Photoshop can be intimidating and, if you aren’t careful, you can waste a lot of time with tasks that have quick shortcuts. As someone that has used Photoshop for over 10 years I want to share with you the shortcuts that I use daily. These aren’t the only shortcuts I use, but they’re certainly some of my favorites. I would consider these to be essentials for anyone that’s new to Photoshop or someone looking for ways to cut down the time they spend on design projects.
This article is all about saving time so let’s get started!
This is definitely an essential shortcut! Easily switch between project windows without ever touching your mouse. This is even more useful if you have multiple projects going at one time and your Project Bar is too full to show every window.
I use this shortcut constantly. Sometimes looking at a project at various sizes is important and it also allows you to zoom in and really work on the details.
This one will be a game changer if you have multiple offset layers or if you bring in a file that is significantly larger than your project canvas. If nothing is selected in your project and you use this shortcut it will fit your canvas to your window. If you have a layer selected with Free Transform (Command + T or CTRL + T) it will reveal your transform handles.
This shortcut is especially important if you’re going to be doing any editing to the layer that is destructive. Obviously, working with non-destructive layers and masks is ideal but there will be times that editing the layer itself os unavoidable. In those cases, quickly creating a copy to use as a backup is a great idea.
I personally don’t do any design work without the Ruler on. It makes setup and arrangement so much easier. It also gives your guides something the snap to.
This isn’t a shortcut but I’m adding it as a bonus because it’s really important to know if you’re going to use the Ruler. You can right click on the ruler the change the units of measurement.
You could always click the “New Layer” icon at the bottom of your layers panel but this is much faster. After completing the shortcut, a “New Layer” dialog box will pop up and you can name the layer before it’s added. You can also setup the Blending Mode and Opacity before it’s even added. Just a quick note though, the Color option isn’t a color fill for the layer. This just gives a color to the tab beside the layer. For example, Here is what it would look like it you chose “Orange” as your color.
This is a great shortcut to avoid having to mess with the Text Options box. It’s easy to spend a lot of time with these adjustments in Photoshop but using a few shortcuts like this one can help you cut back.
Kerning is the space between characters and it’s such an important step to creating professional looking designs. Some texts won’t need adjustments but major typographic areas like headers, titles, and text focal points of the design should be properly kerned so that everything is balanced.
This shortcut is especially helpful if you’re using Layer Masks or a standard Gradient in your design. You could always click the little “Default” icon at the top left of your color palette but a quick keystroke is much faster. Also, you can toggle between colors by using “X”.
If you’re looking for an in depth tutorial on Layer Masks, I highly recommend this PHLEARN video. They also have tons of other videos specifically for Photoshop that you might enjoy.
I know this one seems a bit advanced and difficult to memorize but if you’re like me, you use the “Export As…” saving method a lot. It’s a great tool that allows you to save your file in a variety of different file formats and you can even scale the size as you save instead of adjusting the project itself. Once you have this shortcut memorized, it’ll make your work flow much faster!