Shortcuts You Should Know and Use
Sometimes I get asked how I work so quickly. The answer I usually give is I know so many keyboard shortcuts with the programs I use. So below are some that get me through each day. Learn and use.
Ctrl/Cmd + T: opens a new tab
Ctrl/Cmd + W: closes the current tab
Enter/Return: acts as a submit command for search fields, url address fields, etc. I’ve been amazed recently at how many don’t use this.
Most of the core tools have a keyboard shortcut. Learn the ones you use most! For example, probably my most common three are the move tool (V), the marquee tool (M) and the crop tool (C).
Here are some of the less well used ones that speed up my work.
Shift + M: cycle between rectangular and elliptical marquee
Shift + L: cycle between the lasso types
Ctrl/Cmd + W: close file (useful to how this matches close tab in browsers)
Ctrl/Cmd + T: free transform
Ctrl/Cmd + Alt + C: canvas size
Ctrl/Cmd + Alt + I: image size
Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + S: save as
Ctrl/Cmd + Alt + Shift + S: save for web and devices
Alt + Backspace: fill current layer with foreground colour
Ctrl/Cmd + Backspace: current fill layer with background colour
0-9: layer opacity. Pressing 9 will change it to 90%. 0 puts it back to 100%. Pressing 5 then 5 again quickly afterwards changes it to 55%. I find this much easier than clicking around with that opacity slider.
Enter (the secondary one on the far right hand side of the keyboard, with your number pad, if you have one): commit a change to a type selection or a free transform (works with some others too). Much better than navigating your cursor to that check/tick button. Escape acts as its opposite here, discarding such things as type selection and free transform changes.
Alt + double click on the background layer: auto converts it to a regular layer (instead of having regularly double clicking and selecting OK on the new layer popup window).
These are just some to get you started – there are many, many, many more. Try adding new ones to your repertoire once you’re comfortably and quickly using the ones here. Especially in suite programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, there seem to be more commands and tools with shortcuts than those without.