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10 Super Useful Photoshop Shortcuts

Written by ajdf on August 29th, 2011 7:54 pm 2 Comments
Posted in Techniques

Here are some of the most useful Photoshop shortcuts I have found myself using time and time again. This post will serve as a reminder to myself and hopefully might help someone else in the future too…

Most shortcuts are backwards or forwards compatible, however: I am currently using Adobe Photoshop CS4 on a PC.

As a former MAC user I sometimes got confused about which key is ‘Cmd’ and which key is ‘Opt’ so the first diagram here explains which one is which and their PC equivalents.

Image showing that "Alt" on PC = "Option" on Mac and "Ctrl" on PC = "Cmd" on Mac

  1. Duplicate current selected item to new layer: “Alt” + drag with left mouse click.  So useful I use it all the time. Works in a lot of design related software too.
  2. Make a snapshot copy of the current state of your document (all visible layers and effects): “Ctrl” + “Alt” + “Shift” + “E” = all flattened on to a new layer above your currently selected layer.

    Image showing CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + E will copy all layers to one flat layer at top

  3. Decrease or Increase Brush Size Quickly: When using any ‘Brush-like tool’ (Brush, Eraser, Clone etc): “[" decreases brush size, "]” increases brush size. Awesomely useful in many situations, saves so much time.

    Image showing: Brush Tool plus "[" or "]" increases / decreases brush size

  4. Decrease or Increase Brush Hardness Quickly: As above but “Shift” + “[" / "]” = Increase / Decrease brush hardness.

    Brush + "Shift" + "[" or "]" will increase or decrease brush hardness

  5. Save for web:“Ctrl” + “Shift” + “Alt” + “S” = Save for web. Most people prob know that already as it says on the file menu; but so useful it had to be mentioned.

    Image showing that 'Save For Web can be accessed via SHIFT + CTRL + ALT + S

  6. Fill a layer with colour / pattern: “Shift” + “F5″. Love it.

    Image showing that Shift + F5 brings up the 'Fill Layer' dialogue

    Image showing that Shift + F5 brings up the 'Fill Layer' dialogue

  7. New layer via copy: Select a bit of the layer you want on a new layer with marquee, then: “Ctrl” + “J”.

    "CTRL" + "J" Copy selected area to new layer

    "CTRL" + "J" Copy selected area to new layer

  8. Moving around a document fast: Whilst in any tool mode: Hold “Space-bar” gives you the handy hand tool… Then press “Ctrl” and “Space-bar” gives you Zoom In, add “Alt” to Zoom Out. If you get used to these, it feels good as it saves a lot of hassle!Image showing various shortcuts
  9. Duplicate layer in free transform mode: “Ctrl” + “Alt” + “T” to duplicate layer and enter straight into free transform mode.

    Hold CTRL + ALT + T to duplicate a layer to Free Transform mode

  10. Undo several steps beyond the previous ( like history ): “Ctrl” + “Alt” + “Z”

    CTRL + ALT + Z = multiple undo level access

That is all for the moment. If you have any more to add to the list, please do.

2 Responses

  1. James Defo says:

    Some useful tips there but the only 2 I wasn’t already aware of are tip number 10, multiple undo, and tip 2, the snapshot command. They are both really useful so thanks for sharing them and illustrating them so clearly…!

  2. ajdf says:

    What a bizarre question…

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