Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts

I think keyboard shortcuts deserve their own tutorial because they can greatly enhance your workflow and control over almost any application. Photoshop sails through tasks much quicker when operating in this method.

There are many key combinations available, and the Photoshop online help is a great resource for finding out about them all. For our purposes, however, I am only going to share with you those keys that have gotten me through many years of tight deadlines and seemingly loony graphics requests.


For panning around documents, I instinctual hold the spacebar down and drag with the mouse. Holding down the space bar switches your current tool to the hand (pan) tool until you release it. It's a great way to zip around an image, and much faster for precise movements than using scrollbars.

Zooming about

Holding down the Ctrl key and pressing the plus and minus keys on the number pad quickly zooms in and out, respectively. It's a fantastic way to pinpoint trouble or get a wider view without mousing all over creation.


The toolbox has its own set of shortcuts, each making fairly good sense, at least to me. The ones I use the most are:

Key Toolbox item
V Move tool
M Marquee (selection) tool
I Eyedropper tool. "Alt" also works as a temp substitute when other tools are selected.
H Hand tool. Of course, if you've been reading carefully, you'll ask "Why not just hold down the spacebar?"
B Brush tool. For the digital painters out there.
P Pen tool. For drawing a nice vector path in pixel-land.

These are only a few of the available shortcuts for the toolbox, but they are the ones I use the most.


A cool trick when dealing with the paintbrush is to use [ and ] to change the brush size. Press [ to make the brush smaller, and ] to make it larger. You can even control the "hardness" property of the brush by holding shift and pressing those same two keys. Give it a try, it really makes digital painting a lot easier to deal with.

To display or hide the guides, press Ctrl + ; (semi-colon).

To display or hide the grid, press Ctrl + ' (apostrophe).

Filling your selection with your foreground and background colors is easy, too. Press Alt+Backspace to fill with your foreground color. Ctrl+Backspace will fill with your background color.

You can swap your foreground and background colors by pressing X, and pressing D loads up the default colors (black and white).

If you like working with multiple documents at one time, you'll find Ctrl+Tab useful. It switches between windows in a MDI (multiple document interface, a program that lets you work with more than one file at a time).

Well, that's about all for now, I hope you learned something!

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