35 Essential Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts
Photoshop is a beast. Plain and simple. With so many buttons and options, we as photographers, are always looking for ways to save time during the Photoshop editing process. There are MANY Photoshop keyboard shortcuts to help you do this. Instead of searching for specific tools or commands, you can just use your keyboard and Photoshop hotkeys to quickly achieve what you want to do.
We have put together our 35+ essential Photoshop shortcuts that are the most important ones you NEED TO KNOW in order to save the most time editing and working in Photoshop.
And make sure not to miss our downloadable Photoshop Shortcut Cheat Sheet included at the end of this post!
Photoshop Main Toolbar Shortcuts
Space Bar: Temporary Switch to Hand Tool
This handy shortcut temporarily switches your cursor to the hand tool, regardless of what tool is currently open. This tool will help you move selections and shapes to the position you want without leaving the current tool you are in. You can press the H key to select the Hand tool directly.
V: Select Move Tool
Selects the move tool. The move tool is important for moving layers around to new positions on your image.
M: Select Marquee Tool
Selects the Marquee tool. This tool is helpful for making large rectangular or circular selections to your image.
L: Select Lasso Tool
Selects the Lasso Tool. This tool is helpful for making selections in any shape needed for your image.
W: Opens Quick Selection / Magic Wand Tool
Automatically opens the Quick Selection tool or Magic Wand tool so you can “outline” or select certain parts of an image.
C: Select Crop Tool
J: Opens Healing Tool
Opens the healing tools. These can be used to have Photoshop correct facial blemishes or other image distractions. If you need to be more precise, see the Clone Stamp Tool.
B: Select Brush Tool
Selects the brush tool. You'll need the Brush tool for painting on your image or painting on layer masks.
S: Select Clone Stamp
This allows you to select the Clone Stamp tool. This tool is helpful for removing acne or other distractions from an image.
Y: Select History Brush
Selects the History brush. This tool can be used to revert certain areas of your image back to a previous state in your history.
E: Select Eraser
Selects the Eraser tool. You can use the Eraser tool to erase parts of an image or layer.
U: Select Shape Tool
This shortcuts selects the shape tool. This tool is handy for creating shapes to place on your images.
D: Default Foreground / Background colors
This shortcut sets the foreground and background colors back to their default colors. This comes in handy when working on a layer mask where you are using black and white brushes often.
X: Switch Foreground/Background colors
This shortcut lets you switch the foreground and background color. This shortcut is handy when working with layer masks and you need to between the black and white brush often.
Helpful Photoshop Layer Shortcuts
Cmd/Ctrl + J: Duplicate Layer
This helpful shortcuts quickly duplicates (makes a copy) of the layer you have selected.
Cmd/Ctrl + Z: Undo Last Step
This activates the “undo” tool. Allowing you to basically delete the last step you made. Works great when you make a mistake or just aren’t satisfied with your last step.
Ctrl + Backspace (PC) or Cmd + Delete (Mac): Fill with Background Color
This quick shortcut will fill your current layer with the background color you have set.
Alt + Backspace (PC) or Alt + Delete (Mac): Fill with Foreground Color
This shortcut will fill your current layer with the foreground color you have set.
Cmd/Ctrl + G: Group Layers
This allows you take a set of selected layers and group them together into one layer. This is a great tool to help you keep your layers organized by keeping like layers together or grouping layers for a certain part of your image into a folder.
Cmd/Ctrl + Alt + G: Create Clipping Mask
This command quickly creates a clipping mask on the layer you have selected.
Cmd/Ctrl + T: Free Transform
Selects the free transform tool. The transform tool allows you to change the shape or size of the layer you are working on.
Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E: Merge All Layers Into New Layer
This shortcut is a lot of keystrokes all at once but it allows you to merge all the layers for the image together into a new layer. This makes it possible for you to merge your layers together without flattening your image (flattening is a bit of a no-no in Photoshop).
Helpful General Photoshop Shortcuts
Cmd/Ctrl + S: Save Image to File
This simple shortcut will save your image. It is helpful to do this several times throughout your post processing, especially with more in-depth edits. You never know when your computer may decide to crash and burn mid-work!
Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + S: Save Image to a New File
This simple shortcut will allow you to "Save As" which is helpful when needing to save a new copy of the same image.
Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + I: Invert Selection
This shortcut will allow you to invert a selection. By inverting a selection you will be selecting everything on the image EXCEPT the current selection. This shortcut is useful when working with layer masks you want from black to white or vice versa. Also works well when you have a specific area selected and you want to switch to the opposite of what you have selected.
[: Decrease Brush Size
When using the brush tool, this allows you decrease the size, which really helps when you need to get into tight spaces with the brush.
]: Increase Brush Size
This does the opposite of the above shortcut - it increases the brush size to make it larger.
Cmd/Ctrl + Alt + I: Image Size & Resolution
This shortcut allows you to change the image size of your image. You can set the size in pixels, inches and other options. You can also change the image resolution.
Cmd/Ctrl + = : Zoom In
This super helpful shortcut allows you to zoom in incrementally on your image.
Cmd/Ctrl + : Zoom Out
This shortcut works hand-in-hand with the previous one and allows you to zoom out incrementally on your image.
Cmd/Ctrl + Alt + N: Open New Layer
Opens a new layer in the layer panel.
F: Toggle Screen Modes
Allows you to toggle between the different screen modes (standard screen mode, full screen mode with menu bar, and full screen mode) using one key.
Quick Photoshop Adjustment Shortcuts
Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + U: Auto Desaturate
This automatically desaturates your image. It’s a quick way to bring your image to black and white.
Cmd/Ctrl + U: Open Hue Saturation Tool
This opens the hue/saturation tool.
Option/Alt + Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + L: Auto Contrast
This will automatically adjust contrasts to your image.
Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + B: Auto Color
Automatically adjust colors.
Here is a great cheat sheet to help you remember all these important Lightroom Shortcuts. Feel free to print it out, or even share on your website (see below)!
Share this "35+ Essential Photoshop Shortcuts" Infographic on Your Website!
We hope you find these Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts to be as helpful as they are to us! Even if you don't use all of these shortcuts, start by picking a few that you think will help you save the most time based on how you edit in Photoshop!
Do you have any questions about Photoshop keyboard shortcuts or have one of your own that you use often? Leave us a comment below - we would LOVE to hear from you! And PLEASE SHARE our tutorial using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!