Photoshop can be quite overwhelming when first starting out, especially with its wide array of functions and features sorted into hundreds of menu items. These Photoshop shortcuts aim to help with just this, and hopefully save you some time as well.
1. Clear workspace instantly (TAB)
Clicking TAB once will clear all your palettes, and clicking it again will restore it. Very useful when you’re working with space constraints (e.g. netbooks, smaller laptops, etc.)
2. Save for web (SHIFT + CTRL + ALT + S)
I cannot emphasize enough how useful this is, especially as a web developer. Launching this option gives you the choice of saving as JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP – all with the sole purpose of optimizing size for web display.
3. Step backwards / multi-step undo (CTRL + ALT + Z)
Unlike most software, CTRL + Z in Photoshop only goes back one step – and one step only. Being the error prone Photoshop buffoon that I am, this serves me little to no use at all – but thankfully, there is a “Step Backwards” function that goes back multiple steps. Veteran Photoshop users are familiar with this, but for all the rest of us, this is an indispensable piece of knowledge.
For the Photoshop equivalent of Redo, use CTRL + SHIFT + Z.
4. Transform (CTRL + T)
While this is relatively well known, the mass majority of people starting out with Photoshop are without this tool, and had I known about this back when I started out – oh, the hours I would have saved. Essentially, you can just use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to select an area, click CTRL + T and transform away: resize, move – anything.
5. Photoshop Font Preview w/o Highlight (CTRL + H)
Rather than going through each and every single font, just select the text, click CTRL + H to disable highlighting, move the cursor to the font dropdown box, and use your up and down arrows to navigate between fonts. Repeat and enjoy.
6. Fill with background / foreground color (CTRL + BACKSPACE / ALT + BACKSPACE)
Another famous and well known shortcut, but useful nonetheless. To use it, select an area or an element, click CTRL + BACKSPACE to fill with the background color, or ALT + BACKSPACE to fill with the foreground color.
7. Duplicate current layer (CTRL + J)
Simply does what you think it does: duplicates the current layer.
8. Select all / deselect all (CTRL + A / CTRL + D)
To select the entire canvas, use CTRL + A, and to to deselect, use CTRL + D – simple, useful, and easy to use.
9. Merge layers (CTRL + E)
This will merge selected layers, while CTRL + SHIFT + E will merge all visible layers.
10. Terminate Photoshop (CTRL + ALT + DEL)
Remember those days of banging on CTRL + ALT + DEL whenever your computer had a problem? I don’t know, maybe it’s just be, but that’s what this reminds me of. It doesn’t pretty much what you’d expect it to – but remember, save before terminating.
So one can say that this is a brief list of Photoshop shortcuts at best, but keep in mind this is a hand picked list of ones that are most useful (according to me, at least). There are far more out there, and a simple Google search should yield such, but with the ones listed in this post, you should be good to go. What are Photoshop shortcuts that you use religiously?
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