5 Lightroom Develop Shortcuts to Start Using Today

When you are first learning Lightroom, it seems to take so long to do anything because you are still trying to figure out how to use it and where everything is. Once you get the "lay of the land" then it's time to start learning shortcuts so you spend less time moving your mouse to different areas of the screen to click on tools or options.

Below are a few of my favorite shortcuts for the Develop module. Next week, I will share some of my favorite Library module shortcuts.

In case anyone is wondering, this image was edited with the All in One preset from the Pretty Presets Workflow collection.

Crop Tool

Click the 'r' key to activate the crop tool. In Photoshop and Photoshop Elements the short cut is 'c' so this one takes some getting used to. The sooner you adopt it, the better.

Changing crop tool orientation in Lightroom

Change Crop Orientation

Click 'x' to change the crop orientation. For instance if your image is horizontal (landscape orientation), you can change it to vertical (portrait orientation) with the click of a key! Examples are the in screen shots above.

Before and After

Click the 'y' key to get a side by side comparison of your image before and after editing. Click it again to make it go back to only the "after" image.

This shortcut is important because if you have a tool active, like brushes or spot removal, you don't see the before/after icon in the tool bar so you'd have to wait until you close the tool. If you use the shortcut you can get a comparison while you're using the tool.

Use Y for shortcut to see before and after comparison

Collapse Side Panels

Click the 'tab' key to have the side panels close. Click it again to bring the panels back. This gives you more space to work on your picture, which is especially helpful if you're working on a 13" or 15" laptop and space is limited.

The above image shows you the side panels out. Below is the panels collapsed simply by pressing the 'tab' key. Notice how you instantly see more of the image on both sides.

Develop module side panels collapsed

Black-out the Background

Click the 'l' key (that's the L key) to make the screen darken. Click it again to make it go all black. When you are trying to really focus on the image and make decisions about it, it helps to get rid of everything else so the picture is all you see. This trick allows you to do that.

The following two images illustrate "lights out." With the first one I click 'l' once. To go darker I clicked 'l' again. To bring back the "lights" I clicked 'l' one more time.

Lights out mode one in Lightroom

Lights out in Lightroom completely dark

More Shortcuts

These are not all my favorite shortcuts, because one of my absolute favorites is 'n' for snapshots, but I didn't want to get into what snapshots were in this post. However, if you have time you should click over to the tutorial we have on snapshots.

Also, Gayle shared some shortcuts she thought were very important in another post.

 There are many, many, many Lightroom shortcuts, but you do not need to learn them all at once or even start using them immediately. Learn a few and apply them, then move on to a few more. Slow and steady wins the race.