Useful Keyboard Shortcuts for Photoshop CC

Edit images like a pro with these shortcuts

Man using graphics software on laptop

lechatnoi / Getty Images

Keyboard shortcuts speed up repetitive actions and improve the image manipulation process by reducing mouse movements and clicks. The Adobe Creative Cloud solution, like most major software implementations, supports a variety of key combinations.

Information in this article applies to all versions of Photoshop Creative Cloud 2014 and later. Commands and menu items may differ in other versions of Photoshop.

Space Bar for Move Tool

Pressing the space bar temporarily switches to the hand for panning your document no matter which tool is active (except for the text tool in typing mode).

You can also use the space bar to move selections and shapes as you are creating them. As you start drawing a selection or shape, press the space bar while holding down the left mouse button and reposition the selection or shape.

The Mac uses the Command and Option keys in place of Windows' Ctrl and Alt keys, respectively.

Use the space bar to zoom in and out of the document by pressing it along with other keys. To zoom in, press Space-Ctrl (or Command on a Mac), and then click. To zoom out, press Space-Alt (or Option on a Mac) and click.

Caps Lock for Precise Cursors

The caps lock key changes the cursor from a crosshair to brush shape and vice versa. Use this shortcut if you want a more precise cursor or for tools where it might be hard to figure out the "active" part of the selector, like Lasso and Crop.

Zooming In and Out

You can zoom in and out of your document without using the space bar. The quickest way is to hold the Alt key while rolling the scroll wheel on your mouse, but if you don't have a scroll wheel or want to zoom in and out in precise increments, the following shortcuts are worth remembering:

  • Ctrl/Command-plus: zoom in
  • Ctrl/Command-minus: zoom out
  • Ctrl/Command-zero: fits the document to your screen
  • Ctrl/Command-1: zooms to Exact Pixels

Undo and Redo

The Ctrl/Command-Z shortcut performs "undo" in most programs, but in Photoshop, that keyboard shortcut only goes back one step in your editing process. If you want to undo multiple steps, use the "Step Backward" shortcut. On a PC, it's Alt-Ctrl-Z. Press Command-Option-Z on a Mac. You can keep pressing this command as many times as you want to undo several steps at once.

To redo steps, use the "Step Forward" shortcut. It's the same as Step Backward, but you add Shift to the command.

Deselect a Selection

After you've made a selection, press Ctrl/Command-D to deselect an item.

Change Brush Size

The square bracket keys increase or decrease the brush size. By adding the Shift key, you can adjust brush hardness.

  • [: decrease brush size
  • Shift-[: decrease brush hardness or soften brush edge
  • ]: increase brush size
  • Shift-]: increase brush hardness

Fill a Selection

Filling areas with color is a common Photoshop action, so it helps to know the shortcuts for filling with the foreground and background colors.

  • Alt/Option-Delete: fill with the foreground color
  • Ctrl/Command-Delete: fill with the background color
  • Shift-Delete: opens the fill dialog box
  • D: reset color picker to default colors (black foreground, white background)
  • X: swap foreground and background colors

Add the Shift key to preserve transparency while filling with the foreground or background color.

Emergency Reset

When you're working in a dialog box and get off track, you don't have to click Cancel and then reopen the tool to start over. Hold your Alt/Option key down, and in most dialog boxes, the "Cancel" button will change to a "Reset" one so you can get back to where you started.

Selecting Layers

Selecting layers is easier to do using your mouse, but if you ever need to record an action with layer selection changes, you'll want to use the keyboard shortcuts.

If you select layers with the mouse while recording an action, the recording uses that layer name. So later, when you try to run the action, and it can't find that specific layer name, the action won't work. When you select layers using keyboard shortcuts while recording an action, however, the action records it as a forward or backward selection instead of a fixed layer name. Here are the shortcuts for selecting layers with the keyboard:

  • Alt/Option-[: select the layer below the currently selected layer (select backward)
  • Alt/Option-]: select the layer above the currently selected layer (select forward)
  • Alt/Option-comma: select the bottom-most layer (select back layer)
  • Alt/Option-period: select the top-most layer (select front layer)

Add Shift to these shortcuts to select several layers.