Published on Tue, Jun-29-2010 by Gagandeep

A Complete Guide Of Photoshop CS4 Shortcuts

I believe there are no gamers in this world that didn’t play Need for Speed (even if it was Most Wanted, Carbon or Undercover). If you remember, you could gain some extra points by using shortcuts, since then I noticed that this it is like a bonus for smart people. Like in NFS, Photoshop has some shortcuts (thank God, there are tons of them). I really believe that using shortcuts is a feature of professionalism. Also using them boosts and eases your entire activity at the PC.

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I divided them in three categories:

Basic (only few extra points in NFS)

Usually (reasonable amount of extra points)

Advanced (depends on how much time you saved; anyway great move)

Basic Shortcuts

The basic shortcuts (this is only my personal classification, there is nothing official regarding this cataloging), a group which I consider as being formed out of the shortcuts, which are made of only one key as for instance:

  • Shortcut for Move Tool – “V”
  • Shortcut for Rectangular Marquee Tool – “M”
  • Shortcut for Lasso Tool – “L”
  • Shortcut for Quick Selection Tool – “W”
  • Shortcut for Zoom Tool – “Z”

There is no need to mention all these simple shortcuts: you can find these when you roll the mouse over to the “Tool Menu”. It can be found in the left part of the workspace in the default mode.

shortcuts tools menu

Usually Shortcuts

Usually shortcuts are very important, because these are the real help for a normal user of Photoshop. Let’s begin with the final: you have done a great project, spent many hours in front of your PC and want to see very clear the final result; of course you used all the windows (Character, History, Brushes, Channels and so on). Check the TAB key and surprise! All the windows have disappeared; press again and you will have the previous situation.

A universal help is CTRL + T which means Free Transform. I believe that there is no project, that hasn’t used this command. Another very common situation is when you must choose a font for a logo or for some text. To see all the probabilities simply select “set font family” and pres the up and down buttons.

After you made the project, some touch-ups are a must, great precision is thereby necessary. Try Caps Lock and your cursor will be in precise mode.

Pressing CTRL+ Click on layer is the shortcut to have selected the respective layer, Shift+CTRL+I to select inverse or CTRL+D to deselect. Great tip: to reselect the previous selection press Shift+CTRL+D!

Alt+ [ is a shortcut for selecting the layer below current and Alt+ ] is for selecting the layer above current. Pay attention, if you replace Alt with CTRL you have some other “100 points” (as it is in NFS): it is a shortcut for moving the layer selected up or down. If you are working with brushes (B) here are the solutions: [and] decrease and increase brush diameter. A similar result has Alt+right click+drag. Shift + [and] decrease/increase the brush hardness. Using Shift+Alt+right click+drag has the same effect. The opacity of the brush can be changed with the help of the number keys (1 is 10%, 2 for 20%…9 for 90%); pressing quickly two numbers makes it is easy to control more precisely the opacity (for example if you press 5 and after that quickly 4 the opacity is 54%).

Some great shortcuts, isn’t it? Let’s finish with the beginning! A new document can be obtained by pressing CTRL+N; in addition with the Shift can be obtained a new layer. To duplicate a great layer is simple by using CTRL+J.

And finally two very common shortcuts: Alt+Delete to fill layer with the foreground color and Shift+Delete to fill with the background color. We didn’t save! To simple save your document press Ctrl+S to save your document, and Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S for saving of web and devices.

Advanced Shortcuts

These are some very interesting shortcuts, maybe for some of us these might seem common and boring, but for many these are great tips (I hope so). I was really thrilled when I found out this shortcut: Alt+Scroll up/down for zoom in/out. Another great tip is when you want to use mask layer: Alt+mouse on the line between layers. You need some layers to complete your project: to open a new layer you can use Ctrl+Shift+N as you find out at basic shortcuts, but Ctrl+Shift+Alt+N will bring a new layer and skip the dialog box and place over the current layer.

Very useful in creating a 3D effect is Alt+ -> which means duplicate and nudge 1px (to nudge with 10 px press in addition Shift).

I don’t know if a combination of four keys is a shortcut, but here is one to keep in mind: Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E for creating a new layer via merge (Stamp Visible).

Very useful is the next table that presents the most important shortcuts:


Move Tool

Rectangular Marquee Tool

Eyedropper Tool

Brush Tool

Paint Bucket Tool

Lasso Tool

Quick Selection Tool

Crop Tool

Spot Healing Brush Tool

Clone Stamp Tool

History Brush Tool

Dodge Tool

Pen Tool

Horizontal Type Tool

Path Selection Tool

Custom Shape Tool

Hand Tool

Zoom Tool

Show/hide tool panels

Cycle screen mode

Undo previous command

Undo previous commands

Inverse current selection

Deselect current selection

Merge selected layers

Merge all visible layers

Free transform

Group selected layers

Duplicate active layer

Duplicate active layer with dialog box

New layer without dialog box

New Layer with dialog box



































13 Responses

  • paco say:

    very nice article. well written and very helpful for starters.
    i like the way you write and hope to read more from you

  • friendlyboot say:

    good tip for those who wanna gain some time for their projects!

  • Najeeb Puthiyallam say:

    Nice but i am afraid to use Shortcuts instead of direct mouse click coz when i use shortcuts in hurry i am not able to figure out that i did a correct key combination. If am clicking i can make sure that i did appropriate action. anyway thats my opinion..

  • Clipping Service say:

    Awesome post! thanks for sharing..

  • some guy say:

    Nice copy and pasting skillz there.

  • Incircle Media say:

    Thanks to share these kind of short cuts. Can you please share also short cuts for Dreamweaver.



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