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5 Advanced Shortcuts in Photoshop

Who doesn't love keyboard shortcuts? They increase your speed and productivity, so let's take a look at five advanced keyboard shortcuts to make your Photoshop workflow fly! Here we go!

01 - Select Layers From the Keyboard

I'd like to start off with an awesome shortcut for flipping between your visible layers. This comes in handy when you want to activate another layer in your image for editing. Try this: Mac users, hold down Option, PC users hold down Alt. Next, keep your eyes on the Layers panel while you hit the square bracket keys ("[" and "]"). Hitting the open-square-bracket key moves you down the Layers panel, while the close-square-bracket key moves you up. Cool!

02 - Access the Preferences Quickly

The next two shortcuts aren't keyboard shortcuts per se, but they'll definitely speed things up for you. 

Often times, I'll need to fly into Photoshop to adjust a few preferences in the middle of my work. It can be tedious to head into the preferences via menu paths, so instead try out this nifty trick. It's an easy one: All you need to do is simply double-click on your rulers. That's it! Double-click on either the horizontal or vertical rulers, and that'll pop you into Photoshop's preferences; specifically into the Units & Rulers category. Now that's fast!

03 - Open Files Fast

It's all fine and well to choose File > Open to open up an image that you'd like to work on, but for those of us who don't get paid by the hour, we like to move a little faster! This next trick has to be one of my all-time favorites. You know the gray background in the Photoshop interface? Try double-clicking on it. This activates the Open dialog box, where you can go and navigate to the file you'd like to work on. Mac users, just make sure to turn on the gray background by choosing Window > Application Frame.

04 - Isolate A Layer by Hiding Others

Let's revisit the Layers panel for another neat shortcut. Often, you'll want to hide all the layers except the layer you're currently working on. It can be time consuming to turn of each layer's visibility, especially if you have an image with a lot of layers! Next time you're in this situation, try simply Option-clicking (Mac) or Alt-clicking (PC) on the eye icon for the layer that you'd like to isolate.

05 - Scale Transformations from Center

Free Transform is one of those commands that I find myself using all the time, especially when I'm compositing. When you're dragging from a corner though, often you'll want the object to scale towards the center. To do so, just hold down Option (Mac) or Alt (PC) as you're dragging on a corner node in the Free Transform frame. If you want to maintain your proportions, throw Shift into the mix. That'll do it!

Well, I hope these shortcuts will improve your speed in Photoshop. If you're having trouble remembering them all, just jot them on a sticky note and hang it off the bottom of your monitor so it's handy. Have lots of fun!

Geoff Blake

Geoff Blake | Articles by this author

Geoff Blake is a book author, video presenter, designer, and visual artist. As an in demand live-on-stage software educator since 1997, Geoff has taught desktop publishing, web design and graphics courses all over North America and is regarded as an expert in Adobe's Creative Suite applications, as well as in HTML, CSS, WordPress, and related technologies. With his humorous, non-jargonny approach, Geoff produces highly regarded articles, video training and DVDs, and regularly contributes to top industry magazines and websites.


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