Who wants to spend any extra time in Photoshop than they have to? Even if working in Photoshop is the favorite part of your day (ahem, right), you still need to be able to move through it efficiently. It’s best to keep up with your awesome ideas as they come to you, rather than eight keystrokes behind. And that means shortcuts are your best friend.
Whenever you download a new template, take a few minutes to back it up in at least 2 safe places. External hard drives are life savers but they do fail. Keep a third copy as-is on your desktop before you begin customizing...just in case. Then, use the 'Save As' shortcut to save each new version of your customized layouts.
A smart way to keep your layers organized is by grouping them. And of course, there is a shortcut for that! Select all the layers that you would like to add to a group, then hold down the Command key and hit “G” (Cmd + G). Awesome, right?
This shortcut is helpful for when you are using the brush tool or wanting to fill a layer with black or white (think masking and lightening and darkening). A quick way to get your foreground and background color set to pure white and 100% black is to simply press “D” on your keyboard. This instantly resets those color values to black and white. Here is a screenshot of the area we are talking about in Photoshop that shows what your foreground and background are set to:
You can see the foreground is set to white and the background is set to black. But what if you are using the brush tool on a masked layer and want to mask out an area of a photo with a black brush? The quick way to switch the foreground color to black and the background color to white is to simply press “X” on your keyboard. If you mask out too much with the black brush, hit “X” again to switch back to white and paint that area back in.
This one is easy and too important not to mention! If you are currently using the top menu in Photoshop to get to the Image Size dialogue box, stop that bad habit now! There’s a quicker way to change your image size setting, which is to hit Command + Option (Alt) + I on your keyboard. This instantly brings up the image size dialogue box so you can quickly change your image size or resolution if you need to. Yay!
When working in Photoshop, we are always switching between screen modes. Sometimes you want to see only the canvas that you are working on and would like to hide the rest of your screen in a nice gray abyss, but still need to access your menu and your tools. This is called “Full Screen Screen Mode With Menu Bar.” This is for those who prefer not to see that a messy desktop. Can you relate?
Once you’ve finished your masterpiece and want to view it in full-screen mode without the menu bar and tools in your way, you can view your canvas in “Full-Screen Mode.” This will hide everything except your canvas. And lastly, to view your canvas, menu, and tools without the full-screen gray background set your screen to “Standard Mode.” This mode is helpful when you need to drag layers from one canvas to another or when you want to see a side by side comparison of two or more canvases.
The long way to switch between these different screen modes is by going up to your top menu and choosing each option under “View > Screen Mode,” but of course there is a faster way. To toggle between screen modes quickly, hit “F” on your keyboard and continue to hit “F” until you reach your desired screen mode.
Hopefully, these shortcuts will save you some much needed time when working in Photoshop! And there are definitely lots more to check out. So if you are interested in further exploring helpful shortcuts for Photoshop, check out this ultimate Adobe cheat sheet. (Mac users--these are PC shortcuts, so just replace the “Ctrl” with “Cmd.”)
Now...back to work. But faster!