice article and hope it will help me in future

    Thanks & Regards

  154. 195

    craft mini paper

    September 8, 2010 10:42 pm

    refreshing and very informative. i wish there were more blogs like it. Anyway, i felt it was about time i posted, I
    i have a website aswell.

  155. 196

    ultimate tricks, thanks for sharing

  156. 197

    very nice & use fool .

  157. 198

    google money manager

    September 22, 2010 7:58 am

    yours truly am loving your posts. Found you on Twitter.

  158. 199

    best online business opportunities

    September 22, 2010 7:59 am

    Well im a newbie just starting so ill let you know

  159. 200

    thank you extremely much pal! this is so cool!! yea!!!

  160. 201

    working home online jobs

    September 22, 2010 6:15 pm

    Hello thanks with regard to your page. you truly like your web site. Its quite informative. However you definitely want you to post how you put social bookmarking below your post. you like it due to teh fact its a extremely thoroughly clean awesome blogger hack.
    I cant wait for your next posts.
    Cu Later

  161. 202

    Great post, does anyone know of or how to create shortcuts for brush angle.?

  162. 203

    Nice article!! It’s really helpful.

  163. 204

    Hello thanks with regard to your page. i truly like your web site. Its quite informative. However i definitely want you to post how you put social bookmarking below your post. i like it due to da fact its a extremely thoroughly clean awesome blogger hack.
    Would you be interested in exchanging blogrolls links with my site?

  164. 205

    Yes, nothing is new but can be helpful for a lot of guys… thanx for the effort anyways… ;)

  165. 206

    coastal carolina

    October 6, 2010 10:14 am

    Hello thanks with regard to your page. I truly like your web site. Its quite informative. However I definitely want you to post how you put social bookmarking below your post. I like it due to teh fact its a extremely thoroughly clean awesome blogger hack.

  166. 207

    Way cool stuff, will have to try it. By the way, down load link does not work. Can you please help? thank you very much

  167. 208

    alzheimers brain disease

    October 6, 2010 12:06 pm

    Please, can you PM me and tell me few more things about this, I am really fan of your site! I just subscribed to your feed.
    Do you do blogroll exchanging?

  168. 209

    I must say this is a really good article I enjoyed reading it keep the good work
    Do you do blogroll exchanging?

  169. 210

    Shortcuts are the way. Thanks! ;)

  170. 211

    Hello You
    yours truly am excited already as yours truly know you always have pretty cool stuff.

  171. 212

    Good stuff, It might just work, although it seems easier when you have a plan.
    Whats yer opinion on consideration?

  172. 213

    exchange rate

    October 26, 2010 6:50 pm

    teh best article you have read on teh very first day of teh year. gracias
    Would you be interested in exchanging site roll

  173. 214


    great post,
    is there any way to modify the rounded corner after making a shape
    relay i need it..

  174. 215

    you want to thank the blogger very much not only for this post but also for his all previous efforts. I found your site to be very interesting. I will be coming back to site for more information.

  175. 216

    sandeepweb upadhyay

    November 6, 2010 9:58 am

    nice article, thanks for saving time :)

  176. 217

    Congratulations guys. Me believe Profy was among dha first supporters for You and Me am really glad they will now have some interesting new prospects.
    Added you to the RSS reader
    Talk Later

  177. 218

    Mastering Photoshop _for MAC_: Unknown Tricks and Time-Savers

  178. 219

    interesting ish

  179. 220

    cursive writing

    November 28, 2010 12:24 pm

    thank you extremely much pal! this is so cool!! yea!!!
    Anyway, what do you think about file?

  180. 221

    a really useful post!!

  181. 222

    Lustig, ich habe garnicht gedacht, dass dies wirklich auch so funktionieren kann :)

  182. 223

    If so, feel free to email me. thanks.

  183. 224

    Also a useful shortcut is grouping layers with ease.

    Select Multiple Layers you’d like in a group and press CTRL + G.

    It will group the selected layers.

  184. 225

    Kevin Carr

    May 5, 2011 9:32 am

    Dude, you just made my day and possibly my whole year. First of all, I know my hot keys but I did not know about hitting enter on the numerical keypad when editing text actually commits the text changes… I feel like a rookie, but screw that, I must have just missed it.. ~~~ I owe you big time, btw. Great post and thank you so much. You Rock.

  185. 226

    Thanks For This Great Photoshop Tricks

  186. 227

    Thanks! I learned a couple of new tricks here.

  187. 228

    thanks for this! heaps i didnt know about! brush visual color/size change ones are wicked

  188. 229

    great article, thanks so much.

    in cs5.x/mac, brush size and hardness are both triggered by control-option-command. horizontal = size, vertical = hardness.

  189. 230

    Great post! But the REAL question is where can I get that beautiful MacBook button icon set?

  190. 231

    Very Brilliant information we have here, great for Photoshop starters.
    Frankly, there are some shortcuts which I do not know, despite being a seasoned photoshop user for years!

    A great post worthy of Bookmarking, for your everyday reference!
    Thank you Thomas!

    Cheers, Pierre Sim

  191. 232

    great summary, thomas! definitely learned some useful timesavers. don’t pay attention to those complaining windows users. i chose a mac long time ago and you don’t see me complaining about windows-based articles. i just find the ones for mac. they should do the same and stfu. /sorry for possible grammar mistakes, english is not my native lang./

  192. 233

    Thanks for the post. I knew most of them, but I was wondering if anybody have any experience with keyboard shortcuts on non-english keyboards. I have had this problem since day 1 with Adobe programs, and still haven’t worked out a fix (except for changing the shortcuts, but that is kind of a hassle when you use different computers all the time)

    In short, the problem is, that on a Danish keyboard the [ and ] are not primary keys, but are entered by ALT+8 and ALT+9 … which in effect means that the “change brush size” and the whole array of “layer sorting” shortcuts are useless, because there is no way to enter [ without also pressing ALT … so how can you differentiate between ALT+[ and [

    … this has always bothered me (it is the same in Illustrator)

  193. 234

    BOMB POST!!! Knew a bunch of these but learned a whole lot more!

    – Keep up the good work bro!

  194. 235

    How did you find those keyboard short-cut icon graphics ?

  195. 236

    Nice work mate.

  196. 237

    Great work, I like coming back to workflow optimization guides and see what can be improved, so thanks a lot, this is still relevant!

    Please note that shortcuts are not consistent in all language versions of Photoshop (and language versions CANNOT be changed).

    I (for one) purchased an English keyboard to work on German software for the reason than SUPER useful buttons are missing or placed in very impractical places.

    Can anyone recommend a good post, which should be something like: “A keyboard-shortcut travel-guide for Photoshop–How to kick ass with Photoshop all over the world”

  197. 238

    Great help! Found a lot of keyboard shortcuts for photoshop here! Check it out! It has the entire list of keyboard shortcuts! :D

  198. 239

    Great and very useful article, thanks for sharing! I came across an interesting free download at Vectortown for some Photoshop and Illustrator keyboard shortcuts. I am not sure if it covers it all but it was helpful as well.



↑ Back to top