It is proven that by using software shortcuts can boost up productivity. Here are 30 secret Photoshop shortcuts that I’ve learned from years of experience. Well, what I mean by "secret" is that these shortcuts are not documented in the menus. Keep reading and you will find how these shortcuts can speed up your productivity. I bet you don’t know all of them.

Note: this article is written in Mac Photoshop format. If you are using PC, Cmd = Ctrl and Opt = Alt.

  1. Drag selection
    With the Marquee tool, drag on the document (do not release the mouse yet), now hold down Spacebar, it will let you drag the undefined selection.

    screenshot

  2. Navigate the document left or right
    Hold down the Cmd key and scroll up or down allows you to navigate the document left or right. For example, hold down Cmd + scroll up will navigate to right.

    screenshot

  3. Browse the font list
    Put your cursor in the font list dropdown, you can browse the font list by pressing arrow Up or Down key.

    screenshot

  4. Scale font size
    Select the text that you want to scale the font size, press Cmd + Shift + > or < to increase / decrease font size.

    screenshot

  5. Zoom with the scroll wheel
    You can zoom in / out by Cmd + Opt + scroll up or down.

    screenshot

  6. Drag to adjust numberic value
    Mouseover the input box, hold down Cmd + drag left or right to increase / decrease. Hold down Cmd + Opt or Shift key and drag can change the value in decimal or 10 interval. This shortcut works in all dialog palettes.

    screenshot

  7. Scroll to adjust numeric value
    Put the cursor in the input box, scroll up or down to increase / decrease value. This shortcut works in all dialog palettes.

    screenshot

  8. Arrow up / down to adjust numeric value
    Put the cursor in the input box, press arrow Up or Down to increase / decrease. Hold down Shift and press arrow Up or Down will change value in 10 interval.

    screenshot

  9. Zoom to 100%
    Double click on the Zoom tool will zoom document to 100%.

    screenshot

  10. Collapse or expand all layer groups
    You can collapse or expand all root-level layer groups by holding down Cmd + click on the triangle icon. Hold down Cmd + Opt + click on the triangle icon will collapse or expand all level layer groups.

    screenshot

  11. Show / hide in a row
    If you need to show / hide more than one layers, instead of clicking one by one, you can click on the visibility icon and drag in a row.

    screenshot

  12. Hide other layers
    Hold down Opt + click on the visibility icon will hide all other layers.

    screenshot

  13. Navigate layer blending mode
    Opt + Shift + "-" or "+" key allows you to navigate through the blending mode dropdown.

    screenshot

  14. Set specific blending mode
    Opt + Shift + C, N, M, S, D… allows to set layer to specific blending mode.
    For examples:
    Normal = Opt + Shift + N
    Screen = Opt + Shift + S
    Multiply = Opt + Shift + M
    Color = Opt + Shift + C

    screenshot

  15. Lock layer transparency
    Press forward slash ("/") to lock layer transparency.

    screenshot

  16. Load Channel selection
    You probably know that Cmd + number keys (1, 2, 3) will activate the channels in sequent. Press Cmd + Opt + number keys will load the selection. For example, press Cmd + Opt + 4 will load Alpha channel 1.

    screenshot

  17. Tool panels
    Press Tab to toggle tool panels.

    screenshot

  18. Precise cursor
    Caps lock will display tool cursor in precise mode.

    screenshot

  19. Navigate the tool list
    You can navigate through the tool list by pressing Shift + tool shorcut. For example: B = Brush tool, if you press Shift + B again, you will switch to Pencil tool.

    screenshot

  20. Increase / decrease brush size
    With the Brush tool selected, you can increase / decrease the brush size by pressing [ or ] key (square bracket key). Press Shift + [ or ] will increase / decrease brush hardness.

    screenshot

  21. Opacity
    You can set the layer opacity by pressing the number keys (ie. 1 = 10%, 2 = 20%…). When you have the brush tool selected, pressing the number keys will adjust the brush opacity.

    screenshot

  22. Duplicate layer
    There are several shortcuts to duplicate layers.
    1. You can hold down Cmd + Opt + drag to duplicate the active layer.
    2. Cmd + Opt + arrow keys (Up, Down, Left, Right).
    3. Cmd + J will duplicate the active layer in exact position.
    4. Hold down Opt + drag within the Layers palette can also duplicate layers.

    screenshot

  23. Copy visible and paste in a new layer
    Press Cmd + Opt + Shift + E will copy the visible layers and paste in a new layer.

    screenshot

  24. Change workspace background
    By default Photoshop use grey for the workspace background color. You can change that by:
    1. select your favorite color
    2. choose the Paint Bucket tool
    3. Hold down Shift + click on the working area (outside the document area)

    screenshot

    Update: right-click on the workspace area to get a dropdown menu – allows you to set the background to black, grey, or a custom color (commented by Todd Patrick).

  25. Fill background or foreground color
    Opt + Delete (Backspace) = fill the layer with foreground color.
    Cmd + Delete (Backspace) = fill the layer with background color

    screenshot

    Update:
    Cmd + Shift + Delete (Backspace) = Fill non-transparent pixels with background color
    Opt + Shift + Delete (Backspace) = Fill non-transparent pixels with foreground color
    (commented by André Dion)

  26. Switch between document windows
    Ctrl + Tab will switch between document windows.

    screenshot

  27. Load layer transparent
    Cmd + click on the layer thumbnail will load its transparency.

    screenshot

  28. Scale proportionally from center
    When you are using the Marquee tools or Free Transform, hold down Opt + Shift + drag will scale proportionally from the center.

    screenshot

  29. Shortcut to Eyedropper
    If you have the Brush tool selected, hold down Opt key will quickly activate the Eyedropper tool. Hold down Opt + Shift will activate the Color Sampler Tool.

    screenshot

  30. Finally…
    Finally, if you want to check or set your own custom shortcuts, press Cmd + Opt + Shift + K will bring up the Keyboard Shortcuts panel.

    screenshot

Additional from the comments

  • In some dialog boxes, holding the Opt key will turn the “Cancel” button into a most useful “Reset”. (by Miguel Tavares)
  • To stroke a path, first select the path, then change to the brush tool, select a brush, and type Enter or Return. This works with all of the brush-like tools (eraser, clone, blur, etc.). (by buddhistMonkey)
  • To turn a path into a selection, type Command-Enter or Command-Return (doesn’t matter what tool is selected). If there is already a selection, then Command-Shift-Return will add your path’s shape to the selection, Command-Option-Return will subtract it, and Command-Option-Shift-Return will select the intersection. (by buddhistMonkey)
  • If you are adding a “Drop Shadow” layer effect, and you have the Layer Style dialog open to the Drop Shadow settings, you can move the shadow around by clicking and dragging in the image. This also works with the “Inner Shadow” effect. If you hold down the Option key, you can also adjust the Gradient Overlay, Pattern Overlay, and Satin effects by clicking and dragging. (by buddhistMonkey)

Do you know more shortcuts?

Do you know more Photoshop shortcuts that are not listed in this article? Please post them in the comment form. Make sure they are "secret" (not documented in the Photoshop menus).

706 Comments

1 33 34 35
  1. MAO
    Jul 1, 2012 @ 1:47 am

    it helps a lot, thanks for sharing

    Reply

  2. subbareddy
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 12:46 am

    IAM Learning Photoshop.
    These Tutorials are very much useeful
    Thanks for making this artical possible

    Reply

  3. Rainy
    Jul 25, 2012 @ 4:52 am

    Awesome tricks. :) Love them and thanks for sharing such a unique collection.

    Reply

  4. kamakshi
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 8:39 am

    thax for good suggestions

    Reply

  5. Dhinesh
    Aug 23, 2012 @ 7:38 am

    Its very helpful to beginers.
    Thks for your good work.

    Reply

  6. Marc
    Aug 23, 2012 @ 10:57 am

    thanks for sharing. These Tutorials are very much useeful
    Thanks for making this artical possible

    Reply

  7. j.ravi
    Aug 27, 2012 @ 3:49 am

    photoshop short key wort

    Reply

  8. j.ravi
    Aug 27, 2012 @ 3:50 am

    photoshop short key word

    Reply

  9. paskalip
    Aug 28, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

    nice sum. Here’re three more

    alt + [ and ] = navigate through layers

    with brush: alt + holding right click (in document area) + mouse movement =
    vertical changes brush hardness
    horizontal changes brush size

    shift + backspace = opens fill dialogue box

    Reply

  10. Ruslan
    Sep 4, 2012 @ 1:07 am

    Thanks a lot!

    Reply

  11. Theo
    Sep 7, 2012 @ 9:47 am

    Ctrl + F5 = Merge Visible

    An alternative to the shift + ctrl +E.

    Reply

  12. nianto
    Sep 9, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

    wow. thanks so much for this! so helpful

    Reply

  13. Aftab Alam
    Sep 16, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

    great app.

    Reply

  14. Nico
    Sep 21, 2012 @ 4:34 am

    Double click on the vignette of a Text Layer (white square with a “T”) and it will let you edit directly the text.
    Can be useful when the actual text is not very accessible in the working area.

    Reply

  15. ramesh
    Oct 2, 2012 @ 3:54 am

    i want to photoshop easy work. pls sent to how learn to photoshop.

    Reply

  16. Guillerming
    Nov 23, 2012 @ 6:45 am

    Hello!

    There is a nice way to modify the brush size and hardness.
    In photoshop for Mac:
    Select the brush tool and ctrl+alt+holding click : horizontal mouse move increases and decreases the brush size, vertical mouse move increases and decreases brush hardness.

    Zoom:
    alt + space : zoom out
    cmd + space : zoom in
    Any of this, hold mouse clicking and move the mouse horizontally.

    Workspace bg color:
    Spacebar + F : screen workspace bg color will be changing within a list color.

    Reply

  17. Rajiv
    Jan 31, 2013 @ 5:29 am

    good tutorial

    Reply

  18. obozypilkarskie.weebly.com
    Jun 4, 2013 @ 2:31 pm

    I absolutely love your website.. Excellent colors & theme.
    Did you develop this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m wanting to create my own blog and want to learn where you got this from or just what the theme is called. Cheers!

    Reply

  19. D Bryan
    Jun 10, 2013 @ 3:25 am

    Hi there,
    I have a problem when I’m trying to delete selected field and trying die cut a photo. I could do it easily on Windows by pressing ‘delete’. However, been struggling to do so when I’m using Mac. An advice on how to do is much appreciated. Thanks

    Reply

1 33 34 35

Leave a Reply