Photoshop Secret Shortcuts

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It is proven that by using software shortcuts can boost up productivity. Here are 30 secret Photoshop shortcuts that I?ve learned from years of experience. Well, what I mean by “secret” is that these shortcuts are not documented in the menus. Keep reading and you will find how these shortcuts can speed up your productivity. I bet you don?t know all of them.

Note: this article is written in Mac Photoshop format. If you are using PC, Cmd = Ctrl and Opt = Alt.

  1. Drag selection

    With the Marquee tool, drag on the document (do not release the mouse yet), now hold down Spacebar, it will let you drag the undefined selection.


  2. Navigate the document left or right

    Hold down the Cmd key and scroll up or down allows you to navigate the document left or right. For example, hold down Cmd + scroll up will navigate to right.


  3. Browse the font list

    Put your cursor in the font list dropdown, you can browse the font list by pressing arrow Up or Down key.


  4. Scale font size

    Select the text that you want to scale the font size, press Cmd + Shift + > or < to increase / decrease font size.


  5. Zoom with the scroll wheel

    You can zoom in / out by Cmd + Opt + scroll up or down.


  6. Drag to adjust numberic value

    Mouseover the input box, hold down Cmd + drag left or right to increase / decrease. Hold down Cmd + Opt or Shift key and drag can change the value in decimal or 10 interval. This shortcut works in all dialog palettes.


  7. Scroll to adjust numeric value

    Put the cursor in the input box, scroll up or down to increase / decrease value. This shortcut works in all dialog palettes.


  8. Arrow up / down to adjust numeric value

    Put the cursor in the input box, press arrow Up or Down to increase / decrease. Hold down Shift and press arrow Up or Down will change value in 10 interval.


  9. Zoom to 100%

    Double click on the Zoom tool will zoom document to 100%.


  10. Collapse or expand all layer groups

    You can collapse or expand all root-level layer groups by holding down Cmd + click on the triangle icon. Hold down Cmd + Opt + click on the triangle icon will collapse or expand all level layer groups.


  11. Show / hide in a row

    If you need to show / hide more than one layers, instead of clicking one by one, you can click on the visibility icon and drag in a row.


  12. Hide other layers

    Hold down Opt + click on the visibility icon will hide all other layers.


  13. Navigate layer blending mode

    Shift + “-” or “+” key allows you to navigate through the blending mode dropdown.


  14. Set specific blending mode

    Opt + Shift + C, N, M, S, D? allows to set layer to specific blending mode.

    For examples:

    Normal = Opt + Shift + N

    Screen = Opt + Shift + S

    Multiply = Opt + Shift + M

    Color = Opt + Shift + C


  15. Lock layer transparency

    Press forward slash (“/”) to lock layer transparency.


  16. Load Channel selection

    You probably know that Cmd + number keys (1, 2, 3) will activate the channels in sequent. Press Cmd + Opt + number keys will load the selection. For example, press Cmd + Opt + 4 will load Alpha channel 1.


  17. Tool panels

    Press Tab to toggle tool panels.


  18. Precise cursor

    Caps lock will display tool cursor in precise mode.


  19. Navigate the tool list

    You can navigate through the tool list by pressing Shift + tool shorcut. For example: B = Brush tool, if you press Shift + B again, you will switch to Pencil tool.


  20. Increase / decrease brush size

    With the Brush tool selected, you can increase / decrease the brush size by pressing [ or ] key (square bracket key). Press Shift + [ or ] will increase / decrease brush hardness.


  21. Opacity

    You can set the layer opacity by pressing the number keys (ie. 1 = 10%, 2 = 20%?). When you have the brush tool selected, pressing the number keys will adjust the brush opacity.


  22. Duplicate layer

    There are several shortcuts to duplicate layers.

    1. You can hold down Cmd + Opt + drag to duplicate the active layer.

    2. Cmd + Opt + arrow keys (Up, Down, Left, Right).

    3. Cmd + J will duplicate the active layer in exact position.

    4. Hold down Opt + drag within the Layers palette can also duplicate layers.


  23. Copy visible and paste in a new layer

    Press Cmd + Opt + Shift + E will copy the visible layers and paste in a new layer.


  24. Change workspace background

    By default Photoshop use grey for the workspace background color. You can change that by:

    1. select your favorite color

    2. choose the Paint Bucket tool

    3. Hold down Shift + click on the working area (outside the document area)


  25. Fill background or foreground color

    Opt + Delete (Backspace) = fill the layer with foreground color.

    Cmd + Delete (Backspace) = fill the layer with background color


  26. Switch between document windows

    Ctrl + Tab will switch between document windows.


  27. Load layer transparent

    Cmd + click on the layer thumbnail will load its transparency.


  28. Scale proportionally from center

    When you are using the Marquee tools or Free Transform, hold down Opt + Shift + drag will scale proportionally from the center.


  29. Shortcut to Eyedropper

    If you have the Brush tool selected, hold down Opt key will quickly activate the Eyedropper tool. Hold down Opt + Shift will activate the Color Sampler Tool.


  30. Finally?

    Finally, if you want to check or set your own custom shortcuts, press Cmd + Opt + Shift + K will bring up the Keyboard Shortcuts panel.


Do you know more shortcuts?

Do you know more Photoshop shortcuts that are not listed in this article? Please post them in the comment form. Make sure they are “secret” (not documented in the Photoshop menus).

9 thoughts on “Photoshop Secret Shortcuts

  1. mynthon


    drag layer on “new layer” button to duplicate it.

    [ and ] – decrease/increace brush size.

    shift+[ and shift+] – change brush “softness”.

    x – switch foreground/background color.

    select layers and drag them on to “new folder” button to create new folder with those layers inside.

    drag layer on to “mask” button to create mask based on layer transparency.

    press “q” when you have some area selected. it will activate “quick mask”. Now you can use brush to change selection.

  2. oioi

    thanx for this post, even if a lot of don’t work on french photoshop :/
    like layer transparency and some other like brush size.. too bad for me, i’m sad.. ๐Ÿ˜‰ anyway i don’t know other undocumented.. great post !! thanx

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