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5 Photoshop keyboard shortcuts everyone should learn

My top 5 favorite Photoshop Keyboard shortcuts (hotkeys)

Everyone loves getting things done quickly and these tips will help you.

When you watch a real Photoshop pro work, you will notice that they make use of keyboard shortcuts as much as possible. While a less-experienced Photoshop user is digging around in the menus, the pro is tapping keys and getting things done rapidly and efficiently. It’s not unusual to be a couple of keystrokes ahead of your computer. How do you learn all these? This tutorial is a good place to start. Also, if you watch and read my tutorials here at PhotoshopCAFE you will discover a ton of shortcuts and tips in every tutorial. I have been writing the tips column for Photoshop User Magazine, every month for about 14 years or so and have learned a few tips in that time. I hold nothing back and I’m very happy to share them all with you. Watch this video to see a few of my favorites in action, and Ill also add a few here. I’ll try and return and keep this page updated. Feel free to add your favorites in the comments, bookmark and share this page with everyone you know 🙂

Mac vs Windows

The keys are the same on both, but there is a slight difference in some keys, this is why I write things like Alt/Option.

Windows – Mac

  • Alt=Option
  • Ctrl=Cmd
  • Right-Click=Control
  • Backspace=Delete

Modifier Keys

Alt/Option: Offers alternative functions, such as creating a mask that is filled with black, vs white.

Ctrl/Cmd: Used in conjunction with other keys, launches tools such as curves etc.

Shift: The constraint tool. Maintains proportions while scaling, constrains movement etc.


Some Useful Shortcuts

  • Ctrl/Cmd + T = Free Transform
  • Ctrl/Cmd + Backspce/Delete = Fill with Background Color
  • Alt/Option + Backspce/Delete = Fill with Foreground Color
  • Ctrl/Cmd + J = Copy Layer
  • Ctrl/Cmd + M = Curves
  • Ctrl/Cmd + L = Levels
  • Q = Quickmask
  • X = reset foreground/background color
  • Ctrl/Cmd + D = deselect
  • Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + Alt/Option + E = Create Composite Layer
  • Ctrl/Cmd + G = Create Group

See more tips here

Thanks for checking this out.

Great to see you here at the CAFE



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19 responses to “5 Photoshop keyboard shortcuts everyone should learn”

  1. Colin
    Did you ever do a lesson on making a video of the desktop? Are you using an app for yours. When I do it in quicktime/file/new screen recording, I get parts of the desktop in the final. I need to do a motion clip on my new App, “camera-storyboard”. Thank you
    Dick Reed

  2. Excellent website – I am an intermediate skill level user in the UK of retirement age. All being well I hope to buy some of your tutorials when I am clear of various ‘fire sale’ problems!

    The Mac v PC keyboard key translator is very useful. Many thanks

  3. I use shift plus f5 to open the content aware fill. It is very handy.
    Thanks for the keyboard shortcuts. I didn’t know you can click on the object on the screen directly while holding down CTRL and using the move tool (v) and that would select the layer. With the move tool selected and auto select you can click on the area in the screen you want to activate to determine which layer it is on. I thought you had to click on the layer while holding ctrl and that would show the marching ants, I.e. select it.

  4. Colin: Thanks for the shortcup recap.
    With regards to Dick Reed’s question on a desktop video recorder, Filmora by Wondershare is a great app.

  5. The ones I use more frequently are:
    1) Ctrl + Z = Undo
    2) Ctrl + Alt + Z = Step Backwards
    3) Ctrl + Alt + Shift + N = Create a new blank layer
    4) Alt + ] = Scroll upwards through the layers
    5) Alt + [ = Scroll downwards through the layers
    6) Ctrl + ] = Moves a layer upwards
    7) Ctrl + [ = Moves a layer downwards
    8) Alt + , = Jump to bottom most layer
    9) Alt + . = Jump to top most layer

  6. My number one go to is:- go to EDIT – KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS and then go to IMAGE- CROP and use alt-ctrl-/ to crop a marquee

  7. My most often used keyboard shortcuts are: J for Spot Healing Brush; S for Clone Stamp; Ctrl+Space bar too enlarge and Alt+Space bar to reduce image size on screen; Ctrl+U to desaturate; : Ctl+I to invert a Selection: as well as several that you showed in this tutorial. Thank you for the Ctl+T shortcut.

  8. Hello Colin,
    Thank you for an amazing web site from a very talented man, I am learning the art of Photoshop & this is amazing

  9. Hello… Can anyone help with my situation? I just downloaded PS CC2019, and found that my clone-tool no longer works with the Option-click for ‘selecting’ my target source. I get an error message that says “Could not use the clone stamp because the area to clone has not been defined (option-click to define a source point)”.
    Nor does my keyboard S key select the Clone Stamp tool.

    • Make sure you are using the clone stamp and not a different tool that is stacked and that you have “use all layers” selected

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