After working with Photoshop so many years, all tools and shortcuts seem to be so familiar that I forget how important they are in my work process. In the beginning, I was always eager to learn new ways to use the tools and new shortcuts that would help me become more efficient. In a future article I will talk more about Photoshop tools, but today is all about shortcuts. Here is my list of the most useful PS keyboard shortcuts:
We all know that you can access the Move tool by pressing the V Key, but the fun fact is that you can access Move on the fly, by holding down the Ctrl (Control) Key, on release you will get back to the previous selected tool. Pretty quick, right?
2. Drag & Zoom
An awesome fast way to zoom in or out, is by holding Ctrl + Space + Click and Drag Left (to zoom out) or Drag Right (to zoom in). You might find more easy to use Ctrl + “+” or Ctrl + “-“.. either way, you get the job done. Bonus: Double click on the Zoom tool will show you the image as its real size and double click on the Hand tool will fit the window.
3. Brush Size and Hardness
The size and hardness of the brush can easily be changed by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Right Click dragging your mouse Right/Left to change the size and Up/Down to change the hardness. Another way to change the size of the brush is by using the right and left Bracket Keys (  ).
4. Switch Foreground / Background Colours
Fastest way to switch between the selected colours, press the X Key.
5. Merge All Visible Layers to a New Layer
It would be preferable to keep all layers editable all the time, but sometimes you need to merge them together in order to add some special effects. In this case, you can convert them all into one Smart object or use Ctrl + Alt + E keyboard shortcut to make a duplicate merged layer.
6. Invert Colors of Selected Layer or Layer Mask
I mostly use this command for inverting the colors of a mask, so it’s a fast way to invert visible parts of a layer: Ctrl + I.
7. Mask View
A great way to clean up the mask after you save it from a selection, is using the Mask View Mode: Alt + Click on a Layer Mask. Same command will switch back to Normal View after you are done.
- Matthew McConaugheys mask for the Interstellar poster I made. You might want to check out that article.
8. Disable Mask
To disable a mask, use Shift + Click on a Layer Mask.
9. Disable Selection
To quickly disable a selection, use: Ctrl + D. If you want to keep the selection, but you need to see the layer without the marching ants, use: Ctrl + H. In the case you disabled the mask by mistake, you can easily undo by using Shift + Ctrl + D.
10. Text Tool Shortcuts
All caps for text: Shift + Ctrl + K (you need to write without caps lock to be able to us this feature).
Tracking and Kerning: Alt + Left and Right Arrow Keys. With this command you can equalize the distance between characters. If you select a word, a line or a whole paragraph then you change the Tracking and if you click between two characters you change the Kerning.
Baseline Shift: Alt + Shift + Up and Down Arrow Keys to use one text layer but have different positions for the text.
I hope these will help you become much faster and productive. Don’t stress too much if you forget some of them, you can always come back and read them again. Anyway, I know for sure, that if you use them often enough, you will learn them without any struggle. I did!
Let me know your thoughts and feel free to include some other useful shortcuts in the comments section.
[whohit]PS 10 fast shortcuts[/whohit]