Photoshop shortcuts are an essential part of any efficient workflow, allowing you to perform a vast array of actions in the blink of an eye. This app is blessed with such an exhaustive list that it can be quite a daunting task for any beginner wanting to get started. Some basic shortcuts are recognizable from across other software, while others are so niche that you might only ever use them once.
We have sifted through Adobe’s entire list and handpicked some of the most useful – helping you control layers, quickly change brushes, edit text and apply quick adjustments. There are also shortcuts to improve file management, make selections and aid 3D work. With practice, they will soon become muscle memory and you’ll wonder how you ever did without them!
(Prefer a quick visual guide instead? Take a look at our handy Photoshop shortcuts cheat sheet.)
01. Show and hide the layers panel
- WINDOWS: F7
- MAC: F7
Quickly show and hide the Layers panel easily by pressing F7 on your keypad. This will also show and hide the Channels and Paths panels because they are grouped together.
02. Scroll through the Layers
- MAC: Option [ ]
- WINDOWS: Alt [ ]
To scroll through the layers quickly, hold Alt/Option and use left and right bracket keys [ ] to scroll through: right is up and left is down.
03. Create New layer
- MAC: Shift+Cmd+N
- WINDOWS: Shift+Ctrl+N
Get started on your latest project in next to no time with this handy shortcut that instantly whips up a new layer and dialogue box.
04. Create new layer behind selected layer
- MAC: Ctrl+New Layer icon
- WINDOWS: Cmd+New Layer Icon
Mastering the new layer shortcut is a doddle, so once you're ready to drop in a layer behind it, be sure to use this shortcut.
05. Fill a layer
- MAC: Alt+Backspace (foreground) or Cmd+Backspace (background)
- WINDOWS: Alt+Delete (foreground) or Ctrl+Delete (background)
This command will fill an empty later with the current foreground or background colour.
06. Flatten layers
- MAC: Cmd+Alt+Shift+E
- WINDOWS: Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E
Add a new, empty layer to the top of your stack, select it and use the above command to flatten the layers in an image to sharpen the result. This adds a flattened version of the image to the new layer but leaves the stacked layers intact too.
07. Merge visible layers
- MAC: Cmd+Shift+E
- WINDOWS: Ctrl+Shift+E
This command enables you to merge all your existing layers to create one new layer. Beware! Once merged, they're extremely difficult to separate.
08. Stamp down selected layers
- MAC: Cmd+Alt+E
- WINDOWS: Ctrl+Alt+E
Once you've selected your layers, use this command to merge them into just one layer. To see them merged as a new layer, simply add in the Shift modifier. This is useful if you need to make adjustments later on.
09. New layer via copy
- MAC: Cmd+J
- WINDOWS: Ctrl+J
Use this command to create a new layer from an existing one. Sound complicated? Give it a go!
10. New layer via cut
- MAC: Cmd+Shift+J
- WINDOWS: Ctrl+Shift+J
Like creating a new layer via copy, this command will create a new layer with the selected image area in it. The only difference via cut is that it will remove the selected image portion from the original image.
11. Bring layer to top of stack
- MAC: Cmd+Shift+]
- WINDOWS: Ctrl+Shift+]
Here, you can move your preferred layer to the top of the stack of images you're working with in Photoshop.
12. Send layer to bottom of stack
- MAC: Cmd+Shift+[
- WINDOWS: Ctrl+Shift+[
Yep, this is pretty self-explanatory. It does exactly the same as the command above, but in the opposite direction.
13. Bring layer forward
- MAC: Cmd+]
- WINDOWS: Ctrl+]
This Photoshop shortcut enables you to bring any selected image to the front.
14. Send layer back
- MAC: Cmd+[
- WINDOWS: Ctrl+[
If you decide to change your mind, you can always select the image and send it to the back of the pile.
15. Copy multiple layers
- MAC: Shift+Cmd+C
- WINDOWS: Shift+Ctrl+C
Draw a selection, then use this command to take every layer into the clipboard, rather than just the current layer selection.
16. Edit layer style
- MAC AND WINDOWS: Double-click layer
Quick access to style controls, such as Drop Shadow, Bevel & Emboss and Color Overlay.
Next page: Selections