Essential Photoshop keyboard Shortcuts

One of Photoshop’s best features to learn is its huge list of fully customisable keyboard shortcuts. Almost all of the program’s functions can be accessed quickly by pressing various combinations of keys and once you learn those shortcuts your workflow will speed up immensely. You can even make up your own for your most frequently-used operations.

You’ll find the Keyboard Shortcut preferences menu at the bottom of the Edit menu, although naturally it has its own keyboard shortcut, Alt+Shift+Ctrl+K. You’ll find an exhaustive list of all Photoshop functions, broken down into category headings matching the names of the main menus. You’ll find that many operations already have their own default shortcuts. You can easily change these, or even add your own new ones.

To apply a shortcut to an operation, first locate it in the list and then click in the space to the right of the name. You’ll see a small text window appear and the next key or combination of keys that you press will appear here. If the combination is already used by another shortcut you’ll see a notification warning you of this and asking if you want to proceed with the change. If you click Accept the new shortcut will be applied immediately. Take care when making your own shortcuts that you don’t accidentally overwrite some useful defaults.

Useful Default Photoshop Shortcuts

Here are some of the more commonly-used shortcuts for image editing. There are many more of course, but it’s worth taking the time to memorise these ones. You’ll work efficiently and they’ll make your life a whole lot easier.

On a PC the Ctrl key is used for most shortcuts. On a Mac computer the Ctrl key is replaced by the Cmd key on a standard Mac keyboard.


Learning the keyboard shortcuts will speed up your editing and you can also set up your own in the Edit menu. Just be aware of creating ‘shortcut collisions’ where a custom shortcut is the same as a current default one.

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Russ Ware

Russ has been testing, reviewing and writing guides for tech since the heady days of Windows 95 and the Sega Saturn. A self-confessed (and proud) geek about all things tech, if it has LED's, a screen, beeps or has source code, Russ will want to master it (and very likely take it apart to see how it works...)

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