There are so many shortcuts in Photoshop. But not all are equally useful, as if one does something only really rarely, it’s just not worth it to learn the shortcut. But some, are just essential, and once you learn them, you will be using them constantly. This is more for beginners, for those who are only starting in Photoshop, as I hope everyone who worked already longer with Photoshop, knows all of them :)

These are also the ones I use the most while editing my photos in Photoshop. For those of you who use a Mac, you just have to replace Ctrl with Cmd.

Space – pan

I think this is the very first shortcut everyone has to learn. When you hold the space-bar, the cursor will change into a hand, and you can move the image around. This is so much quicker than looking for the pan too in the toolbox, or zooming out and back in into the image.

Passing red buses

Ctrl + Space – zoom in

Another thing that will really help you to move around the photo. Holding Ctrl + Space will switch you to the Zoom in tool. If you only click with the mouse, you will zoom in. But if you hold the left mouse button at the same time, and move the mouse cursor up and down, you will zoom in/zoom out. I also like to click the right mouse button while hoding Ctrl + Space, to open a selection menu, from where I can quickly choose Fit to screen, to see the whole image.

D – reset colors

This one very important shortcut, especially when working with masks and brushes. Pressing D will reset your foreground color to black, and background color to white. Once you know this, you will never ever again need to open the color picker to get these two colors :)

X – switch colors

This one works together with the previous one. When you start using luminance masks and painting into them, you very often need to change from black to white and back. And here where X comes in. Pressing it will switch the foreground and background color. While masking, you will use this very often.

F – full screen

This one is more about the interface, but also very helpful. Pressing F will switch you into the full-screen mode. There are three states for it, that you circle trough. Normal mode, full screen and full screen without the toolbars. If you have a smaller screen, this shortcut is a must.

Shift + Backspace – fill dialog

Fill dialog is normally used when you want to fill a selection or the whole image with a single color, but for me it’s much more useful to use content aware fill on a selection. I just select an area, hit Shift + Backspace, select content aware fill (if you don’t change the selection, Photoshop remembers the last one used) and hit enter. This is probably the quickest way to get rid of unwanted objects in a photo.

Ctrl + E – merge layer

Merge layer will take the layer you are currently on and merge it with the layer under it. I use this mostly, when doing small retouching edits on a photo, and I just create a new copy to do the edit, or do it on an empty layer. Once I’m done, I just hit the shortcut to merge the edit back into the layer.
London City hall

Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E – merge visible into new layer

This one is not so easily to press, but doubly useful for that. What it does, it will create a new layer for you, which will include a merged copy of all the layers under it. This is very usefull if you need to do an edit that requires a pixel layer, or you want to use a filter effect on the whole image, including all the adjustment layers.

Ctrl + D – deselect

This shortcut any selection you currently have. It very useful as if one uses masking, and luminosity masks, one tends to work with the selection hidden. So it can often happen that you sill have a selection and don’t know about it. Just hitting this shortcut will get rid of it immediately.

Ctrl + Shift + I – invert selection

Knowing this one is will help mostly when using masks. Knowing how to quickly invert a selection can streamline the editing process greatly. Most of the times, if you don’t have to open the Photoshop menus, the more efficiently you work.

Ctrl + Alt + Z – step backward

The undo does not work exactly the same in Photoshop as in other programs. In Photoshop, just hitting Ctlr + Z will let you go back only one step. If you hit it again, you will just redo that one step. If you want to go more back, you have to use this longer shortcut. With this you can go back through the whole available history of your edits.

And thats all for this list :)

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