Photoshop Fill Shortcuts

Photoshop Fill Tool Shortcuts

The Keyboard Shortcuts menu is shown.
Shortcuts are found all over the place in Photoshop and you can even create your own shortcuts.

Shortcuts in any program make projects just a bit easier – you don't have to hunt for menus or even pause too long from the task at hand. You may even have seen them in use. For example you access a Photoshop Video Tutorial on YouTube and the presenter seems to be magically switiching tools and opening windows and panels with no mouse movement. The odds are pretty good the presenter is using a bunch of shortcuts he or she has committed to memory. In fact, once you start using them the odds are very good you may even start to forget where the menu item attached to that shortcut is found in the Photoshop menus.

Here are a few of my favorites for filling layers in Photoshop and a few other related tasks. You don't have to go to the palette and use a Paintbucket tool. Just commit your favorite shortcuts to memory and let your fingers loose on the keyboard.

Shortcuts are shown beside menu items and, depending on your Operating System, you may need to press Modifier keys as well. The common modifier keys are:

  • Command (Mac or Control(PC)
  • Option (Mac) or Alt (PC)
  • Shift key.

For example, to deselect a selection the Keyboard Command on a Mac is Command-D. On the PC it is Ctrl-D.

You also may have noticed those little Tool Tips that appear when you roll the cursor over a Tool. For example if you place the cursor over the magnifying Glass you will see - Zoom Tool (Z) . The letter "Z" is the key to press to select the Zoom Tool.

Fill Layers 

  • You can fill a layer with the foreground color by using Alt + Backspace in Windows or Option + Delete on a Mac. 
  • Fill a layer with the background color using Ctrl + Backspace in Windows or Command + Delete on Mac. 

Both these shortcuts will fill sections with color or change the color of vector shape layers and text. 

Preserve Transparency 

  • You can add the Shift key to the shortcut to preserve transparency while you're filling. For example, use Shift + Ctrl + Backspace for a background color. This shortcut only fills the areas containing pixels. 
  • Add the Shift key to preserve transparency when filling from history. This shortcut doesn't work in Elements. 

Get to the Edit > Fill Dialog

  • Use Shift + Backspace for Windows or Shift + Delete for Mac to open the Edit > Fill dialog for other fill options. 

Swapping or Undoing Colors 

  • Use the X key to swap foreground and background colors. 
  • Use the D key – an easy way to remember this one is that D stands for "default" – to reset foreground or background colors back to black and white.  
  • You can also use Ctrl + Alt + Shift in Windows or Command + Option + Shift on Mac while you're loading Photoshop if you want to go back to the default settings and user interface. Just hold these buttons while the program is loading.

Other Handy Shortcuts 

  • Use Ctrl + Alt + Backspace in Windows or Command + Delete on Mac to fill from the active history state.
  • Pressing a number key when an object is selected will increase or decrease opacity by 10 per cent. For example, pressing the 1 key will reduce opacity to 10%. Pressing the 0 key returns the selection to 100% opacity.
  • Press the I key select the Eyedropper for sampling colours.
  • Using Shift plus any numeric key changes opacity and will fill a selected layer. It can also change the opacity and fill of the tool if you're using a drawing tool. Photoshop CS5 lets you perform this shortcut option on more than one layer at a time. 
  • Use Command + I for Mac or Ctrl + I in Windows to quickly invert parts of a layer when you invert colors of a layer mask. 
  • Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E in Windows or Command + Option + Shift + E on Mac allows you to keep all your layers but merge them so you can convert them into a flattened layer. This shortcut will also allow you to duplicate a merged layer.
  • Don't forget that you can create your own Custom Shortcuts by selecting Edit> Keyboard Shortcuts.

    Here are a few other Photoshop shortcuts that you might find useful:

    Updated by Tom Green